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Life Choices explains controversial brochure

September 22, 2016

brochure

Amber Harrington
Staff Reporter | anh038@latech.edu

One local business is now facing backlash after handing out what some students perceived as a controversial brochure.

Life Choices, a pro-life organization located in downtown Ruston, was one of the more than 40 businesses to participate in Ruston’s annual “A Taste of Ruston” on Sept. 7. 

The event, hosted by Louisiana Tech University student affairs and the chamber of commerce, gave businesses the opportunity to introduce their products and services to freshman students 

The author of the brochure explains that there are three ways to make one’s intentions known–words, actions and dress. 

“The problem arose with the interpretation of dress and modesty,” said Kathleen Richards, director of Life Choices. “While we believe the intentions of the brochure and certainly the intentions of Life Choices were to never ever ever suggest that blame for a sexual assault is shifted to the victim based on her outfit, there were many who believed this to be the message of this organization.” 

Among those was Molly Mitchell, a 2015 alumna at Tech and a member of the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to shedding light on domestic violence, abuse, assault and healing.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to read that their “no” becomes a maybe depending on what they’re wearing,” said Mitchell. “I wouldn’t want someone to blame themselves for being assaulted because they read in a pamphlet that their outfits should match their intentions. It’s never the victim’s fault.”

Mitchell first became aware of the brochure after her friends on campus texted her a picture of it. She was then encouraged to make a Facebook post voicing her opinion on the matter. The post was soon deleted by Life Choices.

She then made another post with the same message–it was shared over 70 times.

“Most of the comments were ‘thank you for sharing, this is unacceptable,’ or ‘I can’t believe victim-blaming is still happening,’”Mitchell said. “Ultimately, I agreed to remove the post once Life Choices removed the pamphlets from circulation.”

Brian Powell, a junior chemical engineering major, sided with Life Choices. Powell said he felt the brochure was not victim-blaming but instead served as encouragement for girls to dress more modestly.

“Explicit attire draws negative attention to women; it can give off a persona of promiscuity,” he said. “The pamphlet was pointing that out.”

As for Life Choices, Richards said it will always welcome a conversation that includes mutual respect and desire for a productive conversation. Also, because of the hurt the brochures have caused, they will no longer be used by the organization.

“Let me reassure you, Life Choices is 100 percent pro-woman, 100 percent pro-man, 100 percent pro-whole, healthy relationships,” she said. “We will never side with someone who has committed a crime.  Never.  Period.”

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