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Saclay Plateau engineering schools: Open rape investigations

“I caught this drunk chick at the end of the evening”. In most engineering schools – and in most student circles (Sciences Po, business schools, universities, etc.) this phrase is in fact commonplace. Early mistakes for these students? Surely. However, we must talk about it so that it happens again as little as possible and that mentalities evolve.

The Evry public prosecutor's office has opened several investigations

Following several complaints from students, the Evry prosecutor's office told AFP on June 24 that it had opened several investigations into rape in the Grandes Ecoles located on the Saclay plateau, including the École Polytechnique (l'X), Centrale -Supélec, ENS Paris-Saclay or even Supoptic.

In these sacred places for some, it was inconceivable to talk about these subjects. However, here as elsewhere, it seems to me necessary that speech be freed. Is high school rape culture systemic? I think so but that with the right efforts, we can fight against it.

Alcohol as an incubator for these rapes?

Following years of often difficult preparatory class, many students let themselves go. Alcohol flows freely and it is often the engine, with drugs, of these situations suffered like rape. From my personal experience, we had received training when we arrived at ENS teaching us that “consent is important”. However, is it enough? The culture of alcohol does not help this at all and is often an excuse. "Yes I did that but I was drunk" should no longer be an argument.

Limit alcohol in these evenings? When I was in school, this already existed: a ticket system was notably put in place, limiting the number of glasses. But clearly, whoever wants to drink can collect tickets and drink as much as they want. And the same goes for drugs of course. In short, it is complicated to set up. I think on a very personal level that it is a good thing that speech is freed up. The best we can do? Talking about it, doing prevention, pushing people to put themselves in the other's shoes to understand the harm suffered.

The goal is that behind it is that everyone can be more responsible. Do you see your friend in a case that resembles harassment in the evening? Take the risk of appearing to be the big bugger – for 5 seconds – with your friend and ask her if everything is fine. It can be lifesaving!

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