One in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted at college.
Those are the horrifying statistics that inspired us to create the “Unacceptable Acceptance Letters” campaign, timed around the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and also the time when acceptance letters go out to incoming freshmen.
To share the stories of sexual violence survivors, we created mock acceptance letters from colleges that include details about actual assaults students should plan on being subjected to.
The inaugural letter appeared with a print-ad buy in the Harvard Crimson timed around the college’s admitted-students weekend. A letter also ran in USA TODAY from Wagatwe Wanjuki, one of the many sexual-assault survivors who stood beside Lady Gaga as she sang the theme song to the documentary The Hunting Ground, “Til It Happens to You,” at the 2016 Oscars.
The online films we created capture the moment when college students open their acceptance letters. Leaning into the popular phenomena of today’s teens posting acceptance videos on social media, GS&P and directors Ben and Alex Brewer re-created the viral sensation of college-acceptance-letter videos but with a very dark twist to stress the severity of the sexual-assault epidemic. As the excited new students begin to read their letters aloud, we’re presented with facts from assaults that took place at these colleges, woven into the copy. The spots were shot on iPhones to make them as authentic as possible.
In partnership with Ultraviolet, the campaign extended to social media, inviting people to join the movement by sharing the online films and acceptance letters using the hashtag #DontAcceptRape. The goal was to gain more signatures supporting survivors and to hold hundreds of colleges accountable for behavior that is unacceptable.
Released: April 2016
San Francisco, The Hunting Ground, Integrated, Social