“Survivor” shirts distasteful
This week, students were given free T-shirts on Olin Quad – and that’s something we can all get behind.
They were black, with turquoise words and images printed on them. “Stand Up, Speak Out. I stand with survivors,” they said, to spread the message of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The design was an attempt at a clever play off the logo of a popular and long-running reality television show: “Survivor.”
How tone deaf.
Sexual assault is no joke, and reality television is. So why on earth would someone put the two together on a shirt? Surviving sexual assault is not a game.
According to the Bradley University Students Against Sexual Assault Facebook page, the shirts were a collaboration between the Wellness Office and the Athletics Department. And between those departments – all the students and staff members involved in reviewing the design – nobody found the shirt potentially inappropriate?
To us, it looks like something students would get printed the week before a bar crawl. This is not something that should be distributed to show solidarity with sexual assault survivors.
We can’t imagine how triggering this might be for the survivors who go to Bradley. They will walk across campus every day from now on and see those shirts, essentially telling them their experiences aren’t being taken seriously. Did they even consult actual survivors before printing these?
The glibness of reality television should have never been conflated with one of the most serious issues students face – sometimes alone.
Even though Sexual Assault Awareness Month is nearly half over, we hope people take it more seriously throughout the rest of April. Sexual assault does not need puns or funny designs. It deserves to be taken seriously.
We should always more cognizant of what gets said, advertised or printed. We can never know who it might affect.