“How Boys Talk”: watch BBC 3’s The Warwick Uni Rape Chat Scandal

Last year, a group chat created by Warwick University students came to light in which it’s members sent shocking messages to each other ‘joking’ about raping girls at the university.

The vile messages included, “rape her friends too. Sometimes it’s fun to just go wild and rape 100 girls.”
Another message reads, “Oh god. I would hate to be in the firing line if I had a vagina.”

BBC3 have released a short documentary exploring the impact it had on the victims and detailing how the University of Warwick dealt with the horrific situation. In the film, Anna (an alias) a former friend of the men in the chat, explains how she was horrified to find her and her female friends’ names mentioned dozens of times in the group chat in relation to being sexually assaulted for the fun and games of the male group chat members.

After the group of boys were initially excluded from the university, two of them had their bans reduced from 10 years to 12 months. What ensued was a wave of student protests and massive media backlash, with #ShameOnYouWarwick trending on Twitter, for the institution’s insensitive handling of the situation. Warwick conceded and reversed their decision, but the damage was already done. They were called upon to take situations like this more seriously especially after the 2015 Stanford University case, where Brock Turner, a rich white male student who assaulted a woman, served a mere 3 months in jail on the basis that he was a “promising” athlete.

The most harrowing thing about this whole scandal is just how normalised rape culture was among the boys. The members had changed their names to those of notorious serial killers and rapists in the chat, and when Anna confronted her friend who was a member of and showed her this “lad’s chat”, he dismissed the contents as “a joke” and said it is “how boys talk”.

Is this really “how boys talk”? Obviously, it would be wrong to categorise all guys as misogynists as that simply isn’t true; hundreds of both men and women have voiced their disgust towards the despicable comments made.

However, it does highlight certain aspects of uni culture which have standardised sex as a legitimate tool of violence under the guise of ‘fun’. Watching the film made me contemplate my own experiences and stories that my friends have told me, from things that seem trivial to quite serious circumstances. It’s important that we educate ourselves on cases such as this, so we know what kind of behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t. Nobody deserves to live in the fear that the girls in this documentary did, and it’s our duty as just decent human beings to encourage our friends to be better people.

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