University ad tells students to blow warning whistle before committing rape

“The only use for a rape whistle is: If you are about to rape someone, warn them. Blow the whistle.”

The University of Colorado distributed fliers that claim rape whistles contribute to “rape culture” and blame the victim in the case of sexual assault.

The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) has distributed fliers around campus suggesting that potential rapists should blow a whistle before they rape a fellow student.

The Wardenburg Student Health Center distributed the literature, which tells readers “[t]he only use for a rape whistle is: If you are about to rape someone, warn them. Blow the whistle.”

The bottom of the university approved sign ridicules the idea of the rape whistle, claiming whistle distribution contributes to “rape culture” and blames the victim in the case of sexual assault.

“Distributing these whistles for other reasons says 1) that strangers are the likely perpetrators of sexual assault 2) that the targeted person is primarily responsible for their assault. And who thinks that? #rapeculture #victimblaming #hidinginplainsight”

The Wardenburg Health Center wrote in a Facebook posting for the rape whistle campaign, “[t]his campaign is about not putting all of the onus on potential victims for their safety, but clearly telling potential perpetrators that they need to think about their actions beforehand.”


The fliers have come after the the Colorado House prohibited concealed carry on campuses statewide and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) suggested students who encounter sexual assault on campus tell their attacker they have a “disease or are menstruating.” Additional UCCS safety tips advised women that "vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.”

Rape whistles, generally used as risk reduction tools, have been promoted by other universities as a “safe” and “non-violent” way to fend off criminals.

The Campus SaVE Act, signed into law by President Obama, has increased scrutiny on colleges and universities across the nation regarding their handlings of sexual assault cases. The Act was designed to “increases transparency on campus about incidents of sexual violence, guarantees victims enhanced rights, sets standards for disciplinary proceedings, and requires campus-wide prevention education programs.”

CU’s Wardenburg Health Center did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Campus Reform.

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