The “#1 University Student lad’s magazine” UniLad.com were forced to pull their website offline on Tuesday after publishing an article condoning rape.
The offending article was headlined ‘Sexual Mathematics’ and gave its readers the following ad- vice: “If the girl you’ve taken for a drink […] won’t ‘spread for your head’, think about this mathemati- cal statistic: 85 percent of rape cases go unreported […] That seems to be fairly good odds.”
The article culminated in explaining that “UniLad does not condone rape without saying ‘surprise’.”
UniLad was founded in September of last year and boasted on it’s Twitter page before if was pulled offline that it received over 8,000 hits a day. The site’s Facebook page has over 70,000 ‘likes’ and their Twitter feed is followed by nearly 2,500 users of the site.
OUSU’s Women’s Officer Yuan Yang said: “UniLad’s portrayal of male university students is insulting to men and women alike. According to the NUS, 7 percent of undergraduate women have experienced rape or attempted rape on campus. Students of all genders do not appreciate UniLad’s misguided attempt to embed rape culture into student culture.”
Following the publication of the article and subsequent public backlash, Unilad.com has been shut down. The web page now displays only a public apology, above which is a countdown to the date when the site will go live again on Valentine’s Day.
The apology reads: “We would like to make a public apology as it ap- pears that some of the content pre- viously published on this site has caused some distress. The content in question was un-called for and should in no way have been pub- lished, and we can assure you it will never happen again.
“Any grief this may have caused you, we apologise for. We took things too far. Any flippant comments that may have been said during discussions, I also apologise for, it will not happen again. We are certainly going to be cleaning up our act on Unilad. com. We do appreciate where you are coming from with your points, hence forth, an immediate change in material.”
Sarah Pine, OUSU Women’s Campaign Officer and second year Wadham student responded saying: “The unashamed excusal of rape is fundamentally inhuman and on a personal level disgusting. I believe in freedom of speech but there must always be responsibility and accountability.
“UniLad do not shy away from the blatant misogyny and implicit violence of their material. It will take much more than this half- hearted apology to make amends”.
Rosa Bennathan, a second year English student, said: “UniLad are a business making money from breeding a culture of violence against women. These kind of jokes normalise rape. You can argue that they are not meant to be taken seriously, but when 6-12 percent of 18-21 year old men will admit to rape in anonymous surveys (provided the word ‘rape’ is not used), because if this, ‘jokes’ like those made by UniLad contribute directly to instances of sexual violence.”
Not everyone was quite so nega- tive about UniLad, however. One first year, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “To be honest I think everyone needs to get a fucking sense of humour, it ob- viously wasn’t meant seriously. I read that site all the time, and frankly it’s a breath of fresh air after the amount of bullshit PC liberalism you get here from people who are just too afraid to speak their minds.”
Lloyd Houston, a second year student at LMH, made his views on the website abundantly clear: “These infantile sites and their repulsive contributors perpetuate a discourse that ridicules and vili- fies the victims of rape whilst cel- ebrating it perpetrators, rendering it ever harder for those affected to seek legal redress let alone seeing their attackers brought to justice.
“‘Lads’ sites and the culture they represent mark the lowest form of reactionary misogyny and masquerade a message of hate as light-hearted ‘banter’, constructing a model of ‘manhood’ that is as oppressive to young men as it is threatening to young women and those who diverge from normative models of masculinity.
“The sooner those involved in these sites realise the damage they are doing and make responsible use of the influence they wield over young people, the better it will be for everyone, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation. Lad culture is the fetid santorum on the ulcerated sphincter of modern society.”
Despite the temporary black- out of the main UniLad website, the publication’s Twitter feed has not been pulled from the so- cial networking site. A few of the more controversial comments posted over the last month in- clude: “Woman are only good for 3 things: cooking, cleaning, and vagina’s”, “What do you call a woman with an opinion? Wrong”, and “The bum rape scene in girl with a dragon tattoo is brutal. Still gave me a semi tho”.
A History student commented: “I used to read that thing [UniLad] all the time for a laugh. But after a while I came to realise that all that so called ‘banter’ starts to under- cut your actual values. You start by repeating those jokes you’ve read and then emulating them. I think what was really a wake-up- call to me was when people started agreeing with things I was say- ing as a joke”.