The Central Connecticut State University campus newspaper, "The Recorder," is receiving negative media attention for a satirical opinion piece published in their school newspaper on Feb. 7. The opinions editor and author of the piece, John Petroski, are facing a backlash from readers after Petroski's piece entitled, "Rape Only Hurts if You Fight it" was published.
According to The Associated Press, Petroksi claims to have been "trying to point out that people don't give a damn about anything in a paper besides something they can rally around." Petroski's opinion piece describes rape as "a magical experience that benefits society as a whole." He also cited specifically "ugly women" and "prisoners."
These comments are obviously extremely offensive, and we have a hard time understanding why they were ever even written, let alone published.
The Editor in Chief of the paper, Mark Rowan, said in an interview with CNN, "I'm not going to use free speech to defend it, never will I do that. I think it was in very poor taste and the only thing I can say is that we made a huge mistake by printing it and I think John made a huge mistake by writing it." As a result of his opinion piece, Petroski was demoted to staff writer. He is also planning on participating in a rape walk and raising awareness. It is good that Petroski is taking steps to ensure that people realize he is not actually in support of rape, as his opinion piece may have made him appear.
Publishing satires in publications like newspapers and magazines is never a good idea because if your goal is to be viewed as a credible news source, satirical pieces run the risk of ruining your credibility. Especially when you write on a topic as sensitive as rape you shouldn't expect people to pick up on the sarcasm. Some topics just aren't funny to joke about, and rape is one of them.
We are also confused as to how an opinion piece this offensive ended up being published in the school paper to begin with. We would think that someone along the line in the editing process, might have at least expressed reservation about publishing an opinion such as this. At the Collegiate Times our editing chain is 6-7 people long, allowing us to feel confident that no opinion written of this nature would ever get through.
We acknowledge that we sometimes publish things that people take offense to, but we would never take a serious topic such as rape and write about it in the context in which it was. The opinions page of the newspaper exists to spark debate or controversy, not to publicly humiliate people and serve as a reminder of past, painful experiences.
The article, "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It," is inappropriate and something that most respectable college newspapers would never print. While the staff of "The Recorder" appears to be accepting responsibility for their mistakes, they should let this serve as a reminder of how careful they must be. There is a difference between being edgy and sparking controversy and alienating readers by saying things that could make people emotionally distraught.