Male students stage mass catcalling display at college in Spain

Students at an all-male college in Spain participated in a mass catcalling display on Oct. 2, 2022, prompting outrage in the country. Twitter / Rita Maestre

NOTE: The following article contains disturbing content. Please read at your own discretion.

Massive outrage was sparked in Spain this week when more than 100 male students participated in a staged mass-catcalling event at a college in Madrid.

In shocking video shared to social media, dozens of windows open all at once to reveal groups of backlit young men screaming co-ordinated abuse in the direction of an all-female college nearby.

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The display was put on by students at the college Elías Ahuja on Sunday.

In the video, the students chant in Spanish, “Who*es, come out of your burrows like rabbits, you’re f—ing nymphomaniacs. I promise you’ll all f— in the bullfight! Go Ahuja!”

Rita Maestre, the spokesperson for Más Madrid, a progressive party, shared the video on Twitter. In Spanish, she condemned the students’ behaviour, writing, “Then they will wonder why we are afraid of the street.”

The college Elías Ahuja released a public statement on Wednesday calling the behaviour “unacceptable.” The school condemned the public display as “incomprehensible and inadmissible in society.”

Elías Ahuja said it will take action against the students involved, offer public apologies and ensure the student body attends mandatory gender equality classes.

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Álvaro Nieto, the deputy director of the college, told a Spanish newspaper that the student who is believed to have instigated the event has already been expelled. He implied more expulsions were to come.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also commented on the display and said the country needed to send a “united and common message of rejection of these machista behaviours which are unexplainable, unjustifiable and absolutely repugnant.”

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“We don’t give any excuse for these behaviours, they don’t reflect the majority of Spanish society,” said Sánchez.

Spanish news outlet El Público reported this is not the first time that students at Elías Ahuja have staged such an event. It said the chant is treated as a tradition at the beginning of the school year. The outlet also alleged students in the past have been filmed singing songs while using Nazi salutes.

Gender equality and anti-rape legislation has been at the centre of nationwide conversation in Spain for several years now.

In August, the Spanish government passed a long-awaited law, known as the “only yes means yes” bill, which ensures any sex that takes place without clear consent can now be prosecuted as rape. Prior to this law, for a crime to be considered rape, violence and coercion needed to occur.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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