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Rape Culture


A controversial billboard erected by a Donegal nightclub has been branded as "disgusting" and "misogynistic" by furious locals. 

The large advertisement for Liberty's club in Buncrana features am image of a woman wearing shorts and holding a gold club, along with the caption: "“Libertys – Your 19th hole for the summer.”

The offensive ad had been the subject of numerous complaints, with many calling for it to be removed. 

Speaking to the Donegal Daily, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said the billboard was  “just plain offensive."

"If it was shock value publicity they were seeking, then mission accomplished," he said.

"They need to cop themselves on, show some respect for our community and take it down!”

Many of the club's regular punters have also taken to the venue's social media calling for them to remove the offensive ad. 

One commenter wrote: "This not funny. It's blatant rape culture.Please take it down and replace it with an image that shows a young woman who is confident, in control and sexy, as opposed to a faceless receptacle for some drunk guy's hard on."

While another accused the establishment of promoting "rape culture and misogynistic sexism." 

"You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is being shared on social media and is doing you no favours. Promoting rape culture and misogynistic sexism in one poster."

The club has not yet responded to calls to remove the image. 


Over half of male college athletes, and 38 per cent of non-athletes have admitted to having coerced a partner into performing a sexual act. 

A study of 379 male students from an unnamed university in the US, asked a number of questions around the topics of sexually coercive behaviour and consent, in an attempt to learn more about the attitudes that exist around rape culture. 

Aside from the sheer number of men who said they had engaged in coercive behaviour, one of the more alarming findings was the mentality behind the admissions, and the apparent belief in rape myths. 

Offending participants shared the opinion that "if a woman doesn't fight back, it isn't rape", a worrying take on gender roles, such as "women should worry less about their rights and more about becoming good wives and mothers." 

Speaking to the Washington Post, Kristy McCray, an assistant professor of health and sport sciences at Otterbein Universtiy in Ohio, said: "Sports are a hypermasculine endeavor, and there's a lot that connects hypermasculinity to violence." 

While the findings are no doubt disturbing at best, many readers of the report have taken to social media to say the news doesn't come as a huge shock. 

The study proves particularly relevant at a time when the #MeToo and #IBeleiveHer movements aim to open the conversation around rape culture and provide support for the victims of sexual assault. 




I remember the first time I heard the word ‘rape’.

I was nine-years-old and kneeling on my family’s sitting room floor, rooting through a jigsaw box.

A woman being interviewed by Gay Byrne used it.

Short, sharp and severe.

Without looking up, I asked: ”What’s rape?”

There was a momentary pause before my mother reacted, replying: “It’s when someone has sex with a person, who doesn’t want to take part.”

In a forced act of bravado based on acute embarrassment over my mother’s use of the word ‘sex’, I shrugged my shoulders and replied: “Is that all?”

I don’t recall the moments that followed, or whether there was, perhaps, an exchange of looks between my parents, but I do remember speaking with my mother later that night.

She told me never to dismiss rape. She said she understood my embarrassment, but to respond to rape in the way that I did was wrong.

Given my age, she obviously didn’t intend to have an in-depth discussion with me about it, but it was clear she was desperate to ensure I knew that the severity of the act was not something you could dismiss with a shrug of your shoulders.

At the age of 9, I learned that rape was not something to joke about, or ignore, nor was heartfelt discussion surrounding it something to be embarrassed by.

A year shy of my 10th birthday, I learned that the word ‘rape’ had a profound meaning, that it was a grave matter, and should always be treated as such.

This brief, but poignant conversation contributed to the visceral discomfort I felt years later upon hearing adult peers using the term ‘rape’ in regards to college tests and university exams.

The nonchalant way in which it was flung about unnerved me.

“I RAPED that test,” male students would cheer in the wake of a final exam.

“I was literally raped by that paper”, female peers would mumble.

While arguably a throwaway remark, and not indicative of anything more sinister than linguistic laziness on the part of my generation, it does speak of a more worrying narrative.

And while I can't, hand on heart, say I never fell victim to adolescent idiocy and made a thoughtless reference as part of juvenile discussion, I always, always, always knew it should never be treated with such disregard.

By using the term to describe something innocuous, you essentially reduce the severity of the word and, indeed, the act itself – something which rape survivor, Dominique Meehan, asserted during a recent interview with The Sean O’Rourke Show.

“When I hear a rape joke like ‘My football team Manchester got raped by Chelsea’, that sort of thing, what I hear is that you don’t care about how a rape affects a person. It’s what it comes across as, I don’t care if people don’t mean it,” she said.

If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that rape culture is insidious.

We may not realise we’re contributing to it, but for every time we awkwardly laugh at a slut-shaming remark or merely furrow our brow at a rape joke but choose to say nothing, we’re doing exactly that.

Dismissed as locker room banter when the President of the United States is seen to engage with it, and trivialised when bars and clubs use it to promote their venue, the repugnant narrative that surrounds rape in some sections of society needs further exploration.

And with women like Dominique Meehan calling for it, it’s time we listen, and say no to it.

Short, sharp and severe.



In a year which saw the criminal actions of a convicted rapist appear to pale in significance to his prowess on the university swim team, it's no real surprise that a sports bar in Perth deemed it appropriate to advertise a New Year's Eve frat night with banners advising the public 'You teach her morals, We teach her oral."

In a year when a presidential candidate can admit he grabs women 'by the p*ssy' and still secure himself a place in the White House, it's hardly shocking that a random bar thought it was OK to assure the public that while their couches may pull out, they sure as hell don't.

I mean, it's just how we roll these days, right?

In a move which many found abhorrent and countless others saw as nothing more than locker room banter, Perth's Brass Monkey Hotel considered the promotion of rape culture a fitting indication of what the final night of 2016 may bring their patrons should they decide to cross the treshold.

Hanging banners from the building's exterior, staff perfectly illustrated that no matter how many cases of rape culture are brought to the public's attention day in and day out, there will always – always – be another one waiting just around the corner.

While the hotel's banners have, indeed, made global headlines today and the establishment in question has issued an apology, how many of us can say we're truly shocked by their initial actions?

Yes, we're outraged that they considered it an accurate representation of the night to come, we're sickened that they were apparently unable to see the implications of their words, and we're utterly appalled that they could use sexual violence against women as a method to promote their business, but are we truly shocked that yet another rape culture case has emerged?

Unfortunately, not.

Earlier this year, three studies were conducted among men in an effort to see how many were able to differentiate between 'jokes' featured in so-called lad's mags, and remarks made by convicted rapists.

And the answer? Well, it's worrying… but is it surprising?

The findings, published in the Psychology of Men and Masculinity, established that hundreds of those surveyed were unable to decide whether remarks normalising – and indeed condoning – the rape and sexual assault of women were actual testimony or fodder found in magazines aimed at men.

When a young man's swimming times appear to take precedence over a young woman's right to bodily autonomy, is a banner outside some backward pub Down Under going to leave us reeling?

When the future President of the United States of America can admit to sexual assault and still get voted in, will the actions of a few hotel staff thousands of miles away really leave us shellshocked?

And when Facebook users applaud the actions of the Brass Monkey Hotel by writing "I saw the signs and I laughed my ass off', are we really going to be scandalised when a similar case emerges next week?

Regrettably, no.