No, OxStu, being sexually active doesn’t mean you can’t be raped

The Oxstu’s article slamming an alleged rape victim for promiscuity shows the dark side of victim blaming


Last night saw the Oxstu publish an ignorant and damaging article which shows victim blaming at its darkest. The student paper, which is owned by OUSU, attempted to discredit one of the students who brought accusations of rape or attempted rape against Union president through a series of attacks on the anonymous student’s character.

The Oxstu states, “the same student is believed to have boasted of sleeping with ‘Union Hacks’ who regularly feature in Oxford’s three student newspapers”.

“She added that the allure of sexual encounters with well-known students was to develop a status as a “conquest-collector” ”

A screen shot of the OxStu article

A screen shot of the OxStu article

The conjecture is chilling. To try to discredit rape allegations on the grounds that a woman has been previously promiscuous is both shameful and wrong of the Oxstu. Whether this woman had a ‘status as a conquest collector’ or not is irrelevant.

The statement in the Oxstu attempts to legitimise the sickening belief that sexually active women cannot be raped under the twisted logic that if a woman consents to sexual acts sometimes, she consents to them all the time.

The newspaper even had the gall to boast of their journalistic ethics in how they have approached these accusations. The article declares with pride that they have completed the media law requirement of offering someone what is called a “right of reply” when a story might negatively impact their reputation. On this occasion that meant that a writer at the Oxstu wrote to the alleged rape victim and put to her, amongst many other attempts at character assassination, that she could not have been raped because she was sexually active. It is hard to imagine how anyone had the audacity to write and then send something so offensive to an alleged rape victim.

The news article reveals chillingly ignorant attitudes towards rape

The news article reveals chillingly ignorant attitudes towards rape

Unfortunately, the opinion expressed in this Oxstu piece is by no means rare. It forms an essential part of victim blaming culture in society. Just like those who ask what a victim wore, whether a victim had been drinking alcohol prior to an attack or if they ‘led’ an attacker on, it all contributes to the discourse that a victim is to blame, that they are somehow ‘asking for it’.

To be clear, no one ever asks to be raped. Rape is never justified. Just writing that sentence seems so obvious as to be absurd. Yet yesterday’s piece in the OxStu is a chilling reminder that it needs to be said.

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