Could this be a trend?

For the second time in less than a year, a campus newspaper that ran a creepy, nasty rape joke has followed up not with a defense of its “satire” or a mealy-mouthed apology-to-anyone-who-might-have-been-offended, but a lengthy, thoughtful essay on the subject of rape and rape culture.

Here’s the end of the essay, but the whole thing is really worth reading:

“I deeply regret that I didn’t see what was depicted, and I apologize to the campus, to any survivors of sexual assault and, well, to any decent person who saw the graphic Friday and was offended. You’re right. We are absolutely in the wrong on this one and we’re doing our best to correct it. Part of that includes heightened awareness, on my part and on the part of the opinions editor, of what constitutes an acceptable graphic or editorial content. Part of that is painfully reviewing this issue in the light of comments on various websites and Facebook pages – both those attacking and those defending us. And to those defending us: While we appreciate some of your arguments on our behalf, ladies and gentlemen, suggesting that someone was “asking for” rape is misguided and precisely the problem here.

“Most of all, we, and the rest of The Exponent’s staff, are taking this as a learning opportunity. We’re students, just like many of the people contacting us. The Exponent is an educational institution. We’re making an effort to fully comprehend what we did wrong and to help educate others about issues of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse on college campuses, and we will be running several stories exploring these problems. To that end, I encourage you to participate in a constructive dialogue with us: What can we do to better cover women’s issues on campus? How can we help educate our readers?

“The first step, however, is to admit our mistake and apologize. That’s what I’m doing here. We erred and we’re sorry – not because of your response, but because we were wrong and would’ve been wrong even if nobody had said so.”

Kudos to Zoe Hayes for getting this one right.