Gauge your victim-blaming

// 8 December 2011

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A graphic of a poster which reads at the top It wouldn’t be Christmas without some victim-blaming posters, right?

Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Crimestoppers have launched a campaign to

“focus on reducing alcohol-related violent crime, other alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour by encouraging drinkers to consider how their behaviour changes when they drink to excess”

Chair of the Derbyshire Crimestoppers Board Ashok Kalia added,

“The main aim of this campaign is to stop alcohol-related violence happening in the first place, but if it does occur we want to make sure that the offenders are brought to justice”.

They also have a virtually identical poster where the word ‘victim’ is replaced by the word ‘violent’.

The problem isn’t just that it is telling people that if they are victimised when they are drunk, then they, quite simply, should have drunk less. It is also that because it directs the attention in rape prevention from rapists, it will be ineffectual, as nobody other than the person who commits a rape, can prevent that rape from happening.

The Sober – Tipsy – Violent posters could be appropriate. Warning men, in particular, that if they get really, really drunk, they may become violent and act in ways they shouldn’t, could have an effect on preventing violence. I don’t know whether it would, but I don’t have an objection to them trying.

The Sober – Tipsy – Victim posters, however, will have no effect at all on prevention of violence and sexual assault. Anybody can be a victim, anybody can be raped, regardless of whether they are drunk or sober. If somebody is very drunk there comes a point where they are unable to consent at all, so posters saying, “Don’t have sex with somebody who is so drunk they don’t know what they are doing or where they are” could also have a place.

“Don’t get drunk in case somebody else uses their own free will to abuse their power and hurt you, which of course they could equally do if you are sober and which, while we’re on the subject, is much more likely to happen in your own home by somebody you live with, again regardless of whether you have drunk wine or not. However, don’t get drunk, whatever you do, otherwise we will blame you for somebody else’s abusive actions” is how I would paraphrase this sadly all-too-prevalent message.

If you are raped, it is never your fault. Whether you are drunk, sober, on drugs, naked, covered in clothing from head to toe, at home, in the street, in an alleyway, at school, at work, in a car, walking home, in a taxi, not in a taxi, wearing a pony tail, whether you have consented before, or are a virgin, or a lesbian, or any other variation of behaviour or lifestyle.

Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Police should know better, and can be contacted here and here.

[The image is a graphic of a poster which reads at the top “Gauge Your Behaviour”. Below that is a gauge which goes from Sober to Tipsy to Victim. The text reads “Where will drinking put you?” and at the bottom are the logos of Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Crimestoppers.]

Comments From You

Stephanie Lord // Posted 8 December 2011 at 1:21 pm

No fear of them having posters that say “Sober – Tipsy – Rapist.”

Women are not attacked because they had one Bacardi Breezer too many, and this is the kind of nonsense that promotes that. Shame on Derbyshire Council.

LUVM // Posted 8 December 2011 at 1:24 pm

They might as well put ‘sober’, ‘tipsy’, ‘asking for it’.

Tesiro Inspired // Posted 8 December 2011 at 4:01 pm

Anyone who has been raped and is considering reporting it in this area will think twice even if they have not been drinking as with rape comes misplaced guilt anyway. This ill thought out campaign will simply reinforce the thought ‘perhaps I did something to make this happen to me’…

Jennifer Drew // Posted 9 December 2011 at 12:22 pm

More women blaming because we must never focus on the male perpetrators must we? Instead scapegoat women and claim ‘alcohol consumption’ is responsible for innumerable males raping women and girls. I wonder why we have laws making it a crime for males to rape females given women and girls are always held responsible for not ensuring their safety and not recognising the mythical male rapist from other ordinary normal males. After all the mythical rapist is easy to recognise since he always dresses in a dirty raincoat and has horns on his head.

Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Crimestoppers need to read this campaign initiative by Crime Prevention Ottawa because they recognise the male perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing male sexual violence against women and girls not the female victims.

I’ve sent this link to Derbyshire County Council et al and told them males are the ones responsible for committing male sexual violence against women and girls not ‘alcohol consumption.’ Women and girls are never responsible for a male(s) who choose to commit sexual violence against females but male supremacy has to maintain this fiction otherwise it upsets the menz.

theangrylobstress // Posted 13 December 2011 at 1:25 am

Not convinced by this. The Safer Derbyshire campaign is not about rape or about sexual violence, it is about people getting lagered-up and fighting one another. The campaign press release doesn’t mention rape or sexual violence, probably as a result of successful campaigns by feminists and allies who argued, quite properly, that rape victims shouldn’t be blamed for the crimes that they experience.

This campaign is about people who drink ten Stellas and then challenge the biggest lout in the pub to a fight, and get their skull cracked… and who are most definitely partly to blame for their predicament, though also deserving of support and sympathy.

Anyway… why see a message about rape where there isn’t one?

Philippa Willitts // Posted 13 December 2011 at 8:46 am

You saw it as a campaign against drunken fighting, when it doesn’t state that explicitly. Many others saw it as a campaign about sexual violence, and yes, it doesn’t state that explicitly either.

Whatever the actual aim of the campaign, it’s at least obvious that they were vague and left the potential to be misunderstood.

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