Pennsylvania liquor board yanks racy ‘date rape’ ad after complaints

Dec 14, 2013
Business
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A Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ad meant to warn young people about the links between heavy drinking and rape. A spokeswoman for the board said the ad was pulled last Wednesday after complaints that it blamed women for being victims.

psa14n-1-webPennsylvania’s liquor board has yanked a racy anti-alcohol abuse ad after critics said it suggested a woman who drinks is to blame if she gets raped.The ad, part of the board’s “Control Tonight” online campaign, showed a young woman’s bare legs lying on a grimy bathroom floor with a pair of underwear pulled down around her ankles.

In one version, the copy blares, “DATE RAPE. See what could happen when your friends drink too much.”

Another version reads, “2:19 a.m. She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say no.”

The board spiked the ad last week after receiving thousands of complaints, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Liquor board spokeswoman Stacey Witalec said the ad wasn’t mean to be offensive or shocking.

“We did a lot of work with focus groups and a lot of research for this campaign, and heard from our target, individuals 21 through 29, that these are scenarios they have faced and their friends have faced,” Witalec told the Philadelphia City Paper.

The ad’s supporters said the image of the women’s legs was just one piece of a longer interactive sequence on the “Control Tonight” campaign’s website, which included scenarios warning that sucking back a few too many can lead to fights, arrests or hospital trips.

A segment of the date rape scenario made it clear that rape isn’t the victim’s fault, Jennifer Storm, an author and victim’s rights advocate told The Associated Press.

Still, critics slammed the ad as “victim blaming.”

“It implies that it’s ultimately the female’s responsibility… instead of interrogating men and male culture around date rape,” Siobhan Brooks, assistant professor of women’s studies at Temple University, told the City Paper.

Penn State University junior Julie Mastrine, 20, who wrote about the ad on a feminist blog, told the Tribune-Review, “It’s the woman getting blamed for the crimes being committed against her.”

The liquor board spent two years and some $650,000 developing the campaign, which includes Internet radio ads and posters in college taverns.

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ernestgreene
ernestgreene
6 years ago

I hate victim blaming with a fierce passion. The BDSM community to which I belong harbors far too many who insist that “consent violations” result from the bad judgment of the violated party. Yeah, right. The perpetrator of the act is always responsible for the act and what preceded it is irrelevant to that fact. The ad, rather like some from PETA, seeks to address a legitimate issue by questionable means. I think those who infer that the victim was to blame for drinking too much from the way the ad was staged are tin-foil-hat paranoids who attacked the messenger… Read more »

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