Investigation launched over rape comments made by Wellington College students video

CHECKPOINT/RNZ

An investigation has been launched after Wellington College students posted comments on Facebook encouraging fellow students to take advantage of girls when they're drunk.

Wellington College is investigating after students made references to rape in posts on a private Facebook page.

​Screengrabs of the lewd posts from Wellington College students relating to women have been circulating since Sunday, raising concerns for those who have seen them. 

Several posts written by the boys have been sent anonymously to Stuff. One said simply "f... women", while another said "If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true Wc [Wellington College] boy." 

A screenshot of posts that were written in a private Facebook group by Wellington College students.
SUPPLIED

A screenshot of posts that were written in a private Facebook group by Wellington College students.

Wellington College headmaster Roger Moses said he was appalled, angry and distressed by the posts, which were brought to his attention on Monday. 

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The comments did not represent the values the college promoted. "Sometimes stupid things can be said by stupid boys in the context of what they think is a private page." 

Wellington College principal Roger Moses said he was appalled by the posts.
CRAIG SIMCOX

Wellington College principal Roger Moses said he was appalled by the posts.

Moses had talked to the boys and their families, and said they were devastated. 

He had contacted Wellington Rape Crisis to ask it for advice for how to deal with what had unfolded, and to get its input and advice on ways to get the message out there that what had been said was not OK. 

It was not clear if the boys would be punished by the school. 

"We need to find out when it took place," Moses said. "There's a question of jurisdiction over stuff that happens in the evening [outside school]. 

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"We have to establish the facts and work out where to take it from here." 

Schools could not control everything said on social media, and Wellington College did not have access to the particular Facebook page on which the posts were made. 

"I'm very distressed about it. We publicly take a proactive view in terms of relationships."

Moses did not want to make light of what had happened, but said he knew both boys, and believed they were good kids. 

"We're deeply upset, as are the families of the boys. I think this is a huge wake-up call for young men who think they can make such comments. You simply can't." 

Screengrabs of the posts had made it to Wellington Girls' College students, and student Siobhan Kelly said they made the girls there feel uncomfortable.

She said there had been other screenshots of a similar nature sent around, and they were concerning, even though she thought most boys wouldn't do what they said. 

"It is not funny ... that they think it's OK to say that is concerning to people in their vicinity." 

Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP general manager Conor Twyford said it was time to get serious about educating young people.

"Cultural norms take a while to change," said Twyford. "We need leadership and better resourcing for a comprehensive approach at all school levels.

"They need positive role models who can teach them what real consent looks like. They weren't born to be rapists and abusers, but they take in what's around them.

"We don't want young women growing up thinking this is what they should expect."

Meanwhile, police received multiple calls on Tuesday that a group of about 30 schoolboys were fighting in Constable St, in the Wellington suburb of Newtown.   

Several units attended the melee shortly before 3pm, and a spokeswoman said police "defused a situation between students from Rongotai College, and St Patrick's College".

There were no reports of injuries, and no arrests were made. 

 - Stuff

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