Rape Crisis Scotland have created a TV advert, aimed at tackling prejudice against rape victims.

It follows a survey carried out by the Scottish government, which found that 23% of people thought a woman was partly responsible for being raped if she was drunk at the time of the attack, and 17% if she was wearing revealing clothing.

Their campaign ad helps to make the point that a woman is never, ever responsible for being raped. Never. Not if she is drunk, not if she has said yes before, not if she said yes to your friend, not if she is naked in the street.

Their website is a good source of information, and also has posters available for download, and details of a national helpline.

As I learned on my first ever Reclaim the Night march,

“Whatever we wear, wherever we go,

yes means yes and no means no”.

Comments From You

Laurel Dearing // Posted 2 July 2010 at 12:28 pm

why does it seem SO unlikely just a few miles down in england?

A J // Posted 2 July 2010 at 1:43 pm

It’s a fine message, but I’m really not sure this advert gets it across terribly well, to be honest.

Part of the problem with it for me is that it seems (whether intentionally or not) to be aimed more at women than men, which seems to be rather missing the point.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 2 July 2010 at 8:01 pm

This new website does focus on challenging men’s pseudo sex right to women but unfortunately the advertisement yet again focuses on women’s actions and behaviour.

I am certain many viewers will ‘gloss over’ the interaction concerning woman purchasing a “rape skirt” and instead claim ‘see women must not wear provocative clothing because this is what causes men to rape them.

A more compelling advertisement would be focusing on men and their pseudo justifications for raping women. Just have a man ogling a woman as she consumes alcohol and the man saying ‘I can get away with raping her because she is drinking and I know my chances of being charged with rape are zero. After all raping women who drink alcohol is so easy and society condones my actions. It is never rape when I force myself on a drunken woman ‘cos she shouldn’t drink should she?’

A J // Posted 3 July 2010 at 8:06 am

Actually, looking at the website, that’s even worse. And not just in terms of the sparkly blue sequin background!

Really what on earth is the point of campaign like this which seems to be targeted almost entirely at women?! There doesn’t seem to be any real attempt to change views among men at all. In fact, it doesn’t really seem remotely interested in men. It’s just effectively women talking to themselves. Hardly money well spent in terms of actually stopping rape.

In fact, like Jennifer Drew, I think even just on it’s own terms, the advert isn’t exactly clear in putting across it’s message. I wouldn’t be surprised if what some women took from it was: ‘Don’t wear the rape skirt!’

Tallulah // Posted 3 July 2010 at 10:26 am

Actually, I can understand the idea of aiming the campaign at women. I think there needs to be a strong message hammered home to women that they are not to blame for rape – even to underscore that when you think about it and remove all the mainstream misogynistic guff, this is a ridiculous notion – and I think this is what the campaign is trying to get across.

@Jennifer Drew – I get what you’re saying about focussing on men and having a bloke say something like ‘I can rape her now, I won’t get charged etc’ but if you’re going to go down the line of viewers missing the point then I think you can say equally that plenty of men would watch an advert like that and think they could get away with raping a drunk woman because ‘she shouldn’t drink should she?’ and there are such low conviction rates.

I definitely understand the need to target men and focus on their culpability. But, I think targetting women to say ‘You are never to blame’ is *so* important. Is equally important. Because after all it is the woman who needs to live with the trauma and she needs to know it was not her fault. There is no such thing as an ambiguous rape, and while sex ‘takes two’ rape ‘takes one.’

There is an issue here too that unfortunately, the blameless woman concept is totally bonafide in feminist circles, but it isn’t in mainstream society (clearly, as this is what the campaign is responding to). It’s easy as a feminist to say that the campaign should be aimed at men but there is a serious amount of education to be done to reassure women outside of feminist circles that despite what some vile people say, rape is never the woman’s fault.

An important campaign I reckon.

CMK // Posted 3 July 2010 at 12:23 pm

I think this advert works at what it is trying to do – which is to get the message across that what a women wears/does is never an invitation to rape.

How many times have we heard sexual offenders blame the victim, they were asking for it, they really wanted it and so on? When sex offenders hear other people say she wore/did XYZ therefore she’s at fault that makes it easier for the sex offenders to justify to themselves their offences. The fewer people endorsing the view the better.

It is sensible to make sure that general society understands that victim blaming is wrong as that will hopefully help reduce the number of rapes.

earwicga // Posted 3 July 2010 at 1:54 pm

I think this is a great advert. Anything that challenges rape myths is very welcome!

Sandy Brindley, national coordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland is interviewed here about the campaign: http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2010/06/30/14503-rape-crisis-scotland-co-ordinator-discusses-new-campaign-strategy/

Minty // Posted 3 July 2010 at 5:41 pm

I seriously think this advert is fantastic. Regardless of who it is meant to be aimed at it’s clear message is about the fact that rape victims are not to blame and that message needs to strongly and consistently put out there. Other ads can be made to challenge, question and discuss other aspects of gendered violence, after all if you only have a 30 second ad hammering home one point successfully is better than skimming over many and failing.

Well done for an ad which puts the London minicab adverts to absolute shame.

Sarah // Posted 4 July 2010 at 2:59 pm

This is absolutely a great advert. I think the message is resoundingly clear, ‘not ever’. I don’t really think it’s targetted at potential rapists so much as wider society (potential jurors)’s attitudes towards what really constitutes raping someone.

Zae // Posted 5 July 2010 at 3:59 am

This is a perfect advertisement. I wish it would air in the states. I’m not sure why anyone thinks it’s aimed at women- to me, it seems obvious this organization is talking directly to confused men who mistakenly believe a woman would keep a supply of rape-me ensembles in her closet.

Brandon // Posted 5 July 2010 at 7:43 am

…Really? In Europe, which is much more liberal and tolerant of sexual liberty than the U.S., there’s still a large number of folks in Scotland who think women should be blamed for being raped??

Sounds to me like radical feminist propaganda, as usual. Link me to this “Scottish gov’t survey” or tell me what it was called, if it even exists. I don’t justify rape ever, but saying “The woman asked for it” rather than “She was partly responsible” are not equivalents. Feminists love to do this kind of misrepresentation.

Of course no one asks to be raped! Only a fool would think that. But I think the Scottish survey results are just a little more complex than that organization claims. And let’s think about it for a second: If she was irresponsible to get drunk (or not watch as someone drugs her drink), which increases her chances of lowering her inhibitions and getting raped, she’s not partly responsible in a scenario like that?

It doesn’t absolve the rapist of guilt, but come on, people. No one “blames” rape victims! But we do put differing situations in context. It’s a common human mental tool. Learn how to use it, instead of this absolutist bullshit. A woman drunk at a bar with a horny guy is not the same as walking on a street corner.

Brandon // Posted 5 July 2010 at 7:47 am

Saying “Women should be on the lookout in risky situations to minimize their chances of rape” is NOT the same as saying “If she IS raped, she asked for it.” It would be madness to conflate the 2! But in risky or dangerous situations, even if you’re not at fault, you should still be careful and take precautions. Telling women “Don’t do anything to minimize your risk” is as stupid as telling students in sex ed “You don’t need condoms. Just pull out.”

Philippa Willitts // Posted 5 July 2010 at 9:25 am

Brandon,

A woman getting drunk does *not* make her responsible, even partly, for getting raped. Nor does not watching her drink constantly in case someone drugs it. If someone drugs her drink then rapes her, it is entirely his fault and responsibility. Entirely!

You say ‘noone blames rape victims’ but it sounds like that is exactly what you are doing!

Holly Combe // Posted 5 July 2010 at 2:40 pm

I don’t justify rape ever, but saying “The woman asked for it” rather than “She was partly responsible” are not equivalents.

According to thesaurus.com and yourdictionary.com, “to blame” and “guilty” are both synonyms for “responsible”. This is also reflected in the Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus.

Apportioning even part of the blame for a rape to the person who has been raped seems a long way off from “not justifying rape ever” to me. It may not be as strongly worded as saying “she asked for it” but it at least partly excuses the rapist from responsibility for actually committing the act. We all know nobody literally “asks” to be raped in the true sense of the word (that would be an oxymoron) but holding up that basic truth here seems purposely obtuse to me because it still remains that extreme assertions about a victim “asking for it” exist on the very same continuum of victim blaming as more subtle digs about “responsibility”, even if they aren’t exact “equivalents”.

Pragmatic advice might seem fine –even sensible- on the surface but I would say it tends to lead down the usual conservative road, where failing to jump through the apparently appropriate hoops in order to avoid rape makes the victim accountable for another person’s actions.

As Philippa says, a woman “drunk at a bar with a horny guy” is in exactly the same position as someone “walking on a street corner”. They both have a right to bodily autonomy and for sex to only happen with their consent. The first scenario does not somehow mean this has even “partly” been surrendered.

Maeve // Posted 5 July 2010 at 3:40 pm

If this is supposed to be a female-friendly space, why do comments such as Brandon’s even get published, let alone replied to with the consideration and politeness he is so unwilling to show?!

”Link me.” ”Tell me.” ”I think…” Guess what? I don’t care what people like this think, if they can actually demonstrate that they think at all. And I don’t want to see their dimwit spewings posted for anyone who’s been a victim of rape or sexual assault to read, or anyone who calls themselves feminist.

And can anyone who ever watches telly, goes online or just out of the house not know that girls and women are told at least several million times a day what precautions they should be taking to avoid rape?!

Come on, F-word. Delete this knobhead, and not me for calling him his rightful name.

Maria // Posted 5 July 2010 at 3:52 pm

I’ve just re-read the F-word blog rules, which makes me even more amazed that Brandon’s comments made it on to the thread.

Philippa Willitts // Posted 5 July 2010 at 5:42 pm

I’m sorry to have upset some people by publishing Brandon’s comments.

Because I immediately responded to hir, expressing exactly why women are never to blame for being raped, I thought this would make it clear that, just because the comments was published, in no way meant that I, or The F Word, endorsed what was said.

With many, many comments here we have tough decisions to make about whether to allow them through or not. Whichever line we draw, and wherever we draw it, will attract criticism and praise.

And I am not going to apologise for having been a bit polite. I was angry at what Brandon said, but I felt that responding in fury would be counterproductive in terms of any actual discussion or persuasion going on, so rather than reacting in a way that would have provoked defensiveness, I tried to react firmly but clearly. There are times for yelling, and the moment of writing that reply didn’t feel like one of them.

Jackie // Posted 6 July 2010 at 8:25 am

I think this is a great advert, it shows how absurd it is to think a woman makes the choice to wear something, that will get them raped.

I am conflicted about something however. I saw a girl wearing pants at a concert a long while back, that said “f**k me!” on them. I don’t think it’s asking for rape, but I mean…it’s a bit much you know.

Jane // Posted 6 July 2010 at 1:02 pm

A young man was recently raped in Ipswich. Here’s the link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/suffolk/10502334.stm

The attack took place ‘in the early hours of Saturday morning at the Alderman Road recreation ground in Ipswich’ and another man of 21 has recently been arrested and bailed.

So far I’ve read nothing about the ‘attractiveness’ of the victim, nor anything about what he was wearing or his ‘foolishness’ for being in a deserted recreation ground in the early hours of the morning.

Horry // Posted 6 July 2010 at 4:14 pm

I wonder if people like Brandon actually think through what rape is? Having sex with someone who isn’t consenting isn’t something you can just mistakenly wander into. What goes through the head of someone who’s doing that? How could anything at all which preceded the attack make the victim in any way responsible? It makes me wonder what the experiences of sex of many of those who pay lip service to

universal disgust at rape really are. Brandon’s comment is valuable at least insofar as it makes the ultimate acceptability of sexual abuse really obvious.

Sheila // Posted 6 July 2010 at 5:20 pm

@jackie

If you look at the Rapists urged not to rape thread, you can see I picked up on same Ipswich story too.

Laura // Posted 6 July 2010 at 8:06 pm

For those people like Brandon who say that a woman is “partially responsible” if she’s raped while drunk at a party: I’ve been drunk at parties before. So have some of my friends. I’ve never been raped while drunk at a party. Some of my friends have. What was the difference? Not my behavior. Not their behavior. IT IS THE FACT THAT THERE WERE NO RAPISTS AT THE PARTIES I WENT TO. Tell me, then, how it’s my friends’ fault that they were raped, while I wasn’t.

Shea // Posted 6 July 2010 at 9:47 pm

@Brandon – of course a woman is partly responsible for being raped……..the way that murder victims are partly responsible for being murdered. Like say the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, if they hadn’t pissed off and ignored their fellow student, they would be alive today. I’m not saying they are responsible but they are partly responsible……….they could have done more to prevent his rage fuelled destruction.

Can you not see the vileness and absurdity of such an argument? You are shifting the blame onto unwitting and innocent people, who have no responsibility or obligation to prevent the random destructive, sadistic and cruel behaviour of another person.

The only difference between the woman drunk at the bar and the woman walking the street and the woman who is raped, is the presence of the rapist. Nothing else. You are demanding that women predict the behaviour of extremely manipulative, sometimes violent and frequently dangerous people, even though the police, psychologists, probabtion officers and judges along with a host of other trained individuals have failed to do this.

I might demand of you the same. Do tell me when and where the next terrorist attack is going to happen, won’t you? Because if, just if, you or your family get caught up in it, you will be partially responsible for not knowing better, and using a different form of transport, won’t you.

@Jackie -“I am conflicted about something however. I saw a girl wearing pants at a concert a long while back, that said “f**k me!” on them. I don’t think it’s asking for rape, but I mean…it’s a bit much you know.”

No it isn’t. I saw a group of naked men at a park in Berlin last weekend. I didn’t once think “its a bit much”. I thought, different cultural values and ideas and that I should respect that – oh and also, its probably none of my business how they want to dress, or not.

Philippa Willitts // Posted 6 July 2010 at 9:54 pm

who have no

responsibility or obligation to prevent the random destructive,

sadistic and cruel behaviour of another person. The only difference between the woman drunk at the bar and the woman walking the street and the woman who is raped, is the presence of the rapist.

What Shea said!

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