A plan by a group of students at Calgary's Mount Royal University to distribute condoms with the message "Anonymously get inside," may change after many on campus say the prophylactics' slogan promotes rape culture.
Moderators of the MRU Confessions Facebook page, a forum for students to post anonymous messages for their peers, recently came up with the gimmick and posted a photo of the mocked-up condoms on their Facebook page.
Some students, however, were quick to reject the message, calling it "rapey."
"We shouldn't be perpetuating rape culture," student Kate Thomas wrote on the Facebook thread, agreeing with others who argued the slogan crossed a line.
"Although we encourage consent, 'Anonymously Get Inside Pending Consent' does not sound as catchy," fired back one of the group moderators.
MRU president David Docherty told Metro Calgary neither the staff nor students' association have anything to do with the campaign, pointing out the university holds several sex awareness events on campus each year.
“This just takes us a step backwards because 2-3 people didn’t really think of the implications of what they were doing,” Docherty told Metro.
“It’s disheartening and sad — I hope people learn from it.”
MRU's student newspaper, The Reflector, spoke with Dr. Gaye Warthe, Chair of the Department of Social Work, who likened the condoms' message to the recent student-led pro-rape chants which surfaced at St. Mary's University and the University of British Columbia.
“I agree that the message is directed towards men and sexual activities where men “get inside.” To me the message implies power of one partner over the other. Again, this reinforces that the message is actually a ‘rape chant,’” she said.
One of the moderators of the MRU Confessions page told Metro the condoms were meant to be an "innocent joke," and that the group planned to rethink the slogan.
We weren’t made aware of the gravity of it until people started mentioning it to us publicly . . . I’ll say that, on our part, maybe we should have thought it through,” said the man, who would only identify himself as "Admin 2."
Jane Drover, a women's lit professor, told Metro she and other faculty are "outraged" by the condom slogan, especially in light of a string of sex assaults on the UBC campus in recent weeks.
“While these things that are very real are going on, these puerile little boys are laughing to themselves, saying ‘Haha, this is funny,’ ” she said.
A Facebook post by the group Monday attempted to clear the air, explaining:
"To be clear, the tagline has nothing to do with sex without consent and instead refers to not just casual dating, but obviously the whole concept of being able to anonymously send confessions, and is also a play on our name. Consent and anonymity are too (sic) completely different things, and non-consensual sex wasn’t even on our minds when we made them."
News of the condoms is just the latest incident where Albertans have been called out for lack of sensitivity around issues of sex and consent.
A men's rights group in Edmonton recently responded to a series of anti-date rape awareness posters with their own campaign, titled "Don't Be That Girl."
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"Just because you regret a one night stand doesn't mean it wasn't consensual," the posters read.
In a video titled 'A Voice For Men Is Not A Voice For Me,' several Edmonton men responded to these actions, saying the group doesn't represent the beliefs of all men and that they're concerned about the effect the movement may have in the province.
"The idea that they represent all of men's rights is complete fallacy," says Barret Weber, sociologist and instructor at the University of Alberta, in the video.
"This is a voice against fear-mongering politics that shame and oppress the voices of survivors of sexual assault," says another participant.