PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment) began their culture board project this week in preparation for Sexual Assault Awareness month. One of these displays was vandalized on Olson 2 in North Complex sometime between its posting over the weekend and Tuesday afternoon.
Each floor has a different theme for their boards. The one disturbed was Finding Nemo themed and said ‘don’t touch the butt without consent.’ It was changed to say ‘dude touch the butt without consent.’
“I am deeply saddened that someone thought it was necessary to vandalize our PAVE poster boards for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This image is rape culture. We will not be idle in our mission to promote consent,” Kathryn Opitz, PAVE treasurer said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Opitz said she wanted to tweet about the situation to limit the harm the poster could have called survivors.
“I was so angry and sad when I saw it I needed to get it across that whoever did this it’s not okay and we are taking action to reverse their action,” she said. “It was really disheartening to see that. Most importantly we wanted to apologize to all the survivors who did see that image and were troubled by it at all. That was not our intent at all.”
PAVE emailed housing as soon as they were made aware of the situation. Since it was after 5 p.m., they hadn’t heard anything back.
Opitz said PAVE executive member hope to speak to Olson 2 residents at a floor meeting to reiterate the purpose of the poster boards.
“Our executive team would gladly go and talk to the residents on that floor about our poster boards and our projects,” she said. “It just really shows why we need the poster board, because it’s not funny and it can affect anyone whether it be female or male. The fact that people do find it funny and find it necessary to take their time out to do something like that is really sad.”
PAVE wants to reiterate this was not the intention of the poster boards and apologize for anyone who was affected by this display.
“We wanted to reiterate the fact that if you are a survivor, we have resources out for everyone. We are again sorry if you were troubled by that, it was not our intent and we feel awful about it,” Opitz said. “We hope that they can understand the idea we were trying to get across with this project.”
Although Opitz said she is disheartened by the display, she hopes it can be used to spark further conversation throughout the month of April.
“If anything, we’re not happy that it happened but empowered. It will get the conversation going more so than it originally would have,” she said.