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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Devon Rape Crisis Services launch at the Devon County Hall

Great news!!!

After years of heroic campaigning, Devon finally has its first rape crisis centre.  Up until now, the nearest rape crisis centre was in Cornwall – a whole other county!  Thanks to a committed group of hard-working women, the Ministry of Justice agreed to fund the opening of a rape crisis centre in Devon and within just 8 months, the Devon RCS was created.  On Tuesday 28th November, the official launch took place at Devon County Hall.  We heard of some horrifying statistics concerning rape and sexual assault in the UK, we heard some incredible stories from some very brave women, and we heard as well of the hope that now exists for women and children who have experienced sexual assault in Devon.  Trustees, patrons, volunteers, councillors and one MP came to the launch to talk to people about rape crisis services in Devon.  Everyone in the room made a pledge to the Devon RCS.  As the Gender Equality Representative at Exeter University I pledged to make the services known to students on campus and to help get them involved in supporting the centre through fundraising and volunteering.

  • If you are interested in volunteering at the Devon RCS then start by asking for an information pack and application form.  Please contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator, Anna Janota, tel: 01392 208756 or email:
  • For more information about the services available which include a helpline, face-to-face support and group work, or for any other queries, please look at the Devon RCS website:

If you are a female who has been a victim of sexual assault either recently or in the past or know someone who has been and you need support or guidance, please call

Helpline: 01392 204174

Monday 3.00pm-6.00pm, Friday 2.00pm-5.00pm & Saturday 11.00am-2.00pm

Here are some pictures from the launch:

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Charity event for AIDS charity condones rape ‘joke’

The SSB - Safer Sex Ball (deemed one of the top 100 things to do before you die by FHM) - “Shag Mag” has been withdrawn because of a rape joke that was printed in it as part of a weight loss regime.  The Safer Sex Ball is organised by RAG (Raising and Giving) and Community Action every year to raise money for an AIDS charity.  This year it raised £40,000 on ticket sales.  However the ball itself encourages students to dress down as much as possible (in mid-winter!) and alcohol plays a large part in the event, leading to conditions in which people being taken advantage being a genuine concern, making this a circumstance in which a rape ‘joke’ is less of a ‘joke’ and more a legitimate fear.
The University Guild has taken swift action against RAG including an immediate investigation into why the ‘joke’ was allowed to be published, but the underlying issue is why violent rape jokes are now so acceptable as to get past the proofing stage, let alone why they are written in the first place. RAG has apologised unreservedly and withdrawn all leaflets (see full details on the Exeter Guild website: yet this rape joke certainly isn’t the first or the last on campus.

Please find updates on the SSB rape joke by the Equality and Diversity Officer for Exeter Students’ Guild, Maddie Sopper, who can be found on Twitter:!/exetereandd.

Please send in any formal complaint to our guild rep James Fox on

Sara Bennett, the Activities & Volunteering Manager is hoping to coordinate a campaign on campus against sexual violence in light of this.

The joke for those of you who would like to see it, was as follows:
"Taking off her clothes:
with consent- 12kcal
without- 187kcal

Fawcett March Success at London

On 19th November, a group of students from the Exeter Gender Equality Society joined the Fawcett Society and many other feminist and women’s groups such as ladies from UNISON and the Green Party’s women, to march in protest to the government cuts which disproportionately affect women.  The march, with its 1950s housewife “Don’t Turn Back Time on Equality” theme, started at Temple tube.  Approximately 2,500 women, children and men marched through the streets in London with probably just as many onlookers!  The march finished with a rousing rally at King Charles Street where inspiring woman spoke out against the cuts.  Speakers included Anna Bird, the chief director of the Fawcett Society; NUS Women’s Officer, Estelle Hart; journalist, Tanya Gold; comedians, Kate Smurthwaithe and Josie Long; and the CEO of the Women's Resource Centre, Vivienne Hayes.  Those who could not make it to London hosted their own ‘Don’t Turn Back Time’ tea parties. Here are some pictures from the day:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Gender Equality Group at Exeter University

The Gender Equality Group is one of the subgroups at Exeter University of the Equality and Diversity Groups.   Others include Race Equality Group, LGBT Group, Disability Equality Group and so on.  The Gender Equality Group meets once a term and consists of students and staff alike.  They exist to represent all men and women at the university from undergraduates to mature students to academic staff to support staff.  They meet once a term and their meetings are open to all students and staff regardless of any characteristics.   Joining this group and attending their meetings is a fantastic way to learn about what is being done to promote gender equality at the university as well as helping to influence policy and campaigns in all areas of university life.
  • If you are interested in joining, please email: (You can use this address to request to join any of the Equality and Diversity groups, not just gender).  The team will then email you with details of upcoming meetings and events.

  • For up-to-date information on what the group is doing, you can like them on Facebook: University of Exeter Equality and Diversity

Even if you do not wish to join any of the groups, they are a fantastic source of support so get in touch with them is you have any issues concerning equality and diversity.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

International Men's Day at Exeter University

What is it?

Saturday 19th November is International Men’s Day in the UK.  It originated in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999 and has since spread to the rest of the world.  Leading officials in UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) openly support the designation of this day.

The University of Kent was one of the first institutions in the UK to celebrate International Men’s Day in 2008 and it has been growing in popularity throughout institutions in the rest of the UK since.  Now Exeter University is coming out in support too!

On Monday 21st November there will be two stalls designated to celebrating International Men’s Day.

What’s going on when?

From 11am-3pm in Devonshire Hall (between Coffee Express and the Ram pub) there will be a stall dedicated to raising awareness of and fundraising for the prevention of male cancers (prostate, penile and testicular).  There will be lots of literature on male cancer including who is as risk, what symptoms to look out for, how to self-examine and what support is available.

Alongside this, we will have a “Bling my Boxers” rail to help raise money for Orchid, the only charity devoted entirely to male cancer.  Members of Art Society, Gender Equality Society and some very charitable individuals have been ‘blinging up’ some regular boxers (small, medium and large) to sell on to students.  They will be £5 each and all designs are unique!

In the Queen’s Building foyer from 10am-5pm we will have another stall devoted to promoting positive male role models and highlighting the differences amongst men.  Come along to send a card or postcard to a man or boy that you love in your life.  A card, stamp and envelope will all be provided and we will send the cards off for you all for £1.50 each.  The cards, like the boxers are all unique and contributed by some fantastically arty and kind people! 

How can you help?

We will have a display board of photos celebrating all the different kinds of men and male relationships – men as fathers, brothers, boyfriends, sons, friends, and cousins.  If you wish to contribute a photo, please email or take your photos to the Information Point desk on the ground floor in Devonshire House. 

If you fancy volunteering on one of the stalls for any time from one hour to all day, please do email me at

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Speaker: Estelle Hart (NUS Women’s Officer) on Thursday the 11th November

Estelle Hart is visiting Exeter University for an evening from 7.30pm to 9.00pm in Queens Lecture Theatre 1 in Queen's Building, Streatham Campus on Thursday 11th Novermber 2011 to explain the necessity of women’s representation in our student union. As the women's officer for the National Union of Students she will be talking about the lead women’s liberation campaign this year which is ending violence against women students - this was in response to the findings of the Hidden Marks report which found that 1 in 7 students had experienced serious physical or sexual assault during their time as a student. This is the website that has the report and is also an excellent resource for support: ( She will also be touching upon the topic of about how the cuts are affecting women.
This is a free event that has been organised by the Gender Equality Society but all students are welcome regardless of whether they are members or not.  If you have any questions about the event, then please email: