December 8, 2011

UPDATE! If This Rape Ad Infuriates You, Do Something About It.

“She didn’t want to do it. But she couldn’t say no.”

Update: The ad has since been pulled by Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board. Read more here. and here.

Thank you all for expressing your opinions in the comment feed below. I think this discussion is an important one and as an enlightened community here on elephant journal, I am glad that we are able to look at this issue from all sides in an intelligent and compassionate discussion. Thank you for this!


If this ad hit you in the same way it hit me, I encourage you to write to [email protected] to help get it pulled. A sample letter below, with thanks to my friend Julia for offering to share her e-mail as an example.

Sure, Control Tonight’s message is important: Help prevent irresponsible drinking in youth. But blaming rape victims is not the way to go about it.

To Whom it May Concern:

I recently viewed one of your Control Tonight campaign ads against
teen drinking, in which a pair of apparently female legs are sprawled
across a tile floor with underwear around the ankles and a message
reading “02:19A.M. She didn’t want to, but she couldn’t say no.” As a
Pennsylvania resident and taxpayer, not to mention an educator and a
victim of sexual assault, I find this advertisement incredibly
offensive and potentially harmful to the very demographic it is
purporting to protect.

The advertisement implies that unwanted sexual advances are the fault
of the victim, not the assailant, and that victims of sexual assault
are only to be held blameless insofar as they are sober, if ever.
Rape, and sexual assault more generally, are not the results of
actions controlled by the victim–and that includes the victim’s
choice whether or not to have a drink that night. This fact is part of
the definition of assault, and your advertisement’s insinuation
otherwise is not only emotionally hurtful and false, but it is also
potentially dangerous in its implicit excusing of sexual predators for
their actions, as long as their victims have had something to drink.

Tonight, you have made me feel ashamed to call myself a Pennsylvanian.
If you actually care about the young women of Pennsylvania, I demand
that you reconsider your campaign: Pull this advertisement and those
like it from circulation immediately.

*Insert Your Name*

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Rick Jun 8, 2013 11:28am

I’m not offended by this ad; in fact, I like it. I see it as a message of personal responsibility. I’m a gay male who was raped by two supposed friends (and just in case anyone wants to blame my gayness on the rape, I was “out-of-the-closet” well before this happened). I got drunk one night because I was upset about a break-up, and these friends took advantage. I don’t blame myself, the blame for such a terrible act rests soley on those two friends. But the fact remains that I made a choice to over-drink, putting myself in harm’s way. Like the ad says, I drank to the point where I couldn’t say no.

I don’t see the ad as blaming the victim at all – I see it as a reminder that we do have some power in preventing others from doing us harm.

Phookah Jul 21, 2012 3:53am

Remind me, as a guy if I get drunk and have sex with some girl in which I didn't want to, can I cry rape about it later because I was drunk? Because that's what this is saying. If you make stupid decisions when drunk, then don't get drunk. Or make sure you're supervised. But don't try to equate a stupid decision to fuck some guy as rape, because it's not. You ruin peoples life with that shit.

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Lauren Hanna, E-RYT 200, MSS Candidate, is a social worker by day and yoga ninja by night. It was in Pittsburgh that she first discovered the thrill of yoga and her love for social welfare and animal rescue work. With her cats Lotus and Calia in tow, Lauren hopes to someday combine her love for yoga and animal welfare with her career as a social worker. Lauren likes to dream a lot about saving the world – one puppy, kitten and human at a time. Lauren also loves cobblestone streets, arts & crafts, action movies and writing books with her Grandmother. If she had a billion dollars she’d probably spend it all here.

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