Advertising the TNT Freshbook club night, the poster, which had been published on the Union’s website, featured the photo of a person with “I was raping a woman last night and she cried” written across their t-shirt.
The content of the poster was highlighted by Safe As which is part of Cardiff Women’s Aid, and works with young people affected by sexual and domestic violence. A spokeswoman from the organisation said “We at CWA are appalled that anyone, especially a Student Union, could make light of such a serious situation. For it to be written in the first place is awful, but for a Student Union to then decide to use such material as advertising is utterly disgusting.”
Liberal Democrat Cardiff MP Jenny Willott has also expressed her disgust at the advertisement, confirming that she had been contacted by several students regarding the poster. She said that “The students concerned found the poster deeply offensive, as do I; anything which seeks to diminish the horror of rape is abhorrent and completely unacceptable.”
Willott went on to say “The students asked me to highlight this matter and I have done so by reporting it to the Advertising Standards Authority. Cardiff Met Student Union have apologised and removed the offensive element of the poster, which I welcome, but the fact remains that such an image should never have been allowed on the website in the first place. I would like Cardiff Metropolitan University Student Union to explain how this happened and how they will prevent similar occurrences in the future.”
The Students’ Union has now issued a full apology and said that they have “launched a full investigation into how the artwork passed through our usually stringent approval procedures.” Following the complaints, the event has now been cancelled. The statement also announced that Safe As will be the Union’s nominated charity, meaning it will closely work with the organisation for the next year.
“This incident is deeply embarrassing and shocking and we would like to apologise wholeheartedly for our mistake” the Students’ Union added.