When two high school football players were convicted of raping an intoxicated classmate in Steubenville, Ohio, — after sending pictures of the act to friends and posting about it on social media — a significant portion of the backlash was against the victim rather than her attackers.
It might be the 21st century, but there’s still a tendency to blame the victim, be it for drinking or wearing a short skirt. The meme of targeting the violated as opposed to the violator has even made it into modern PSAs that are supposed to be anti-domestic violence.
We have collected eight recent ads that imply if a woman drinks or fails to cover up, then she is somehow asking for it.
The most headline-inducing recent example was when the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board released a series of posters showing a woman’s legs sprawled on a bathroom floor, underwear at her ankles, with the text, “See what happens when your friends drink too much?” They were later pulled.
We’ve also found a few anti-rape PSAs that get the message right, so there’s hope for progress.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board pulled this ad in 2012 after a series of complaints that it blamed the victim (and her friends) for date rape. It implies if a woman drinks, she bears responsibility for being raped.
Here's part of the campaign geared towards men. It suggests that drinking could turn them into rapists. People complained that the booze angle made rapists and their victims seem like equivalents.
This anti-rape poster was spotted in Wales in 2011. Again, it puts the onus on the woman to not get raped, as if drinking is a precursor to consent.
Blaming victims for being drunk or wearing a short skirt at the time of their assault has become the norm. This Scottish PSA lays out why that thinking is ridiculous.
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