Home / Crimes Against Women / New Campaign Against Sexual Assault Uses Fake Acceptance Letters To Fight Campus Rape Culture
30 May 2014, Seattle, Washington State, USA --- Seattle, United States. 30th May 2014 -- Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence. -- More than 100 community members came in support of the #YesAllWomen Live Rally in Seattle. This was a call to action in support of those affected by violence against women, after recent shootings in California left 6 dead and 13 wounded. --- Image by © Alex Garland/Demotix/Corbis
30 May 2014, Seattle, Washington State, USA --- Seattle, United States. 30th May 2014 -- Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence. -- More than 100 community members came in support of the #YesAllWomen Live Rally in Seattle. This was a call to action in support of those affected by violence against women, after recent shootings in California left 6 dead and 13 wounded. --- Image by © Alex Garland/Demotix/Corbis

New Campaign Against Sexual Assault Uses Fake Acceptance Letters To Fight Campus Rape Culture

“The claims you will make against your rapist will be ignored, much like your right to feel safe at school”

Credit: Adweek.com
Credit: Adweek.com

A new ad campaign is taking a bold stand against the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses by targeting college-bound high school seniors urging them to research and thoroughly consider their prospective school’s record on prosecuting sexual assault before accepting their admissions offer.

Originally running a print ad in the Harvard Crimson during the accepted-students weekend, the campaign uses a fake acceptance letter from a university admissions director promising the newly admitted frosh “lifelong friends and memories here on campus” along with “being raped by someone you thought you could trust.”

The weekend brings hundreds of prospective Harvard students to campus together before they decide which college to attend this fall, and campuses around the country host similar events throughout the spring weekends. Seizing a pivotal moment to emphasize a chronically under-reported issue, ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners teamed up with Prettybird Productions for the campaign, which includes the print ad, a series of videos, and a letter from sexual-assault survivor Wagatwe Wanjuki in USA Today.

According to the firms creative director Margaret Johnson, the ads are directed at incoming first-year students before they begin the freshman year because the first six weeks of college are when they’re most likely to experience a sexual assault.

Credit: Slate.com
Credit: Slate.com

The full letter reads:

Dear Ms. ______

On behalf of the _____ community, I would like to congratulate you on your acceptance into the University of _____.  We know that you will make lifelong friends and memories here on campus.

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.

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.”

Alcohol has a way of making you stretch the truth, and we don’t respond to liars.”

Lest apologists dismiss the account as sensational marketing, the bottom of the page yells in all caps “THIS IS A TRUE STORY.”

The videos created are nearly as terrifying, presenting worst-case scenarios to prospective female students unaware of their fellow classmates. “You will be sharing dorms with repeat sexual offenders,” one woman reads after opening the acceptance envelope with her overjoyed parents adjacent.

Another reads “You will be raped in your first semester and as a result attempt to end your own life the next.”

The video also portrays both sides of rape culture, showing a male student finding out he’s getting an athletic scholarship, with his future school writing “We know that you will make us proud, especially when you witness a girl being raped by our star quarterback and don’t report it – team players keep their mouths shut.”

Research shows that nearly 25% of female college students are sexually assaulted during their time in college.

About Adam Ciminello

Entrepreneurship, Social Justice, and the idea of Bono never performing again are all things that excite me. And yes, my grandma is cooler than yours. Say hi sometime on twitter @Aciminello

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