Respect is a variable. In some ways it is a right. But it can be lost and it can be given. It can be deserved and it can be earned. It can be directed outwards towards others. It can be directed inwards towards ourselves. But one thing is for sure: it seems to be missing in a lot of places, including university campuses.
A new report commissioned by the NUS (National Union of Students) “That’s what she said” has come up with some alarming findings. And it links in with the anti-blame-the-victim campaigns. The NUS found that the extent to which “lad” cultures are prevalent in university campuses is detrimental to education and social development. At the ‘soft’ end, if there can be a soft end, a generous interpretation might liken some of the findings to “Miss World” competitions at best – sexist and about women’s looks and bodies. Of course, in an environment populated mainly by hormonally maturing young adults it might be reasonable to expect an undercurrent of sexual interest. But it doesn’t stop there. The most alarming aspect is a rise in jokes about rape, including one that points out that the under-reporting of rape makes it worth taking the risk.
They might be considered old fashioned values but it’s about time respect and responsibility started getting a better press. If there was more respect for others as well as ourselves there might be less victims of crime (sexual or otherwise). And there might be less need for police and social workers.