On the morning of March 16, the University of Mary Washington Health Center discovered that holes had been poked in the free condoms available for students in the health center’s self care room.
The health center usually has a basket of 25 to 30 condoms on display for students in the unmonitored self-care room.
The health center was alerted to the news when a student went into the health center’s self-care room to obtain some condoms, according to Associate Director of Student Health Services Heidi Simpson. The student noticed that two of the condoms contained small holes and informed the health center.
Simpson says it appears that someone pushed a pin through the packages of at least two of the condoms, and the condoms themselves, and put them back into the basket.
After discovering the holes, members of the health center moved the basket of condoms into the supervised health center room.
Simpson said the basket of condoms, which was tampered with, was placed in the self-care center sometime between March 11 and 16.
“Someone intentionally tampered with them and we want the UMW community to know that there may be [more] condoms out there that have holes,” Simpson said.
Cara McDonald of Voices for Planned Parenthood, also known as VOX, expressed her outrage at the idea of someone tampering with the health center’s condoms.
“I was pretty disgusted when I heard that a member of the Mary Washington community had poked holes through the condoms that our health center gives out,” McDonald said. “I do not believe that the person was inspired to do so by ideology. I think most people recognize, pro-life or pro-choice, that this sort of thing is wrong.”
Junior Aimee Abdelrahman said she sees the benefit of purchasing your own cotraceptives.
“Whatever the case, I’ve always believed it was safer to just buy your own,” Abdelrahman said.
Senior Catzby Pitzvada expressed surprise at the news.
“That’s really messed up because that’s not giving the person the ability or choice to have safe sex,” Pitzvada said. “That has the potential to ruin people’s lives.”
Like the students, Simpson is befuddled as to why someone would poke holes in the condoms.
“I don’t know what the motive was, but it defeats the purpose of community safety and disease prevention,” Simpson said. “Always check condoms before you use them. We encourage the use of condoms to prevent STD’s and pregnancy.”
The health center has never had an incident like this in the past, according to Simpson.
“Students have never tampered with a product,” she said. “But we’ve had some vandalism to the room itself.”
The health center is not actively looking for the perpetrator.