Shame on you, Salient, for a gang-rape cartoon

February 23, 2010

This week’s issue of Salient has a new cartoon by Grant Buist, a former friend of mine. I say former, because this is really going to be the last straw.

You see, the cartoon, which can be found on his blog, has a panel depicting a first-year student in a very short dress, struggling to keep her door shut, on a ‘rubgy player’ – with the caption: she “narrowly avoids impregnation by rugby team during Orientation”.
This cartoon purports to be a 21st century update of Hogath’s famous 18th century series of engravings, “The Rake’s Progress”(background here), and is proposed to run as a serial in this year’s magazine.

Buist has excused himself thus:

Actually, something good that may come out of this would be discussion of the issue I’m highlighting above – many 18-year-old girls get massively shitfaced during Orientation, and are preyed upon. If you look at the crime incident maps distributed by the police (which are sometimes reproduced in Magneto), you can see that many of Wellington’s sexual assaults are committed in dark alleys near Courtenay Place, where hopelessly drunk girls have stumbled while trying to get home. It’s entirely possible, considering how the Orientation issue of Salient is full of advice for first-years, that some girls may read this panel and think “Right. Something to avoid.”

Really, if there’s anyone who should be annoyed, it’s rugby teams.

So, it’s just ‘one more time round the block’ for the tired old argument that ‘girls bring rape on themselves’, and we should police women’s behaviour – not that rapists are criminals, and we should police men’s behaviours.

There’s another good post on the subject here.

If you also find this offensive, please tell the editor of Salient, Sarah Robson, editor@salient.org.nz, as she has already replied to one member of the VUW Women’s Group that she thinks it’s not a big issue. I guess she just doesn’t get the point.

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