Wellington College sex comments an example of our rape culture

A group of young rugby players in New Zealand
Is the old mantra 'what goes on tour, stays on tour' now a daily occurrence? (Getty)

OPINION: Wellington College is a respectable all-boys state school any parent would be happy for their son to attend.

But after revelations on Tuesday that some of its students had been championing rape in a supposed closed Facebook session, the school has gone into damage control over its reputation.

Some of the posts, leaked to the media, are chilling:

"If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true Wc boy."

When I read this comment, I couldn't help but think about the Roast Busters scandal in 2013, when two young Auckland men were themselves 'busted' over gratuitous social media posts where they bragged about getting underage girls drunk before having sex with them.

Their boasting was essentially confessing that they had abused these girls - and the Wellington College dramas are of the same sordid ilk.

Kiwis might not want to hear this, but rape culture is embedded in most of our high schools and universities - any student will tell you this.

It was in my day and it is now - and it comes with testosterone, alcohol, hormones, access to hard core pornography - and also our Kiwi macho male culture.

Young men don't generally start a conversation about the merits of climate change, or the war in Syria, when they meet up after a night out - they'll probably start with "Did you f**k her?" 

And therein lies the great shame of our youth culture - it promotes misogyny on a scale older New Zealanders perhaps cannot comprehend - or maybe it was around in their day and they've long since chosen to forget it.

Don't just think it's certain boys of a lower standing that are the problem - I've heard chilling examples of sexual misconduct from young men of supposedly high morals - by future lawyers studying at some of our finest universities.

Groping, name calling, and forced sexual intercourse is happening by and to our students every day of the week - so what can be done about it?

I'm not sure anything can be done about it while young men champion the sexual exploits of their role models - high level rugby players whom they see getting their way with whoever they want, whenever they want.

The sexual exploits of certain rugby stars are legendary - but I'm not sure that increases their legendary reputations.

It starts from the top down - if former rugby legends began putting their hands up and admitted to having sex with hundreds perhaps thousands of young women - and then chastised themselves for it publicly- then maybe that's a start.

How far has our macho culture really moved on from when groups of Kiwi policemen engaged in gang-sex with vulnerable young women in the 1980s?

So what should be done about the young Wellington College men at the centre of this latest scandal?

Do everything that can be legally done to them - make them and their friends and all the other young men who are doing it start thinking seriously about the harm they are causing.

These boys have hopefully learnt a harsh lesson this week about what is acceptable behaviour (and that there's no such thing as privacy on the internet).   

We don't have to accept rape culture in New Zealand - so we should at least start admitting it is still a massive problem.