Group of policing students suspended from Derby University after making horrifying comments about sexual assault

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 20 April 2020 09:30
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(iStock)

Trigger warning: this article contains graphic references to rape and sexual assault

The last few years have seen a concerning amount of scandals related to the group chats of male university students.

From rape threats in a Warwick University WhatsApp chat, to explicit racism in one for law students at Exeter, there’s been a worrying trend of “upstanding” young men who are revealed to be saying disgusting things in private.

And the latest chapter is one of the most distressing yet.

Initially revealed in a report by The Tab, six students from the University of Derby were caught making jokes about child rape, sexual assault and lewd sexual comments about young women, including fellow students, in an Instagram chat.

Five of the six were studying policing at the university, a degree licensed by The College of Policing.

Two of the young men in the chat were already serving as Derbyshire Special Constables and are now facing an enquiry into their conduct.

All students have since been suspended pending investigation by the university.

The contents of the chat was revealed after a coursemate shared screenshots to Facebook.

She wrote at the time:

The comments made about each of the girls are degrading and humiliating and shows their complete disrespect to women.

The same boys in this group chat are aspiring to be police [officers]. PLEASE do not let these boys get away with this.

In one screenshot, a girl’s picture is posted to the chat and a group member describes hypothetical sex with her.

“Straight in the vag, then in the gob, then back out her gob straight back into the vag,” he writes.

Another instance sees the boys discuss chat up lines.

“I might slide in,” one says.

“What line shall I use?”

“Are you a child because I want to rape you,” another replies.

Another member of the chat ‘likes’ his comment.

In a statement, the University of Derby said they were “incredibly disappointed” by the chat.

We were incredibly disappointed to see the degrading and offensive language used in online forums about some of our female students.

Such behaviour is unacceptable, will not be tolerated and is being addressed with the utmost urgency. The male students involved in making these comments have been suspended and we are working with an external specialist agency to carry out a full and formal investigation.

We are following our sexual misconduct policy and processes to ensure this is conducted fairly and thoroughly, and have offered support to the female students affected by this.

Last year a Guardian investigation revealed that 277 students at UK universities had been disciplined for offensive comments online, including instances of Islamophobia, racism, antisemitism and misogyny in the last three years.

Time to crack down on this culture altogether?

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