YOUNG VOICES

Kent University Union Pulls Summer Ball Poster Of Vulnerable, Lonely Girl

04/04/2014 13:45 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 13:59 BST

A university's student union has been forced to apologise after it used a picture of a lonely, vulnerable-looking girl to advertise its summer ball.

Kent University's SU was held to account by its own students, including the female who appeared in the poster. The flyer, which appeared around campus to promote the annual 'party in the car park' ball depicted a female standing alone in a dark car park accompanied by the caption "someone will lose their friends".

The union's women's campaign officer Bethany Taylor said she was "disgusted".

"I think it's really harrowing for women students in particular who may have been attacked or had a bad experience on campus," she told Kent Online.

"It perpetuates the message that it may not have happened if they hadn't become separated from their friends, which is victim-blaming.

"A lot of students, both male and female, find it quite disturbing. The picture was also used without the consent of the girl featured. It only shows her body, which objectifies her."

The woman in question, Kate Wilson, who is now a Kent graduate living in Texas, received an apology from the union.

Kent Union released a statement saying the posters, which have since been taken down, were misinterpreted.

"It was never our intention for the poster and its message to be interpreted in this way.”

"The concept behind our marketing of the event is to use real photographs taken last year combined with factual statements provided by students. In the future we will check our designs with relevant people to ensure they cannot be interpreted in a different way."

At a union council meeting on Thursday night, student representatives voted unanimously for a sabbatical officer to be involved in future marketing to ensure there would not be a repeat of the incident.

Taylor told HuffPost UK: "[We have] also called for a review of the zero tolerance policy and for a strategy to be put in place with regards to the policy and party in the car park."