This week, on behalf of a client, a criminal complaint was filed with the Amsterdam Public Prosecutor’s Office against (several male members) of the Amsterdam student association ASC/AVSV (hereafter: the Corps), for inciting hatred, discrimination and/or violence.

The reason for the criminal complaint are the speeches made by four male members of the Corps during the ‘gentlemen’s dinner’ that took place on 24 July 2022 as part of the Corp's lustrum celebration. In those speeches, it was proclaimed that women are ‘nothing and nothing more’ than whores, that women are ‘sperm buckets’ and that the Corps is 'above society’. It was also said that ‘the gentlemen will break the women’s necks to stick their dicks in’. These statements, also viewed in conjunction, can be seen as incitement to hatred, discrimination and/or violence against women. In the client’s view, this is misogyny. She is convinced that such statements will at the very least considerably lower the threshold for sexually transgressive (and violent) behavior towards women, thereby creating an unsafe climate for women. She is very concerned about this.

The media has reported that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has not initiated an investigation into these events. This is because on the one hand, according to  the Public Prosecutor’s Office, it is preferable that the matter is resolved internally and, on the other hand, because no criminal complaint has been filed.

The client disagrees with the first point.  She is convinced that decisive action must be taken against this kind of behavior and believes that it cannot be left up to the Corps itself to resolve this matter. Indeed, various sources reveal that the statements in question are characteristic of a deeply-rooted culture within the Corps in which this type of behavior towards women is more or less normalized; it is dismissed as a 'joke' that should not be taken seriously. According to the client however, this is hardly a joking matter and trivializing it further lowers the threshold for sexually transgressive (violent) behavior. With regard to the second point, various sources show that there is a lot of social/group pressure not to report abuses within the Corps. Or in any case, to not report to external parties, but to keep matters indoors. There is said to be a culture of silence, with the unfortunate effect that matters such as these are not being sufficiently exposed. The client believes that the fact that ASC/AVSV will normally be a pivotal factor in its members’ student lives, will deter the necessary students from filing a criminal complaint. Something similar may well apply to non-corps members, as the reach of the ASC/AVSV will not be limited to its own members, given its size and status. None of this is an obstacle for the client, who has no ties with the corps and/or the student body and who is also in a different phase of life than the average student. It is for that reason that she has taken up this gauntlet.

The client is represented in this case by lawyer Brechtje Vossenberg.

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