The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has pulled a set of public awareness ads that were intended to encourage responsible drinking by drawing a correlation between alcohol abuse and date rape. The advertisements show a bare-legged woman lying on a bathroom floor with her panties at her ankles and has the caption: “Date Rape: See what could happen when your friends drink too much.”

Calls from rape victims complained that the ad blames victims for putting themselves in dangerous situations while minimizing the responsibility of the attacker.

“We have gotten lots of feedback, both positive and negative, on the campaign,” says PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec. “First and foremost our intention was never to offend anyone with the images but to bring about a greater conversation about the dangers of binge and problematic drinking. 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.”

She also said that the ad was not run without being fully scrutinized first.

Read more here.

What do you think? Does this ad place blame on the victim rather than the attacker? Or do these ads make an important point?

  • d_nicegirl

    Of course it does. It basically says that if you drink to much, it’s your fault if you are raped. Hence, men have the right to rape drunk women.

  • Sammy Jo

    Im so sick of everybody telling women/girls how to not get raped? Ive never read an article telling men/boys how not to be rapist. There wouldnt be such high numbers of sexual assault if flipped this conversation. The rapist is the problem, so lets do something about that instead of telling women to carry mace, guns, not go out at night, where less reveling clothes, dont drink, never invite a man into your home, dont take the train, get a guard dog, have a man to protect you…Of course women should take proper precautions to be safe, but we need to do more about making the world a safer place for women.

  • GorgeousSmileLove

    I was date raped several years ago, I still have flashbacks, the memories of that night still haunt me to this very day. Since then, I have stopped drinking completely! Maybe if I would have saw this PSA, I would have stopped drinking a lot sooner or I wouldn’t have drank at all and I would probably still be a virgin or I could have kept my virginity a lot longer. Who knows…. But over all, I don’t see anything wrong with this PSA board. I don’t feel like they are blaming women for being date raped I think they are just trying to save women from the psychological torture a lot of women such as myself are afflicted with daily.

  • The Comment

    I know right? They should have a picture of a woman being in control…kicking the man in the groin w/a caption, “See what can happen when……”

  • QON

    There are a number of laws in the US that tell men and boys not to rape. They also tell women and girls not to rape. What is wrong with telling potential victims how to keep safe? HOw often are we told not to let people in our home if they don’t show proper identification? How often are we told not to reply to suspicious emails?

    The reason why women dont like to be told how to stay safe is because a lot of what we do to endanger ourselves is fun. Everything we do in this life has its risks. I am glad someone is telling me how I can avoid being a victim. Information is always power. Why shun this information? Because it gives us reponsibility we dont want? Shame!!!

  • Priceless34

    GorgeousSmileLove …Im sorry this happened to you and my prayers go out to you.
    However, your last statement takes responsiblity away from the man. I think men have to be held more accountable for their actions and being that this is a “man’s world” is probably why there is less anger targeted towards them.

    Sammy Jo says…thank you !!

  • QON

    @The Comment

    That would be nice but men are physically stronger than us. Even as pre-teens some can over power an adult woman. Be serious, this isnt Charlie’s Angels.

    I should also add that where I am from (Los Angeles), young boys and men have had to undergo a complete wardrobe change due to the potential of them being a victim of gang violence. They cant wear blue they cant wear red. Females can get away with wearing such colors. Now, we could tell the gangsters that they dont have a right to shoot, harass, bully, or assault a young black and Hispanic male because of his clothes but that is just fancy talk. They took precautions especially in the schools. My own brother and cousins growing up watched what they wore for fear that they could be killed.

  • QON

    @GorgeousSmile

    Interesting. So is that why you practically accused a nine year old boy of being a sexual predator because of his facial expressions in a news photo and the fact that he told someone else that he thought a substitute teacher was cute?

    Sorry for your experiences but it doesn’t give you a right to condemn children.

  • B

    I’m glad they pulled it. Rape victims are blamed enough as it is.

  • iQgraphics

    @QON
    I like the fact that you play devils advocate, but I had to give the peoples eyebrow to the comment

    “The reason why women dont like to be told how to stay safe is because a lot of what we do to endanger ourselves is fun.”

    Now, I kind of get what you’re saying but that statement is a BROAD stroke with a general color of paint.

    In all honesty, I don’t think a woman does ANYTHING to purposely endanger herself. But you didn’t say “purposely”, so I kinda have to ride the fence on that….

    I think the problem is that there is an implication that a woman can follow a set of rules or behaviors that can lead to her not getting raped, and therefore, if she doesn’t follow one of these rules, the rape is justified. I’m not saying that’s true but it’s a weird slippery slope.

    The ad is graphic. I’m glad they pulled it on that alone.

  • QON

    @iQgraphics

    Thanks for your response. Can I just say that being responsible prevents all sorts of dangers happening to us? If we are in control of our behavior, conscience, responsible, alert, aware of our environment, go out in groups, we not only reduce the chances of being raped but also of being robbed, getting into a fight, driving drunk, passing out, alcohol poisoning, losing our valueables, etc.

    Responsible behavior keeps us safe in so many ways. End of story!

  • iQgraphics

    @QON agreed

  • GorgeousSmileLove

    @QON

    I DIDN’T ACCUSE THAT LITTLE BOY OF BEING ANYTHING, DON’T PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH AND DON’T TELL ME WHAT I IMPLIED….. I EXPRESSED MY TRUE FEELINGS BASED OFF OF MY INTUITION. ;)

    For the record…..

    Any psychologist will tell you that some children can be predators to other children, FACT!!! Your comment was rude, ignorant and completely unfounded…. have a seat!!!!

  • QON

    I think men are blamed more. All men. They are essentially told that they are all potential rapist and that there is nothing women can do because all men are evil.

  • Bitencourt

    Exactly! This type of ad reinforces the notion that the raped woman must have done something wrong to cause this reaction of the rapist, so somehow the woman asked for it…

  • QON

    If I can quote you, “All I am going to say is they need to watch this little boy very closely, especially as he becomes a teenager and a young adult. He gives me bad vibes from his photo alone…..goodness, please protect the little girls.”

    Protect little girls from what? Being told that they are cute? When did telling someone else that some other person was cute become the hallmarks of a sexual predator? Please stick your intuition up your you-know-what. This boy isnt going to suffer for the crime that was committed against you. He is innocent. He didnt NOTHING wrong. Tell me which psychologist says that a boy who tells someone else that someone else is cute is a sexual predator? Thought so.

  • QON

    @B

    And if you want proof of what I am saying go back to that post about the 9 year old boy who said to someone else that his teacher was cute. Read the comments from “GorgeousSmileLove.” She condemned this boy because of his photo. Condemned him as a sexual predator.

  • iQgraphics

    That AD HAD to go.
    Its says :See what could happen when your friends drink too much.

    ummmm….. yeah, no
    Drunk driving is a more likely and foreseeable consequence to drinking too much…
    and that may lead to accidental homicide…

    There are too many variables that are not taken into consideration with the implied statement that if you drink too much, you could be sexually assaulted.

    Sexual assault may occur for a number of reasons that the woman may have NO part in.
    And by “no part” I mean the ad’s implication of you’re a target because you’re drunk.

    It’s just plain messy. Don’t they have focus groups before ads like this go to market?

  • B

    Thank you Bitencourt!

    QON, I respect your comment, but I just can’t. Okay. I’ve had enough of the “reverse-sexist” played out record (it’s as bad as the “reverse-racist” accusation). Men know how to stop men from raping women and children. They have the power to end this problem and the unfortunate light that this problem has cast on men. They have the power to talk to each other, to raise their boys to understand that women and girls are worthy of respect and that boys/men aren’t entitled to women’s bodies; to implement sh*t in the schools to reinforce this message to boys; to alter some of the depictions of male on female violence and sexism that we see on TV all the time. Newsflash: they are running things, generally speaking. So, whatever perception is attached to men (i.e. the perception that they are all potential rapists) is hardly my or any other woman’s problem to remedy: men keep this mess going. If they are tired of the image then they need to step up and start trying to make a change (this is why I tend to surround myself only with males who are feminists).

    So, I appreciate your comment, but I can hardly be bothered about some mythological notion that men are more often blamed for rape than women are (we all eagerly went to the defense of the PA/Sandusky men/boys, whereas if it had been female victims we would have “wondered” about the truth of some of the claims). Alas, the issue of rape is about humanity – about how it is disrespectful to blame a victim (male or female) for the horrors his/her perpetrator committed against him/her. Period.

  • Trini

    While I honestly believe the message could have been given without such an image, I simply dont see how this ad is supposedly blaming women. AT ALL!

    @QON summed up the intent of the ad best in saying this:

    “Responsible behavior keeps us safe in so many ways. End of story!”

    To assume the ad is insinuating anything more is just that an ASSUMPTION!

  • Bitencourt

    @B:

    Again, I agree with everything you wrote. It’s really scary to realize that there are people who believe that men are more blamed for the rape, when in fact the victims are always considered those who did something irresponsible. Following trials involving the crime of rape it is quite clear. The victim is exposed constantly as if it were the criminal in question, has to prove she was virginal in order of the charges being taken seriously, the size of the skirt she wore it becomes irrefutable evidence that she had not been raped, but was simply was a slut. The sexual partners of the victim are brought to the fore to describe in detail the sexual life of the victim, all that to say she was a nymphomaniac, therefore could not have been raped. An inquiry is made in the personal life of the woman who was raped, while the case in question , the rape in question, the evidences that exist to support the allegations of the victim are not even discussed, instead of discussing rape itself, the trial becomes an avalanche of moral accusations against the victim.

  • Ella

    Oh I get it!! When a woman is raped is due to HER irresponsible behavior, because be responsible prevents us from ALL types of danger, and this is certainly not blaming the victim…

  • Timcampi

    We shouldn’t tell men how not to rape women. Rapists rape. That statement is without a gender– victim or criminal. It is not in the consciousness of the average sane man/woman to rape. It is not in the consciousness of the average sane woman/man to expect rape. And that’s the way it should be, the victim should never be blamed. I don’t see anyone blaming murder victims for being cruelly slain? No one’s saying ‘Well maybe if [he/she] wasn’t such of an arse [he/she] wouldn’t be dead!’ No one’s saying ‘Oh well they had it coming anyway’ Rape is exactly like taking stealing a life. That person will be forever effected by that horrible moment.

    My mom is a rape victim and my whole family rushed to blame and slut-shame her. Recently, I was almost gang-raped. It’s really nothing to scold people for… You already feel ashamed and hurt. Especially since you WEREN’T DRUNK. Especially if you WEREN’T dressed provocatively. It’s freaking nuts. I’ll just leave it at that.

  • QON

    @B

    A bit disingenuous to say that men are running everything. Some men are, most men arent and they certainly arent running it for the benefit of every man. Youre still making it man’s problem by making them responsible for ending it. There is no silver bullet to end rape. Punishment is the only thing that can help. Vigilance on the part of women can help. If men have a responsibility to teach men not to rape why cant we as women be vigilant about the risks?

    @BitenCourt

    The identity of the rape victim is always protected. A man, merely accused, not proven guilty has his identity shown to the media. He can be found not guilty but the association of a rape charge is hard to shake. Forget if this man is accused but then later found not guilt of child molestation. He might as well kill himself.

    You description of what victims of rape have to go through sounds straight out of The Lifetime Channel.

  • Timcampi

    Oh and I totally agree with @QON for the second time in my life. It’s completely effed up that a person accused of rape is lambasted before due process takes place. Just like I will believe a rape victim despite her horrid history of ‘sluttiness’, I will allow any accused to prove their point in court without influence of my clearly biased opinion. That includes protecting his identity.

  • The Comment

    Of course men are stonger than women. I’m saying…women should learn how to protect themselves. How many of us have taken a self-defense class? I find nothing wrong with the ad however, depicting women as strong and not weak is a great start. Now is a great time to do this. More states are releasing parolees early to save money. If you went online right now, and looked up how many REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS are living in your neighborhood–u be shocked. I grew up on Charlie’s Angles and it did me well. Every girl finds herself in a bind from time to time. And you better know how to fight to survive cause this world is not safe.

  • Bitencourt

    @QON:

    “You description of what victims of rape have to go through sounds straight out of The Lifetime Channel.”

    LOL. You have no idea how much I wanted this to be true. I am a student of sociology, and because of a paper i have monitor trials involving rape, what I wrote was definitely not taken from the television…

  • apple

    a woman doesn’t need to be liquored up to be raped.. men rape you no matter what state your in.. but i suppose liquor just makes it easier for them

  • OSHH

    IDK how to feel about the ad. I do know that date rape is a horrendous act, whether the woman is sober or drunk. Esp being raped by someone you trust and or considered a friend, thinking you are safe to go around them when you may have had one too many, not ever thinking that person would take advantage of the fact you were inebriated and actually rape you. SMH no words really for such a depraved act.

    On one hand I say trust no one, and drink responsibly, on the other, it takes a phcuk up person to date rape someone that considered them a good friend.

  • Bitencourt

    QON:
    I agree with Bittencourt, rape victims are treated completely different from victims of other crimes. What makes rape different from other crimes is that, for no other crime do we allow the accuser to be attacked, shamed, or vilified to the same degree. If I get mugged, even if it happened while I was flashing my wallet, I don’t really have to worry about being blamed for it. Sure, some people will tell me that I should have been more careful about letting my wallet be visible, but that wouldn’t be used by the defense attorney to justify the actions of the person on trial for the crime. Nor would it be used in the media to claim that I deserved to have it stolen. If my car gets broken into because I leave a bag on the back seat, even if I’m told that my actions increased the likelihood of having my window broken and my property stolen, they aren’t going to be used to explain away the crime. Simply put, accusations of rape need to be treated differently because the crime itself is already treated differently. You said that “The identity of the rape victim is always protected. A man, merely accused, not proven guilty has his identity shown to the media. ” but in reality there is nothing in the current structure requires accusers to remain anonymous, some accusers do come forward and, interesting, that is often when things begin to change on a larger scale, for worse to the accuser.

  • Bitencourt

    Edit: It was to be: I agree with B.

  • Trini

    @Ella

    No honey, obviously you DONT get it! But hey irrational projecting and assumptive insinuations do appear to have a certain draw. You have fun with that!

  • Trini

    @apple

    “….but i suppose liquor just makes it easier for them.”

    I think that’s the gist of what the ad intended to convey.

    Its one of the main reasons why date rape drugs exist. And yes its true, if a man has rape on his mind nothing will stop him but there are dudes out there who SPECIFICALLY look for tipsy females for this very purpose. Obviously the makers of this ad attempted to bring awareness to that small fact.

  • Ella

    I am certainly having fun with all the victim blaming that occurs here. I mean, it’s better laugh than cry.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    Yes men who need to be held accountable and taught about what is rape and why, a dual ad campaign targeting men would have been nice, but there is nothing wrong with telling women to take precautions. You can not just say well men are responsible for rape so I am not going to be vigilant” they are just going to have to stop. I dont see this ad as victim blaming but it was way too heavy handed.

  • chanela

    OR! could it possibly put it both ways? “ladies: this is what can happen” “men: this is what you might do to a woman if you and your friends are drunk”

    or does it SPECIFICALLY say women?

  • chanela

    okay but some women ARE a target because they are drunk! just like women who are walking alone down the street and are distracted by texting or listening to earphones are targets too.

    predators prey on women and children who are super vulnerable and distracted. obviously a drunk girl isn’t in control of her judgment at the time!

    also if thats what happened when they drank with their friends.. how did the girl’s friends allow their obviously drunk homegirl to be taken off to a bathroom with a strange man? women go everywhere together.. ESPECIALLY the bathroom

  • chanela

    DAMN! gang raped= more than one person and thats TERRIBLE. glad you avoided that situation : (

    makes me sad that not just ONE rapist.. but more than one man felt that it was okay to violate a woman. this world is so damn depressing!

  • Timcampi

    @chanela

    lmao funny thing? I was walking a drunk girl home to prevent her from being taken advantage of. Hahaha. It’s all good though. :’D

  • HuesofHoney

    That’s a crazy ad….who ever came up with that must have been drunk they da%& self!

    tacky and reckless

  • Vee

    This is a powerful ad, I think, and it did what is was created to do: stir up discussion.

    That being said, I don’t think there is anything too wrong with the ad, except for *maybe* the graphic imagery. That fact is, if you drink too much–and become drunk–you put yourself at risk for a lot of things, NOT just rape, but your consciousness is very much impaired. Of course NO one should be blamed for his or her own rape!….FACT: there are people in the world who are effed up human beings; they should all be found out and punished, but too many aren’t, so we must act accordingly and stay reasonably safe. Many rapists (criminals, period) are OPPORTUNISTS, and to keep OURSELVES safe we should avoid being that opportunity when we can. Its no different from shredding bills to protect yourself from identity theft or being careful about walking in unfamiliar neighborhoods at night alone.

    I’d say that not getting wasted is like a “safety belt” for this type of situation. Of course, if someone who’s driving recklessly hits me and kills me w/o one on, they are ABSOLUTELY at fault, but if being strapped in can spare my life, why not just wear one?? We can’t control the motives or actions of those around us, but we can do what we can to reduce our risks of danger.

  • QON

    @Vee

    “I’d say that not getting wasted is like a “safety belt” for this type of situation. Of course, if someone who’s driving recklessly hits me and kills me w/o one on, they are ABSOLUTELY at fault, but if being strapped in can spare my life, why not just wear one?? We can’t control the motives or actions of those around us, but we can do what we can to reduce our risks of danger.”

    Very well put. I like the analogy as well.

  • iQgraphics

    Drunk people in general are targets for lots of unfortunate things. Some people purposely target them… but this ad doesn’t address that.

    So, I think this ad should have been a picture of some dude with a look on his face… “a look” that says it all… in the foreground and off in the not so distant distance a group of chicks slushing it up… Then it would be a complete thought.

    Not the way it is.

    I think issue I am having with your argument and the ad is intent.
    Sure she intended to get drunk, but she did not to intend to be raped. But the rapist intended to rape. and that last key piece is missing.

    Without that piece it just reads as, she intended to get drunk so she intended to be raped.

    I’m just talking about the ad.

    Just this ad.

  • andrea

    “His Place” is a key set of words to signify who this ad his targeting.

  • CALIDREAMING86

    From the comments around the web, what I get is that women just shouldn’t drink.

  • Slink

    This ad shows a drunk girl laying in a bathroom and obviously by the title we perceive she was raped. I do not believe the intent of this was to make the victim feel blame for getting raped.

    It is too educate the people we are with, the victim, the accused, the friends involved… this is what could happen if each and everyone of you do not play your part. The accused of a “date rape” probably doesn’t set out to rape his good friend, the victim surely does not set out to be raped, and the friends do not want to be future witnesses in the incident. HOW CAN THIS ALL BE AVOIDED???

    You tell me. A group of friends.. girls and guys go out.. they drink.. they flirt. One of the girls that drank too much is getting a little too close to a guy that drank too much. The friends see it and laugh “Oh look who may hook up tonight”. The guy and the girl hook up. In the bar. On the way home while friends drive them. Friends drive them to the guys or the girls house. They continue to hook up. They wake up the next morning. The girl looks and says oh my god. Did I just hook up with “so and so”. On the other hand the guy is thinking, wow, this could be the start of taking our relationship to the next level. 2 hours later the guys being arrested for rape.

    By all accounts according to the law. HE RAPED HER!!! He is a sexual predator. It doesn’t matter what she may have said or acted at he time. The point is she was intoxicated and not able to make an adult decision. “everyone involved should have the blame. First the accused.. Girl takes more than 2 drinks.. run the fuck away.. Period. The victim don’t get to the point of drunkiness where you are pursuing the the “accused” in a sexual matter. And friends, if your friend is drinking at all. Dont let them entertain the idea of trying to take someone home. You take them home and get the number of the “possible” hook up for a later date when that friend is of sound mind. Everyone needs to be very cautious in these situations. Not just he guy or the girl… everyone

  • Chlo

    To me it’s warning everyone, not just women. Most of the men who commit date rape have consumed alcohol as well.

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