THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Student’s column draws an apology

UMass article on rape blamed some victims

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / March 4, 2011

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The editors of an independent student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts have apologized for publishing a column Monday that implied some rape victims bear responsibility for being assaulted. The article also linked Planned Parenthood to what the writer called a trend of increased promiscuity.

“It is evident that the column is both offensive and inaccurate, and The Collegian is deeply sorry to members of the community who were negatively affected,’’ the editors of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, which is published out of the UMass Amherst campus, posted on the newspaper’s website Tuesday.

The editors also said Yevgeniya Lomakina, author of the column “Planned Parenthood can’t treat a sick society,’’ has been fired.

Regarding allegations of sexual assault, Lomakina wrote that if a young woman makes “a decision to dress a certain way, to consume alcohol [then she] should be prepared to deal with the consequences. Far from being a victim of rape, she is a victim of her own choices.’’

Lomakina added that rape should be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law.’’

Lomakina, a UMass student, also wrote that Planned Parenthood is “engaged in a number of morally questionable practices, such as opposing parental consent laws.’’

In an e-mail last night, Lomakina said the editing of her column “allowed for numerous misunderstandings’’ about the piece.

She said she did not mean to suggest that rape victims are to blame for their assaults.

“There must be a distinction made between voluntary sexual activity and forced sexual activity,’’ she wrote. “Women put themselves in a vulnerable position by dressing provocatively and consuming alcohol. . . . There are a number of cases where at the time of the event, women consent to sexual activity. However, later, they regret it and accuse their partner of rape.’’

She added that not everyone has condemned her piece.

“There are a select few who, despite the editing, understood the meaning of my column,’’ she said. “Surprisingly, and without my knowledge, they have written letters to the editor asking for my reinstatement.’’

Nick Bush, the Collegian’s editor-in-chief, said in an e-mail that the night editors “clearly failed to uphold our institutional standards on content. The members of our Editorial Board were not alerted [to] what was clearly potentially controversial content, which is standard procedure so that we can form a consensus.’’

He said the editor with final say over night editorial content, Hannah McGoldrick, has been let go.

The paper receives no funding from the university, and the school has no control over what it prints.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.