Sexually graphic questions appear in Cambridge law exam


Tom Mendelsohn
Monday 03 June 2013 11:11
A controversial question from a Cambridge criminal law paper
A controversial question from a Cambridge criminal law paper

Oral sex, anal rape and torture all featured in a Cambridge criminal law exam last week, shocking some of the 200-plus students who sat the paper.

Question nine featured graphic descriptions of legal murky acts of sexual humiliation conducted at the initiation ceremony of a fictional drinking society called ‘the Vizards’.

The question, which was in three parts, is introduced like this:

“Sandra is President of The Vizards, a College drinking society. She is organising the initiation of new members. After a great deal of alcohol has been drunk, the members of the society form a circle around Billy, Gilbert and Richard who are to be initiated.”

It goes on to describe three situations in which one male student is tricked into receiving oral sex from another; another experiences an indecent assault with a win bottle; and a third dies after his pubic hair is removed to vigorously and the wound gets infected.

Sebastian Salek, a third-year from Clare College who sat the exam and was first to bring it to public attention, told the Independent that questions on sexual offences are ‘always going to be quite graphic’, but that ‘this was on another level from previous years’.

He insisted that questions like this are ‘necessary’, however. “The criminal law isn't pretty and law students have to be able to deal with the offences that were raised.”

Christina Sweeney-Baird, who also sat the exam, described the question as ‘effective…albeit unusual’.

She said: “I can see how non-lawyers would think it was bizarre but all of the offences referred to are offences we study and sexual offences are a part of the criminal law course.”

Another student wrote on  Twitter: ‘That's a horrific question – so far beyond acceptable and a total misrepresentation of most socs, actually’.

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