Dear Muleskinner editor and staff,
I am writing in response to the very, very unfortunate headline in the Muleskinner Jan. 22, 2015. I have no concerns about the Sex Signals event sponsored by Spotlight. I have no concerns about the article content nor the writing of it. But how in the world could a headline that includes “laugh about sexual assault” ever, ever make its way into print? I talked with both the editor and the author of the article and am sure there was no malicious intent. In their account, information sifted from Spotlight to the Muleskinner and in that drift, nuance and clarity about the event was lost.
So, to be clear, the group Sex Signals does not laugh at sexual assault. They use humor to highlight our social understandings that lead us to do terrible things such as sexual assault. This is a very, very important distinction. Humor can be a useful way of learning and coming to understandings. However, joking about something as horrific as sexual assault is never OK. The people who have been victims of sexual assault endure enough injury already. They shouldn’t be subjected to the dismissive language of the Muleskinner headline. Our campus should not have to work against the kind of dismissive thought that this type of headline potentially generates.
In the midst of pinching deadlines and rushed decisions, stay mindful of the power of words and their capacity to injure.
Concurrently, thank you for bringing attention to this important Spotlight event as we do try to battle the level of sexual assault on our campus and in the community.
Dr. Karen Bradley
Director, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies