Two days ago, The Tab unveiled screenshots of yet another dreadful ‘lads’ group chat, this time from Durham University. In ‘boys club’, incoming freshers made misogynistic comments about women, like “[you] can’t get enough [sex] since girls don’t put out” and “I did buttering for a bit, and sexual assault comes with the job”. The same article also alleges that some students had been competing to “f**k the poorest girl.”
While past and current defence of similar vile comments have been dismissed as ‘lads’ banter’, worrying statements such as these premeditate the behaviours that lead to sexual assault. Understandably, incoming freshers are now scared to start studying at the uni, having now been inducted to the idea that they may be preyed upon on campus. And who can blame them? It's not as though it hasn't happened a thousand times before.
Although Durham publicly condemned the posts, the university has a duty of care to incoming and existing students to address and squash these pervasive appearances of rape culture when they appear. Durham has a history of similar misconduct – in 2017, the university was reported together with Oxford for being the worst in Britain for sex attacks on female students. Clearly, the university needs to lay out more and better comprehensive action to protect the safety of its students.