In the last decade I’ve heard myself and other feminists refer to our culture as a ticking time bomb. We call our culture ‘rape culture’ because the conditions for rape are facilitated through the sexualisation of girls, a narrow masculinity that tells boys that violence and power over women is the way to be a real man, and victim blaming. The backdrop is a popular culture that takes its cue from the porn and sex industries. The publication yesterday of a BBC Freedom of Information investigation that reveals more than 5,500 alleged sex offences in UK schools were reported to police in the last three years, including more than 600 rapes, signals that the bomb has exploded. Daily existence is life threatening if you are a girl or a woman. While 1 in 3 women and girls experience male sexual violence and two women a week are killed by their boyfriends or exes, this war on women never makes the news. Sure, this week we also hear that the Government has ordered an inquiry into male violence against women at universities, but like the media, it fails to recognise male violence as endemic, instead presenting it as unconnected random acts.
The feminist movement and women’s services knew what was coming. Young men who are disrespecting, harassing and raping their female peers at universities across the country today grew up when lad mags reigned with their ‘ironic’ sexism, extolling and advertising hardcore porn. They grew up with New Labour who allowed lap dancing clubs to proliferate on the high street, and with mainstream hip hop artists who glamorise being a punter and a pimp. For the generation now in education the horse has bolted. Young boys and men think its fucking funny to rape bitches and ho’s. Total sexual objectification of women and gender stereotyping has led them to believe they have rights to women’s bodies. Blanket inaction by successive governments to address male violence against women – the UK has yet to ratify the Istanbul Convention and austerity cuts hit women and women’s services the hardest – has left Britain in rape crisis. Another generation of girls are paying the price. The cost is life-long. Sexual harassment and rape from primary school through to campus are devastating women’s education, their mental health, their career opportunities, their capacity to participate in life.
While the government fail to make SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) compulsory from primary age, including a programme to arm them against the onslaught of porn, boys are drip fed punishing ‘sex’ on Pornhub where they can immediately go to ‘extreme’ Punishtube. Mainstream porn is hardcore and if you read or watch Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked our Sexuality by Gail Dines you will learn that more than 80% eroticises sexual violence. In mainstream porn, family abuse is eroticised, rape of school girls is eroticised, racism is eroticised and gang rape, multiple men pissing on a woman, cuming in her eyes, stretching her anus with double penetration, holding her throat with both hands and making her gag til her mascara streams is as everyday and accessible as a packet of Quavers and a can of coke. Sexual bullying in schools has long been rife with girls being called ‘slags’, ‘slappers’ and suffering unwanted groping. This level of sexual bullying is so completetly normal it goes unnoticed, unmentioned. Now male pupils are assaulting and raping. The 600 rapes will be the tip of the iceberg, the ones we hear about. The NSPCC know that hardcore porn is the fuel. The End Violence Against Women Coalition describe this reality as a ‘national emergency’. Gail Dines and feminist organisations including Stop Porn Culture are working to halt the exploitative billion dollar porn industry. Men’s organisations such as Men Can Stop Rape, White Ribbon Campaign and The Good Lad are trying to give boys and men their sexuality, their humanity, back. Some feminists also refer to our culture as like The Matrix. It’s time to take the red pill. It’s time to be awake to the hell around you. Only when you are awake can you fight back.
The Guardian reports on the rise of sexual assualts across schools
Read about misogyny freshers face and why the government inquiry into lad culture at universities is too late
Petition for compulsory SRE and read response from End Violence Against Women Coalition
The Chat was set up by a Science teacher to address sexualisation, pornography and male sexual violence in schools and universities