Fury at rape joke in student ball magazine
Organisers of a raunchy ball at Exeter University have been forced to apologise over an "incredibly insensitive" rape joke which was printed to publicise the event.
The booklet, dubbed "Shag Mag", has been withdrawn over the offensive gag, which estimated the number of calories which could be burned tearing off a girl's clothes without her consent.
In the past, around 2,500 students have attended the ball, where revellers dress in skimpy outfits and are issued with free condoms. Some students have previously raised concerns that the event promotes promiscuity, but organisers have insisted that it does highlight the need for safe sex, as well as raise thousands for charity.
The sick joke was part of a two-page spread on the energy spent on various sexual practices in the leaflet, which is given out with every ticket for the Safer Sex Ball, a charity event to highlight the importance of using condoms. The booklet will now be reprinted without the gag.
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The ill-judged material has been widely condemned and has caused outrage on social networking site Twitter, with members branding it "beyond ugly" and "unacceptable".
Sophie Odgers-Roe, the Guild's Racial Equality Representative, told University website Xmedia that she was "horrified" by the joke.
She said: "When I saw it, I was shocked, horrified and outraged.
"I just can't believe the sheer audacity of it."
She is now pushing for a separate Guild body to examine all publications before they are allowed to go to print, to avoid a repeat of the scandal.
Fee Scott, service manager of the Devon Rape Crisis Service which is based in Exeter, said she was "shocked" at the content.
"It is still amazing that there is such a degree of thoughtlessness and insensitivity about sexual assault, particularly when one in four women will experience rape or sexual assault in their adult life," she said.
"I was pleased to note the speed at which the magazine was withdrawn and the apology was issued but we should all be highly concerned about a culture where such remarks and sentiments can get through an editorial process".
Research fellow Natalie Garrett tweeted that the joke was "beyond ugly" and demanded: "What message are you trying to send to undergraduates? Lead by example."
PhD Medical student Rebecca Wordsworth wrote: "It's not big, clever or funny. Incredibly insensitive."
RAG, the society which puts on the annual Safer Sex Ball, issued an apology for the joke. They said in statement: "We would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by an unacceptable comment made in the SSB magazine. RAG does not condone abuse in any way, shape or form and we're deeply sorry that it was allowed to be published".
The Students' Guild has also apologised, stating the joke should never have been published. A spokesman said: "An investigation is under way, looking at how this happened and ensuring that nothing like this happens again".