What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, I wanted to start of this open letter eloquently, but all I can do is wonder what is so wrong with you that you repeatedly promote rape.
You appeared on my radar last week when you posted an article advocating rape. I suspect the author of the piece thought he was being ever so funny by suggesting that the number of unreported rapes could play to a man’s advantage. Obviously you probably experienced quite a degree of backlash to this, because you quietly took it down. It’s still screencapped though, Unilad. People know what you did.
Then there’s this T-shirt, which manages to simultaneously advocate rape while implying that the wearer of the T-shirt suffers from premature ejaculation. Again, you quietly took it down, but forgot to remove it from your Facebook page. So we know what you did.
Your attitude to being called out on your behaviour is appalling. Tweeter @sazza_jay pointed out that what you were doing is wrong, and received misogynistic and homophobic abuse. Following your characteristic pattern, you then quietly took down the tweet, but we all saw it. It’s screencapped, Unilad. These days, nothing just disappears.
Your reaction to the controversy suggests that deep down you have some semblance of a clue that what you are doing is wrong, and here’s why: what you are doing is reinforcing a culture which facilitates rape. Your professed “banter” is dangerous: you are repeating rape myths which are often subscribed to by rapists. On university campuses, the area your laughable attempt at a “magazine” attempts to cater to, as many as one in four women will be raped.
Do you find this funny? Is it somehow amusing that up to a quarter of the women you might encounter (admittedly, most women will run a mile from any dickhead wearing your T-shirts) could be victims of a horrific crime?
If you don’t, it’s time to own up to your mistakes and apologise. Not some mealy-mouthed “sorry you got offended”, but a proper owning of your mistakes. You owe your followers an explanation, and help in participating in building a world without rape.
You are at a crossroads right now. Will you continue to be part of the problem, part of the culture which allows women to be raped while dribbling fools belch stale lager laughter over violations? Or will you apologise?
Here’s hoping you choose the right path.
Update: Unilad have issued an apology, but it fails on several fronts: (1) It has a “sorry you were offended” tone. (2) It’s only posted on Twitpic, not their main site. (3) It fails to show any understanding of why their behaviour is wrong. As I said, Unilad need to explain what is so wrong about rape jokes and work to challenging rape culture, not reinforcing it.
Update 2: A second semi-apology from Unilad, over on their Facebook page. They still haven’t explained why what they did was wrong. There are also an awful lot of vile, triggering comments making light of rape and threatening violence against those who got offended. While Unilad have apologised for those comments from their “fans”, such comments will continue to happen. This is exactly why rape culture needs challenging and why a site like Unilad needs to explain to its readers exactly why it will no longer be participating in a climate of violence: Unilad is trying to absolve itself of responsibility, when it is in fact responsible for these views. I screencapped the apology (and the first four ghastly comments) because I’m now wise to Unilad’s habit of taking things down…
Update 3: Unilad’s website is now down, with the same semi-apology as on the Facebook group. Honestly. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to own their mistakes? A cynic might think they’re trying to cover their tracks and remove all traces of what they have done. When they relaunch, I’ll be watching…