Two days ago, this article was published on xoJane.
A Boston University student relates her account of how the student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, reported the incident of her sexual assault using “a pun involving a popular rap song that describes the sexual appeal of a woman’s body” in the crime logs section.
Shockingly, this was not the first time that the DFP had trivialized a crime with a catchy pun or phrase. The author of the article gives several other examples of this practice. She goes on to say that when she brought it up to one of the student managing editors, she was told “that’s just what they’re like.”
The author’s words:
I felt less-than-human. The day in my life that I was sexually assaulted marked a before-and-after divider in how I felt about myself as a human being and as a woman, and this thoughtless, demeaning description of it by somebody who is a fellow student and supposed “journalist” minimized it to a fucking RAP PUN. This was over a year and a half ago, and I am still livid.
The DFP issued an apology, declaring that they would put an end to this practice of satirizing crimes by updating the past headlines as well as only using serious ones in the future. They also “plan to begin mandatory sensitivity training for new editors at the start of each semester.”
However, the issue doesn’t seem solved to us or the author of the xoJane post, who stated that “the apology did not come off as very sincere and I remain unhappy with them and their conduct.”
What exactly will this sensitivity training consist of? As aptly put by one of the comments on the DFP’s apology: “I’m not sure how sensitivity training will help anyone who finds humor in rape, hate crimes & violence.” And it seems that the real issue is with the current editors who were the ones who actually wrote the offensive tag-lines.
As a BU student, I want my school to be the type of community where things like this wouldn’t fly in the first place. Why have issues as serious as sexual assault been insensitively trivialized by the DFP on multiple occasions? Let alone, once?
The DFP is a student newspaper. It should be the voice of the student body – it shouldn’t alienate students with such blatantly offensive and distasteful content.
We at Hoochie will endeavor to hold the DFP to its promise to “improve its coverage of student affairs, its reputation and credibility and its sensitivity to crimes that continue to plague our campus.”
Please do not hesitate to contact us at BUHoochieWoman@gmail.com if you wish to be a part of our effort to improve the BU community.