Flyers replicating IU’s sex and consent posters were found Sunday in IU-Bloomington bathroom stalls making false statements about the definitions of sexual assault and consent.
The flyers were reportedly seen in the School of Public Health, the Fine Arts Building and the Indiana Memorial Union, and claimed sexual assault “occurs when attention whores need extra sympathy and decide to cry raep [sic].”
The fake flyers closely resembled posters distributed on campus last year with similar categories on “What is consent?” “What is sexual assault?” “How do I get consent?” and “But what if?”
However, each response to these questions was rewritten with answers like “consent is a generic buzzword that we use to shove our own personal brand of feminism down your throat,” and “if you disagree with us, you are a dead mother fucker.”
Photos of the flyer began circulating on social media Monday morning as a screenshot of a Snapchat was tweeted by an IU-Bloomington student saying “This is NOT funny.”
The flyers were marked with the familiar #ItsOnUsIU hashtag and a link to a website not affiliated with the University.
IU released a statement on the posters Monday evening calling them “fake and offensive."
The provocative flyers were posted intentionally, according to the statement, to attract students to visit the website listed at the bottom of the flyers, which could then install malware on electronic devices like laptops.
“Sexual assault is not a laughing matter,” IU’s statement read. “Sexual assault is an endemic issue facing college students nationwide, and one that we are actively trying to eradicate from our campus and community.”
Ryan Piurek, a University spokesperson, said IU first learned of the posters Monday afternoon and that University information technology officers reviewed the website and cut off students' access to the link from IU servers.
Senior Lindsey Franxman went looking for the flyers before class after hearing about it through a group text with friends. She said she was outraged when she found one in a main floor bathroom at the Union. She couldn't stop thinking about the culture of sexual assault at IU — the fact that some of her friends had been drugged at bars this year or the traction of an incentive tweet posted by the new nightclub Kilroy's Recess.
Franxman said she looked again in the Union after class to find the flyer had been ripped down.
"The fact that someone thought that was OK to post is mind-boggling," Franxman said. "Maybe it was a joke, but it's not funny. Sexual assault is a very serious thing that people go through everyday."
Campus and community organizations were quick to condemn the posters. IU's Culture of Care released a statement calling the posters "insensitive and hurtful mockeries." Middle Way House expressed disappointment not only with the content of the posters, but with some students' jovial reactions.
The executive board of Raising Awareness of Interactions in Sexual Encounters, or RAISE at IU, also released a statement to its members Monday afternoon. The student organization, which works to promote healthy sexual relationships, said the message of the posters "grossly misrepresents the realities of false reports of sexual assaults."
"This blatant attack not only aims to harass all people who have been victims of sexual assault, but also encourages others to accept this disgusting behavior," the statement read. "We will not tolerate it."
Junior Toby Klein, a director of outreach and education at RAISE, said the message of the posters didn't come as a surprise. She compared it to tension bubbling up at rallies like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia, and said the posters reflect misconceptions she has heard voiced about sexual assault survivors.
"These opinions have long been held by a lot of people," Klein said. "This is absolutely appalling and disturbing, but it's not a surprise."
She said she hopes IU will do more following the spread of the flyers to take a stronger stance against campus rape and promote a sex positive culture.
"Words are not enough," Klein said. "The University needs to do more to prevent rape culture."
The IU Police Department is investigating the posters, according to IU's statement, and students have been asked to contact IUPD at 812-855-4111 if they see the posters on campus.
The IDS has reached out to IUPD for comment. This story will be updated.
Katelyn Haas contributed reporting.