Women’s Committee posters defaced

Posters put up around the University by the Women’s Committee as part of the Zero Tolerance campaign have been defaced. One poster placed in the men’s toilets in D Bar which originally read “No means No” was changed to read “No means Now”

A defaced Women’s Committee poster was found in one of the men’s toilets in Derwent College. Photo Credit: Saskia Papadakis

A defaced Women’s Committee poster was found in one of the men’s toilets in Derwent College. Photo Credit: Saskia Papadakis

Posters put up around the University by the Women’s Committee as part of the Zero Tolerance campaign have been defaced.

One poster placed in the men’s toilets in D Bar which originally read “No means No” was changed to read “No means Now”.

Another poster which had been put up in the walkway in Derwent K Block was changed from “A Dress is not a Yes” to “A Dress Is a Yes”.

The posters were run in conjunction with YUSU’s Zero Tolerance campaign against sexual harassment. The posters were put up in campus bars by the Women’s Committee on January 29th. Several were found defaced only a few hours later.

Millie Perkins and Josie Field, Womens Officers said, “really this just highlights the problem we are trying to address with our campaign, the results of the zero tolerance survey were worrying at best and I would encourage everyone to have a read of them- sexual harassment isn’t something that happens to other people in a far away land, it happens here in York and sadly has probably been experienced by someone you know.

“Vandalising posters can seem a laugh at the time but the underlying message it sends out from our student body is quite disturbing.”

Bob Hughes, Welfare Officer, echoed their views, stating: “I think it’s frankly disgusting that the posters have been defaced in this way- the whole message of these posters is to get people thinking about consent, harassment and how they treat other people, and even if meant as a joke, the message this action sends to everyone else is one of normalising issues of harassment and making people feel unsafe in and around campus.”

“This shows us that there is still a lot of work to be done, and so the Zero Tolerance campaign will seek to look at what other materials and events can get this message across to students, and try to engage as many people as possible in understanding the issues and how they affect people.”

This comes after the recent results of the Zero Tolerance survey carried out by YUSU Welfare and the Women’s Committee, showed that 72 per cent of York students surveyed had experienced sexual harassment whilst at University.

The survey showed that female students were far more likely to be the victims of sexual harassment, with around 75 per cent of female respondents reporting experiencing sexual harassment compared to 65 respondents of male respondents. 80 per cent of the offenders were male, with 15 per cent female and 5 per cent unknown.

Rosie McCluskey and Ed Moore, Derwent Welfare Vice Chairs, commented: “I think the fact that it was in our loos does not necessarily mean that it was anybody in Derwent who did it. This is a public bar. A lot of people who aren’t in Derwent do come here and if it was a member of Derwent, I don’t think it reflects any college attitudes at all.

“Maybe one or two individuals. Obviously we are taking it very seriously and we don’t approve but I don’t think it reflects anything on the college as a whole.”

“We are going to work closely with Women’s Committee in the near future and we are looking to do a push on the Zero Tolerance campaign, not because we feel that this is a problem within Derwent, but because it is a good campaign that people should know about.”

Rob Aitken, Derwent Provost, also weighed in on the issue, telling Nouse: “I regard the defacing of posters as a serious issue. Although a few individuals might think it as just a joke, defacing posters in this way is has the potential to intimidate.
“If I discover who is responsible for this vandalism they will be subject to disciplinary action.”

5 comments

  1. Disappointing, but unsurprising. This kind of unfunny ‘humour’ is the thin end of the wedge that supports rape culture.

    Reply Report

  2. The WomCom survey was seriously flawed and clearly produced with the aim of creating pseudo-statistics which could be thrown around campus. Those who created the study have a serious lack of understanding in regards to data and how the word ‘harassment’ is legally defined.

    I’m glad those individuals who live in the delusionary belief that York has a ‘rape culture’ are getting poked fun at.

    Reply Report

  3. There’s no doubt that, from a statistics point of view, the survey was deeply flawed (a 200-person sample is pretty ridiculous) but it still had some merit. For instance, having the survey encompass a broader definition of ‘harassment’ is perfectly sensible. Peoples’ views on what constitutes harassment may well not line up with legal definitions, which often have a habit of being several hundred years out of date (for instance, according to English law, the only valid definition of adultery is a partner having extramarital vaginal penetrative sex – I’m sure most people would disagree with that interpretation).

    Reply Report

  4. If you target a poster at a group of people (in this case men) implying that they are more liable than others to commit a serious criminal offence that group is, understandably, going to get wound up and is going to respond in this way: because the vast majority of men find doing anything sexual with anyone without their consent as abhorrent, and object to being patronised by WomCom. The sort of people who think it’s okay to harass a woman are not the sort of people that are going to look at a poster like this and challenge their beliefs.

    So, in short, WomCom’s tactics are all wrong here. A better approach would be to target both men and women encouraging them to report incidents of harassment: whether they are a victim or a witness. Targeting those committing these offences is pointless, they don’t care what WomCom thinks. Your average decent person is more likely to do the right thing when encouraged to do so than your average sexual harasser.

    Reply Report

  5. 14 Feb ’13 at 4:54 pm

    Fallowfield Lil

    As an older Fallowfield resident, who came as a student in the 70’s and never left, I have to say that I’m not surprised in the least.

    In Fallowfield at night, young men publically urinate, as if it is the norm, on the pavement of Wilmslow Rd and down the side streets. Whilst this is going on, other young adults walk past and never once have I seen them remark about it.

    If these young men have so little respect for themselves and others, then there is a long way to go to teach them that when a woman says no, she means no.

    Reply Report

Leave a comment



Please note our disclaimer relating to comments submitted. Please do not post pretending to be another person. Nouse is not responsible for user-submitted content.