An anonymous source posted fliers disparaging last night’s performance of the Vagina Monologues. Many students confused the advertisements with other fliers sponsored by the directors of the play.
The fliers bore slogans like, “Wanna see a “good rape”? Wanna celebrate it?” and “Like Rape? We Do! … Come and watch The Vagina Monologues.” The fliers incorrectly listed the time for the performance as 6:00 p.m. and incorrectly listed the sponsor as “the Womyn’s Center.”
The Vagina Monologues is a series of monologues written to bring awareness to issues of sexual abuse and sexual violence against women. The performance was sponsored by Take Back the Night, not the Women’s Center.
Last year, volunteers with the Vagina Monologues filed a complaint with the Department of Public Safety alledging that their signs for the event were repeatedly torn down.
Bethany Marlowe, Associate Dean of Students, said that yesterday’s fliers technically complied with the University’s policy on fliers although she said the Women’s Center could make a strong case that the advertising should be removed since it incorrectly used the Center’s name. She said the student handbook did not cover cases where a group puts up fliers deliberately attempting to appear like they were another group.
“This is not something you anticipate putting in the student handbook,” Marlowe said. “It’s something you’d assume is common sense.”
Defending the University’s free speech policy, Marlowe said students have the right to express their opinions even when it involves disparaging remarks made about another group’s events.
Marcie Parkhurst (CAS ‘03), a volunteer in the Women’s Center and last year’s director of the Vagina Monologues said that free speech was not the issue, but rather that whoever put up the signs confused students into thinking the Women’s Center had written them.
“Primarily I think whoever did this is a complete coward,” Parkhurst said. “Part of the reason for the Women’s Center is to show support for survivors of rape, for women to walk around campus and see fliers that say rape is okay is completely offensive.”
Parkhurst said that last year, she tried to hold a discussion on the controversial aspects of the monologues after the event, but no one stayed.
“I feel like if people disagree so strongly that they need to do these childish things, we should at least have a constructive discussion about this,” she said. “Women who volunteer at the center are constantly put on the defensive by anonymous sources who are promoting their own agenda.”
Several of the signs bore slogans similar to phrases in past issues of the Georgetown Academy. Robert Swope (CAS ‘01), the Editor-in-Chief of the Academy, told Parkhurst he had no knowledge about the signs.