Cuth’s RFC: “it’s not rape if…”

Flo Perry is a feminist fourth year and our newest columnist, who’ll be making you think with her words, not her legs. This week, she’s joined forces with Cuth’s after some encouraging developments.

Last Thursday in their college bar, Cuth’s Rugby Club played a game on their club social called “it’s not rape if…” and it so happened that, on that night, the DU FemSoc social were out on the town.

Every decent human being knows there is only one answer to this question – “it’s not rape if… it’s between two consenting adults” – any other ending of this sentence encourages rape culture which is, in my opinion, the nasty side of lad culture.

The “Hidden Marks” survey carried out by the NUS in 2010 revealed that 1 in 7 women experience “serious sexual or physical violence” while at university. Fellow students committed 60% of these crimes. Only 10% of these women reported these crimes to the police.

Why? 50% said they were too ashamed or embarrassed, and 43% thought they would be blamed for what happened. This is rape culture.

Flo out on the DU Fem Soc social

Flo out on the DU Fem Soc social

Last year Cuth’s Rugby Club was banned from playing competitive matches because of a ‘current affairs’ social where they dressed up as Jimmy Saville and his victims. One wonders if they learnt their lesson, given that they are still making light of rape.

I knew some of the boys I saw at the rugby social and I messaged them as I wanted to get their side of the story, maybe they were as disgusted by this game as I was. I got no replies. I even bumped into one of the boys who looked decidedly shifty, declined to comment and walked away giggling.

Just a few days later there was an interesting twist when FemSoc received an email from the Captain of St Cuthbert’s Society RFC, sincerely apologising for the game.

“”It’s not rape if…” is neither funny nor is it permissible and it is for this reason that I wholeheartedly apologise.”

They went on to sympathise with the feminist cause in Durham saying that we’d like to  “propose some means of assisting DUFemSoc in their cause. We would very much like to initiate a relationship between our two societies, not only to demonstrate our belief in the importance of the work you do but to help you do it, too. We wonder if you may need extra help at upcoming events or talks and, if so, we urge you to contact us as we will no doubt be able to help!”

I am delighted to announce that DUFemSoc has accepted this offer. I am very much looking forward to SCSRFC and DUFemSoc joint events; I hope you will all come along.