Northern Ireland

Facebook page shows Belfast women walking home after night out

Holylands alley
Image caption The Facebook page details male students' experiences in Belfast

The students unions at Queen's and the University of Ulster have condemned a Facebook page that shows young women walking home in Belfast in the morning after an evening out.

The page claims to be produced by students living in the Holyland area of Belfast and features three pictures of different women among its content.

The women are not identified in the pictures.

Some of the comments posted about the women are sexually derogatory.

The Facebook page details male students' experiences in Belfast and asks for past or present stories about incidents in the Holyland to be posted on the page or posted privately if the poster wants to be what the page calls "discreet".

The stories posted include tales of drunken antics, things like people being sick in the street and annoying taxi drivers.

The page also includes photographs taken of women walking home in the morning, wearing what is most likely to be their clothes from the night out before.

Most of the pictures are taken from a distance behind the women, while there is one that is straight on.

Some of the people posting comments under the pictures speculate about the identity of the young women pictured.

The site also contains stories from men about sexual encounters with women, fellow students in the Holyland and descriptions of incidents involving women who were particularly intoxicated.

One post that refers to a sexual encounter with a drunk girl, is followed up by a particularly derogatory comment that implies that many female students or as the contributor terms them "wenches" want to have sex during freshers week and that most are too drunk to know what is happening.

The so-called editor of the page also posted asking for feedback on whether or not they should post three "extremely rude stories" as they termed them, that would provoke a serious backlash from women, if they were released, because of - as the editor puts it - arguments about the "respect thing".

In response, one said "name and shame", another, posted by a woman, said "what should you do? Post them, duh," and another said, "when women are looking it posted, then post it".

The site was set up at the end of August and has almost 7,000 likes.


Claire Flanagan, president of the University of Ulster students union, said she was "horrified" that young people living in the Holyland area were being identified and pictures taken, and unknowingly being posted on the site.

"It's a form of bullying and behaviour that can't be condoned," she said.

"We can only reassure any of our students who have been affected by it that they can avail of support from their student union on any of our campuses.

"We would also ask our students to disassociate themselves from sites like these and not encourage the irresponsible individuals who are setting them up in the first place."

Vice president of equality at Queens University student union, Jessica Kirk, said it was a "difficult" situation.

"Obviously we can't really control what goes on social networking sites, but I do think it's a sad reflection that there are students out there who set up such pages," she said.

"I would just like to reassure students, we are going to look into it.

"I will certainly be contacting Facebook and trying to get the site taken down and from our point of view I'll be continuing to try and monitor Facebook so that if more sites like this are created, we can take action before it gets widely circulated."

Ms Flanagan described the posting of the pictures as "very insulting".

"Behind each of the photographs there's an individual as well and it's really unfair and degrading to these people and they don't even know they're getting involved in the site," she said.

"It's somebody taking a photo of a young woman walking down the street and then openly taking comments online and insulting that person as well."

Hundreds of students live in the Holyland area of south Belfast.

More on this story