An LMH student has been criticised for trivialising the “lived experience of survivors” of sexual assault after attending a bop dressed as film producer Harvey Weinstein.
The student appeared as Weinstein – who in recent weeks has been the subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault and rape – for LMH’s “horror movie classics” themed party.
The student was asked to leave by other students, before later being asked to meet with the college dean to “reflect on his behavior”, according to JCR President Lana Purcell.
In a statement to JCR members, LMH Equalities Committee encouraged JCR members “to retain a sense of awareness of the implications of [their] actions when living within college”.
They continued: “It is extremely saddening to have seen offensive bop costumes, which in this case parodied sexual assault. To trivialise the lived experience of survivors and position their trauma as a part to play within a narrative of ‘humour’ is unacceptable. This behaviour is rude, insensitive but most importantly extremely damaging.”
The statement was praised in an anonymous post on Oxfess, which characterised the student’s actions as “beyond disrespectful” and recounted their own experience of sexual assault.
The unnamed student said: “I was sexually assaulted by a family member when I was about 10 years old. This man has a very strong resemblance to Harvey Weinstein. Now, some people might think it’s ridiculous of me but when I keep hearing about these allegations and seeing the articles, it’s very upsetting for me…
“I am very glad that I did not go to the bop that night because I do not know what I would have said if I had seen that person. I don’t even know who this person was but I really hope that they have learned their lesson and know not to do this again.”
As they did in following a similar incident in January 2015 in which students were criticised as “racist” after wearing towels on their their heads to an ‘Arabian nights’ themed bop, the college’s JCR emphasised that “LMH prides itself on being a healthy, inclusive and supportive environment”.
The statement further warned “any further behaviour will be directed to the senior management of college. There will be zero tolerance for such behaviour. This is down to respecting the welfare of those you are living alongside and fostering a healthy collegiate environment”.
This follows the recent controversy of a Christ Church student attending the college’s last bop of Michaelmas Term 2016 wearing a pillowcase resembling the hood of the distinctive outfit worn by white nationalist group the Ku Klux Klan. Although the student insisted the costume had not been intended to cause offence, and was “intended as a satirical response to the theme ‘2016’”, they were subsequently banned from all future JCR events.