In Focus

Generation Z and the problem with consent: ‘Pupils have told me that being raped is a compliment’

This is just one of the disturbing attitudes that campaigners have heard in schools, so it’s not a surprise to hear that less than half of 18-24-year-olds understand you can be raped without force or if you are in a relationship. Zoë Beaty asks why Gen Z’s attitudes have become more regressive than many of their grandparents’

Sunday 04 February 2024 13:05 GMT
Rape myths and misconceptions continue to persist, despite years of campaigning
Rape myths and misconceptions continue to persist, despite years of campaigning (Getty)

We’ve been chatting for about half an hour when Eloise lowers her voice to a whisper. Until now she’s been confidently talking through the ups and downs of being a 19-year-old woman in a world she finds unsteady.

She’s annoyed that, on TikTok, the advertisements she gets are keyrings with rape alarms and “stabby kitties” (a cat-shaped metal keychain with pointed ears sharp enough to cause damage), feels that modern feminism sometimes goes a bit too far, but having grown up in the age of nudes, she doesn’t really trust men. Which is unsurprising considering the story she tells me next.

“So a boy I know was asking a girl at his school for nudes,” she says, quietly. “And then when she refused, he threatened to rape her.” The boy was 14 and had recently posted an Andrew Tate video to his Instagram page, which was Eloise’s first encounter with the online influencer.

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