Anti-Abortion Or Pro-Offensive Speech?
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Politics

Anti-Abortion Or Pro-Offensive Speech?

A reaction to the display from an anti-abortion crowd on VCU's campus last week.

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Anti-Abortion Or Pro-Offensive Speech?
Odyssey

Out of all the words in the English language, there are few that are as taboo as the word "abortion." The few times a brave soul dares to speak the word, it creates a thick, awkward silence that could make even the most eloquent, charismatic politician cringe. It is a topic avoided in Civics classrooms and it is understandable why. But this silence is not what we saw on campus this week. In fact, we saw the opposite, in the most horrific and offensive way possible.

For the readers this reaches that do not attend Virginia Commonwealth University, let me fill you in. It was Monday morning, and I didn't have class until 1 pm so I decided to go to the Cabell library for some food at Starbucks before class. I got my coffee and went to take my normal route along the back of the library to get to the student commons where my class was. When I turned the corner, I started dry heaving and almost threw up my breakfast. In between a classroom building and the side of the library, there was a 10-foot tall disgusting display of anti-abortion. The lies and opinions they were trying to pass off as facts were masked by the graphic (mostly obviously photoshopped) images of bloody, decapitated, maimed babies, all bloodied and not even born yet. The thing is, they weren't pictures of abortions. A few people said it was pictures of miscarriages, and a few said it was photoshopped. Whatever it was, it was disgusting. A few days later, it showed up in our student commons.

Now I'd like to explain how unbelievably angered I was, not only at this display, but at our school for letting it continue. But before that, I would like to say that I personally could never get an abortion. That being said, no one, not an old man in congress nor my religious peers, have the right to tell me what to do with my body. Nor do they have the right to shame me for thinking differently than they do. That's why I'm so heated on the topic of abortion. There is no reason to tell someone what they should do with their life, nor is there a reason to judge them or try to make them feel bad for living how they do. Only God can do that, right?

FIRST OF ALL, they tried to pass it off as a feminist movement. They put it up and claimed abortion was used as "gendercide", to kill babies with the "defect" of being a girl. I understand that this is a problem, but it isn't nearly as prevalent here as it is in other countries. These people were trying to make this a feminist issue to make more people angrier than they already were. This was also really offensive to a lot of feminists on campus.

SECOND, all of the things they had on their board were false! They didn't have any literature with which to back up their facts, and if you went up and talked to them, they would laugh at you for being skeptical about their posters but not actually give you any information about them. They also compared abortion to genocide. They had women who have had abortions up there with pictures of Hitler and lynchings. That's ridiculous.

THIRD, this was turned into a freedom of speech issue. I'm all for freedom of speech. We had a few guys come out on campus earlier this year who were preaching and condemning us for living like college students. I was angry but I understood this was them demonstrating their freedom of speech. The abortion display, however, was way too far. The facts were false. The pictures they put up were triggering for anyone who has had an abortion (because if you think that any woman who gets that done is happy about doing it or wants it done, you are delusional and should be psychologically evaluated), or any woman who has had a miscarriage, rape victims, and anyone with a phobia of blood. It was too far because I was walking by with my friend and we were talking about how stupid the whole display was and how the info was wrong and one of them called me a slut. I'm not kidding. An old man called me a slut for not agreeing with him and told me I was going to hell. Where is the line between free speech and harassing an 18 year old girl?

FOURTH, every person I saw advocating for this cause was an old man. Please sir, tell me where your uterus is located? Hmmm? Where is your body that can be impregnated when a man you don't want to have sex with forces himself on you? Tell me about all of the period symptoms you've had and all the times you couldn't go to the beach because you were on your period that allows you to understand why women need birth control? What's that? YOU DON'T HAVE A VAGINA? Well, my dear sir, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MINE. I understand that everyone has an opinion. However, if you cannot fully understand something in the same way that men cannot understand what it's like to have migraines from a period, or bear a child, you also need to understand that I'm not going to respect it (at least not as much as women). To all the women who are pro-life, you go girl. I respect your opinions, and I hope everything goes well for you.

So, to these LOVELY people on our campus, I ask, what were you trying to do? Convert people to your stance? Because it really seemed like you were just trying to piss off a bunch of liberal college students. Who was changed by this? Who was swayed to become pro-life by your offensive slurs and grotesque pictures? Did you feel better after calling me a slut?

And, to our dean: I'm so disappointed in you. I came to VCU under the impression that we were a safe place. I understand why you didn't do anything the first day. It was in a location all students could go around. But to then allow them to come back IN OUR COMMONS....our commons is where VCU is represented. It always has something festive and diverse proudly displaying what we stand for. How could you let this display of disgusting ignorance stand in our commons? How could you ignore the cries of offended, triggered students who walked through campus feeling sick, or crying because of what you let go on? We turned to you because we needed help from someone who had the power to make it better and you did nothing. If this is a matter of freedom of speech, then I am free to say that I hope they never come back to our campus and that I have never been more disappointed to be under the power of our dean.

At the same time, I have never been more proud to be a Ram. For hours, hoards of my peers were outside of this display, protesting it. No one cared who anyone liked or who they got along with. There were just people comforting the upset, and ensuring EVERYONE would know how outraged we were. Thank you to my fellow Rams who participated in this protest. It is nice to know that when we can't rely on those in power, we can rely on each other.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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