Boston University has been struggling to tackle many recent cases of sexual misconduct on its campus, including rape allegations. In a positive move to address these issues, the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism at Boston University has tried to start a rape crisis center (if anyone has updates on its current status, please comment or email!).
With this environment in mind, the BU publication The Daily Free Press chose to make an April Fool’s joke at the expense of those students who have faced sexual assault. According to Jezebel, the lead story of the publication’s annual April Fool’s joke issue was “BROken egos: BU fraternity suspended for assaulting female student.” The article is available on Google Docs if you choose to read it.
A BU student wrote to Jezebel deriding the article as an unfortunate representation of BU and its student body:
“Considering the fact that BU’s student body has endured scandal after scandal after scandal, it was in completely poor taste. Not only is it bad PR for the University: it’s a slap in the face for everyone who’s been victimized this year. It was a poor editorial decision. The sad part is that BU is not a school that condones assault. This past weekend, men and women on our campus came back together for Take Back the Night, which was hugely inspiring and successful. The ladies and gentlemen I’ve met at Boston University are in general an awesomely respectful bunch.”
The Daily Free Press has taken the right path and issued an apology, with other statements of regret on their Twitter. The Press is not the first nor will it be the last media outlet to make a joke of sexual assault. It’s been done on TV shows, and a recent article from a McGill publication also featured a disturbing joke concerning Chris Brown’s physical assault on his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Unlike those examples, The Daily Free Press has apologized for its harmful language and it seems its editors have learned from their mistake. Hopefully in the future they will choose to help BU students fight against sexual assault, rather than maintain a campus environment conducive to sexual violence by making light of it.
Here’s the ‘Funny’ Sexual Assault Parody Boston University’s Student Paper Doesn’t Want You to See [Updated] [Jezebel]
As I said before, I would try to post this week’s Doonesbury comics on abortion as I found them. Well I found all of them, so here they are:
Look at All of Those Banned ‘Doonesbury’ Abortion Comic Strips [Blackbook]
Previously: Doonesbury Tackles “State-Sponsored Rape“
Cartoonist Gary Trudeau has come under fire for a comic strip that critiques the state measures to restrict abortion access. The storyline slated for this week’s Doonesbury comic follows a woman attempting to procure an abortion in Texas where she meets slut-shaming and is forced to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Papers such as the Kansas City Star and the Los Angeles Times have chosen not to publish the comic in the usual section, and will instead move it to the op-ed pages due to its content. As Trudeau told the Guardian, this move from the comic pages will diminish the strip’s readership. He also defends his choice to use his comic to critique the recent impositions on reproductive freedom:
Trudeau wrote: “Ninety-nine percent of American women have or will use contraception during their lifetimes. To see these healthcare rights systematically undermined in state after state by the party of ‘limited government’ is appalling. “In Texas, the sonograms are the least of it. The legislature has also defunded women’s health clinics all over the state, leaving 300,000 women without the contraceptive services that prevent abortions in the first place. Insanity.”
I think it is extremely commendable of Trudeau to use his medium to tackle abortion restriction. The steps some states have taken recently are completely absurd and infringe on women’s rights to control her own body. As this strip shows, they are based in moral ideologies that shame women’s personal choices, rather than in any interest for her health or well-being. I hope papers have the bravery to print this comic rather than censor it, even in the face of its controversial content.
I will try to post the remainder of the comics in this series if I find them. If anyone sees them, please shoot us an email!
Doonesbury strip on Texas abortion law dropped by some US newspapers [The Guardian]