Student dismantles anti-abortion event and says: ‘I didn’t want girls to be victimized by this’

‘I would do it again in a heartbeat’

Yesterday Keaton Aspell became the second guy in a week to take a stand against anti-abortion events on campus.

Noticing a pro-life protest at his college, the Political Science major started dismantling signs and symbolic pink crucifixes. His actions were filmed in a video, shot by Washington State student Shay Dingfelder, and already seen by tens of thousands. We asked Keaton why he did it:

The guy taking the crosses down(Keaton Aspell): "I'm taking them down because, could you imagine if a girl that decided to get an abortion saw this? And how much shame she would feel?" I completely agree. These displays aren't for education or awareness, they are shaming women for choosing what they want to do with their bodies and that's not right.

Posted by Shay Dingfelder on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What happened?

I got out of class and I saw the display and there was nobody standing around by it. So I pulled all the crosses out of the ground and threw away the signs. I got a text an hour later from a friend saying they had put it back up but there was nobody standing by it. So I came back and did the same thing until someone came out and called the police on me. I ended up talking to the police and I agreed that what I did was wrong because of course, they do have the right to free speech. I apologized to them and them went to three different offices on campus to try and find out how they got approved because I still thought it was inappropriate. And I also organized a peaceful protest afterwards with signs and a group of people and stayed nearby until they left.

Why did you do it?

The main idea for me is that I didn’t want girls who were victimized by this to feel like they were alone. I said at the time: “I’m taking them down because, could you imagine if a girl that decided to get an abortion saw this? And how much shame she would feel? No woman should have to go through that.”

What has the response been?

From a lot of girls, I’ve gotten personal messages and I’ve heard a lot of their stories and how they were afraid to stand up, how thankful they are for a guy to stand up for them. I guess it’s really rare – I didn’t realize how rare it was. From the other side, the head of the College Republicans made a YouTube video trashing me and his supporters have been messaging me, making threatening comments. But I’ve tried to ignore it – threats are only threats from the internet, right?

Keaton, left

What kind of things are they saying?

Someone said they found out where I lived and would come and “have a conversation” with me. Other people are just calling me names and derogatory terms. I’m originally Canadian, so they’re telling me to move back to Canada. I just do my best to not let it bother me.

Would you do it again?

In a heartbeat. Since I did it, I’ve gotten messages from girls who feel victimized by this. It makes me feel like I was doing the right thing. I was raised by a very feminist mother who taught me to respect women and that women were equal and have their own rights. I saw social injustice and saw people being attacked and I didn’t like it.

Would you recommend other guys to do this?

I pray that other guys do the same thing. A lot of girls might afraid to step up, it might be understandable because the backlash I’ve gotten from guys – I couldn’t imagine being a girl and getting threats from guys telling me they’re going to come to my house and “talk” to me.

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