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Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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| Courtesy Brigham Young University police believe the jogger in the surveillance photo has sexually assaulted as many as 11 women on campus during February and March 2014.
Why are so many people making fun of BYU groping?

What the heck is going on at BYU?

Over the last few days, the Provo school — and my alma mater — has seen a series of groping attacks. As of Friday, 15 women have been assaulted and police still hadn’t captured the suspect. This is serious stuff.

But for some reason, these attacks have prompted an outburst of rape-y jokes online. As Provo Buzz reported Saturday, someone has created a "BYU Groper" Twitter account and is using it to act like sexual violence is no big deal:

Another tweet seems to joke about pedophilia:

Though a couple of people pushed back against that last tweet, calling it tasteless, 16 people favorited it and two actually retweeted it.

As of Saturday afternoon, the account had 261 followers. And every single tweet had numerous favorites and retweets.

More alarming still, @byugroper is just the tip of the iceberg. Turns out, there are actually two groper accounts; "The REAL Groper" is even more active on Twitter, with 37 tweets — topics of interest include the humor of sexual violence and pedophilia — since Friday.

Haha?

These "groper" accounts are both new, but this type of thing generally is not, apparently. An account called "She Wants the NCMO" — a popular acronym at BYU that stands for "noncommittal make out" — began last September and has tweeted over 1,200 times. The account had more than 1,000 followers Saturday, all of whom got to see this hi-larious tweet — which is actually one of the most alarming of all:

Another account, "Sarcastic Mormon," also jumped on the bandwagon:

And the list of could go on and on; after an hour of slogging through this online underbelly I was still finding accounts, both of real people and fake, making jokes about groping at BYU.

Plenty of people are pushing back against this rape subculture in the BYU-niverse, but what’s most surprising is how many people are okay with it. And many of these people are publicly using their own names and accounts to laugh at sexual violence. That tweet from @shewantstheNCMO, for example, had 22 retweets and 57 favorites. What kind of a person favorites a tweet advocating victim blaming?

I don’t know why, specifically, molestation is a laughing matter among a small but vocal group of people with connections to BYU. Obviously BYU treats sexuality differently than most other college campuses, and as an alumnus I wouldn’t disagree with those who say the school’s unique culture also contributes to the problem.

But in any case, these tweets clearly represent a darker, lesser known side of BYU. And as many other alarmed people have already pointed out on twitter, there’s nothing funny about sexual violence.

Update:

Shortly after this blog post was first published, a Twitter user sent a link to @shewantstheNCMO. That prompted the person behind the account to apologize:

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



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