Here’s what men at Bristol think about ‘rape culture’

‘Our values have been eroded’

Bristol lecturers recently found four out of 10 teenage girls have been pressured into having sex and that one in five teenage boys harbour extremely negative attitudes towards women.

The study, led by Dr Christine Barter, also found one in five girls had experienced aggression or violence from partners. This includes slapping, beating with an object, strangling and punching.

Although these findings only cover girls between the ages of 13 and 17, they come to no surprise for students. A recent NUS study found an increased number of UK students feel unsafe on the streets and over 85,000 women are sexually assaulted in the UK every year.

We spoke to some male students about whether they thought there was a problem with “rape culture” at uni. While a lot of guys told the Tab they didn’t want to be interviewed because “we haven’t really heard of that stuff before”, we were pleasantly surprised with the vast majority of reactions.

Alex

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“I think the problem is to do with awareness. There are loads of people who come to uni from sheltered backgrounds. They have no awareness about rape, sexual assault or harassment – even just respecting people.

“When they come to uni and go out clubbing most nights of the week, they’re reaction is either ‘shit – this kind of thing goes on the whole time’ or ‘I can do what I want.’”

Jack & Simon

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“You’d hope it wasn’t the case, but of course it does happen. For example, when you see guys in clubs grinding on girls, they’re basically implying that girl owes them something. It’s how guys our age act.

“It’s peer pressure fuelled by alcohol. Groups of ‘lads’ have a really collective mindset of masculine prowess, where you’re effectively rewarded for shagging a girl.

“In the end, it’s about men dominating women.”

Alex

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“Rape culture is prevalent everywhere. Sure, some students have good societal awareness, but for the most part, the lack of knowledge about this kind of thing is massive.

“There is still a tremendous lack of education. Guys should be taught this kind of stuff at a tender age, not have to learn it by ear or facing the judge.

“Our values have been eroded. Now young boys are locking themselves in a bedroom and learning their morals from dodgy video games and films.”

Francesco

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“The problem is it’s never talked about and it’s always covered up. Society tells girls to be embarrassed and ashamed about sexual harassment. And on the other side – men see it more as a joke than something shameful. They tend to not give it much thought.

“This obviously comes from the media – where men are always depicted as masculine and dominating, while women are portrayed as being submissive.

“You get big advertising campaigns across the UK, with massive billboards presenting a man holding a woman down. That kind of thing makes rape culture not just accepted but institutionalised and normal.”

Charlie

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“It’s sad, because harassing women is still accepted and considered ‘laddish’. Guys who go around pinching girl’s bums and cat-calling them have secondary school attitudes. They’re not in secondary school – they’re just douchebags.

“Loads of guys come to uni from really closed off backgrounds. They arrive and go ‘my parents aren’t around – I can treat women like dirt’.

“It’s crap for girls, because they are told to shrug it off. That basically gives guys leeway and makes them believe they can get away with it because they didn’t get slapped or screamed at. In reality they’re either embarrassed or feel crap. But they shouldn’t have to slap a guy to enjoy their night unmolested.”

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