Rape advice flier garners national attention
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 08:10
The evening of Oct. 8, a flier called “Top Ten Ways to Get Away With Rape” was posted in the men’s bathroom of McBride Hall. The flier told readers, “If a women’s [sic] window is unlocked sneak in and rape her to teach her not to do it again,” “If your [sic] afraid the girl will identify you slit her throat,” and “RAPE RAPE RAPE, its [sic] college boys live it up!!” among other suggestions.
The flier first gained attention when Kate Van Fossen, a junior at Miami University, posted a picture of the flier on Facebook. The flier has since been picked up by The Huffington Post and USAToday.
Van Fossen, who is also Vice President of Women Against Violence and Sexual Assault (WAVES), said the poster first came to her attention when a member of WAVES received an email from a Resident Assistant in McBride Hall with a picture of the flier.
“I knew right then and there that I needed to start telling the student body and the community about this,” Van Fossen said. “All the attention this has gotten is great. My main goal isn’t to make Miami look bad, it’s to bring attention to this situation.”
Monday morning, Miami released a statement on the e-report as well as on the MyMiami website listing the university’s response to the situation.
The statement began, “Miami University finds this act and the message reprehensible. Miami University strives to create an environment and culture that is safe for all community members and is respectful of all individuals. Miami’s mission to develop successful students and model citizens is not reflected in this act, which may be the work of one person.”
Barbara Jones, vice president of student affairs said this incident does not represent the Miami student body.
“We’re sending the message that this is not acceptable on this campus,” Jones said.
After Miami found out about the flier, the incident was reported to the Miami University Police Department (MUPD) as well as the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity. Both offices are investigating the incident, according to Claire Wagner, associate director of university communications.
Because of the ongoing investigation, Wagner said she could not say whether the police have an idea of who posted the flier. However, if the student or students who posted the flier are found, they will receive sanctions based off what is stated in the Student Code of Conduct, according to Wagner.
Van Fossen said while she appreciates Miami publishing the incident for all students to see, she wished more had been done immediately after the incident.
“Miami just posted a statement after we’ve been pushing this all week,” Van Fossen said. “It’s great that they posted something on the website but I wish they had sent out an email. With technology our generation demands answers right away.”
Jones said she believes the university’s response to the incident was appropriate and that its priority was to focus on the students living in McBride Hall. The decision to release a statement to the entire student body was made after media picked up on the incident at Miami began to receive questions about the flier.
Van Fossen said her Facebook post of the flier generated over 115 shares in two days.
Miami’s Sexual Assault Prevention Coordinator usually heads WAVES, but that position has been vacant for a year, according to Van Fossen.
According to Jones, Miami did find someone to fill the position about a month ago, but that person ultimately decided not to take the position. The search for a new Sexual Assault Coordinator is ongoing, Jones said.
“We’ve been struggling to keep our heads above water and this poster is a catalyst to bring this up,” Van Fossen said.
Miami does provide a program at orientation for first-year students that deals with sexual assault, according to Wagner. This year, Miami added training for all students on sexual assault and provided a book for students on sexual assault.
While this is not the first time an offensive flier has been posted in a residence hall, Wagner said this is the first one, to her knowledge, that has advocated criminal activity.
Van Fossen said some of the responses she has heard brush this flier off as a prank and a joke.
“Number eight on the list says, ‘If your [sic] afraid the girl will identify you slit her throat,’” Van Fossen said. “That statement goes beyond sexual assault and rape, that’s murder. There’s someone who that thought has crossed his mind and he’s walking around campus. That is so disturbing to me. This should never be considered a joking matter.”
According to the Oxford Campus Clery Act Public Crime Log from Aug. 12 to Oct. 11, five sexual assaults have been reported to the MUPD this academic year.