white noise

by Brian Clarey

News and views from inside the media bubble


On Monday, Zoe Hayes, the editor of the Purdue Exponent student newspaper, issued an apology for the Sept. 17 installment of a weekly feature known as “sex position of the week.” The graphic of a man having sex with a woman, then “switching out” with a second man without the woman’s consent triggered a deluge of e-mails and phone calls to the student newspaper office, said Hayes. “If someone engages in any sexual act with anyone without his or her explicit consent, it’s rape,” Hayes wrote. “The comic can easily be interpreted that way. I am particularly angry with myself for missing what is, in retrospect, the simplest and most obvious explanation for the graphic — that the woman in it is put a position to have nonconsensual sex with the second man.” Hayes extended the newspaper’s apology to the entire student body — men and women, alumni, parents, university faculty and staff. Hayes wrote about close friends who have been the victims of sexual assault, and the anger she felt upon hearing their stories. “Now, I’m angry with myself because I feel as if I’ve betrayed them and every other survivor of sexual assault by forgetting how painful even a friend’s rape was,” Hayes wrote. “How could I have forgotten that sex isn’t always consensual?” Hayes apologized to any survivors of sexual assault who saw the graphic, and pledged to do a better job covering women’s issues on campus. “The first step, however, is to admit our mistake and apologize,” she said.