16 Mar 2017

Wellington College rape comments apology doesn't mention women

12:18 pm on 16 March 2017

Two Wellington students who posted comments encouraging people to rape drunk, unconscious girls don't seem to fully understand the harm they have done, a sexual violence specialist says.

Teenage boy, Wellington College, teenage girl.

Students from Wellington College, centre, apologised yesterday. Photo: 123RF / Google Maps

The two students have been suspended for five days, and have apologised, saying they regret their actions and have learned a lot over the past week.

But Russell Smith, who started the "Mates and Dates" programme, which tackles attitudes about sex and consent in schools, told Morning Report their apology was too broad, and did not even mention women.

"It doesn't mention the fact that it was targeting females, so there's no acknowledgement of that, it is just a broad sweep apology.

"It is a start ... however, there is a bit of work to be done and a bit of education for them.

One of the teenager's apologies said the Facebook post was "meant to be a joke". He said he would say sorry to all the people affected "but I don't know who they all are".

The other student apologised to "Wellington College School, the Wellington College Community, the Principal and students, my family and all those I offended."

Mr Smith said rather than suspending students, the school should have instead told them to see their school counsellor on a daily basis.

One of the organisers a protest at Parliament against rape culture, was prompted by the students' comments, said the apologies showed little self-awareness.

Mia Faiumu said the apology fell short on a few fronts.

"There was no mention of women in the apologies.

"They didn't really go into any detail of why their comments were disgusting," Ms Faiumu said.

One of the comments the students posted on Facebook said: "If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true WC boy."

Another said: "Women. Not even drunk, pass her out then f*** her. Job done."

The boys' apologies

Apology from Student 1

"To everyone concerned I am so sorry for saying what I did.

"It was an error of judgement and I was stupid for saying it. It was meant to be a joke (stupid thing to say) that I shouldn't have said and I wasn't being serious at all.

"I feel really bad for making that comment. I would apologise myself to all the people it has affected but I don't know who they all are.

"I have learned a lot over the last week and I hope others can learn from what I did and don't do it.

"It is a really destructive attitude that leads to these sort of comments and I don't want others to make the same mistake as me because it hurts lots of people and it is not OK under any circumstances to write and say what I did, or to joke about it."

Apology from Student 2

"I want to give my sincerest apologies to the Wellington College School, the Wellington College Community, the Principal and students, my family and all those I offended.

"The actions I took on Facebook last Sunday night have been detrimental to everyone associated with the school and the wider community.

"What I said was completely out of line and I deeply regret saying it.

"Many people have talked to me about what I did. I certainly didn't think about that and I have learnt about how important it is not to do what I did.

"I know what I did was wrong and I would like to say sorry to all those who were offended by my actions. And I hope others learn from my experience and don't post messages like the one I posted."

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