Sexual assault of women – no laughing matter

Weeks after  US Presidential nominee Donald Trump passes off his comments advocating for the sexual assault of women as harmless “locker room talk”, private chats among some Melbourne Law School students show how far we have to go to change privileged entitlement culture among Australian men.

University of Melbourne law student, 22-year-old Eleanor Henry, recently picked up her iPhone to discover that she had been invited to a private Facebook Messenger conversation with a group of four men from her cohort who suggested she show them “where you p*** from”.

The men joked that she should accompany them on a trip to Thailand because they “need a bike”, presumably to ride around on.

One wrote about how he would “throw her on the bed”.

The unsolicited, degrading and sexualised comments towards Eleanor Henry have been widely criticised after she decided to speak out in public about the harassment. She told she felt “disgusted, humiliated, objectified, dirty and ashamed” when she read the messages.

Two of the men involved have since offered “sincere” apologies, while another who made the “most graphic” comments has suggested it was all a laugh and she should just “lighten up.”

This “joke” and call to lighten up comes in the same week that Australia’s death toll of violence against women has risen from 60 to 65. In 2015, 80 women were killed nationally (Counting Dead Women Australia).

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