Ad in Harvard Crimson warns prospective female students they ‘will’ be raped
- The ad ran during a weekend retreat for prospective students who are deciding whether to enroll at Harvard next semester
- The ad is part of a shock campaign aimed at promoting the contested "one-in-five" statistic on campus rape
The Harvard Crimson has set aside space in its daily print edition for a controversial advertisement that warns incoming freshmen about the likelihood of being raped in college.
The ad, produced by an organization known as “Don’t Accept Rape” and later obtained by Campus Reform, puts a dark spin on the familiar college acceptance letter by citing rape as one of the many experiences offered to students at the company’s made-up institution.
“We know that you will make lifelong friends and memories here on campus,” the letter begins before taking an unexpected turn.
“We’re sorry that one of these memories will include being raped by someone you thought you could trust. You’ll fear him the night he presses you against a wall and every day after that,” it continues. “The claims you will make against your rapist will be ignored, much like your right to feel safe at school. After all, you can’t expect us to expel someone on the basis of a story that begins with ‘I had been drinking.’”
The intent of the advertisement, it appears, is to promote the contested “one-in-five” statistic, since the ad itself asserts that “one in five women are sexually assaulted in college.”
The advertisement is just one rhetorical trope used by “Don't Accept Rape” as part of a larger project called “Unacceptable Acceptance Letter.” The organization has also produced several mock videos, depicting prospective students opening their acceptance letters with their parents.
“Prepare for a challenging year ahead as you’ll be raped in your first semester and as a result attempt to end your own life in the next,” one girl reads from another mock acceptance letter in a video created by “Don’t Accept Rape.”
The organization has produced at least five other videos of this kind, which all employ similarly vulgar hypothetical scenarios.
The Crimson ran the ad during a weekend retreat for prospective students who come to tour Harvard’s campus and decide on a school to attend, Think Progress reports. President Mariel Klein of The Crimson confirmed with Campus Reform that her publication did in fact run the ad in Friday's issue.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski
Ed. note: this article has been amended since its initial publication.