Local anti-victim-blaming posters

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Bodies, Politics, Sex & Sexuality, Sexual violence
Tags: ,

Trigger warning for rape, sexual assault and rape culture.

There are posters up on bus shelters around where I live. The Council appears to be doing a new anti-rape campaign; whether the posters are all of it I don’t know.

This is basically what it looks like, only white and green on a grey background;

[small font] The way she kissed me was just

[large font] ASKING FOR IT


[tiny font] Let’s stop the victim blaming. Rape. Sexual assault. [number]

There may have been a couple of words on the bottom line I’ve missed out, but I got the gist of it.

Now, fair play for not going into the stranger-in-the-bushes trope, and for explicitly condemning victim-blaming. In fact, this poster could have been all right. It wouldn’t have addressed the fact that non-women can be raped, but it could have been okay. If not for the font sizes.

When I first saw it, the words ASKING FOR IT were all I noticed as we went by in a car. I instantly thought no-one asks for it, what the hell, why are the Council victim-blaming? Then I thought, shit, I’m glad I’m not a sexual abuse survivor. I can imagine it being very triggering, especially to people who’ve been victim-blamed.

The words ‘let’s stop the victim-blaming,’ which is the whole goddarn point of the poster, needed to be actually readable from a car for this to have any effect, any usefulness. Otherwise, the whole point of the poster is lost and it becomes merely a triggering, ugly reminder of rape culture that would probably support it in the minds of those who already do prop up rape culture.

And yes, victim-blaming is terrible. It’s traumatic for the victim, it’s inexcusable, it’s despicable. I’m just left wondering whether they’ve produced a similar set of posters that are more along the lines of HEY, YOU – DON’T RAPE. IF YOU AREN’T GIVEN AN ENTHUSIASTIC YES, YOU ARE A RAPIST. Ending victim-blaming needs to be done. But so does ending rape.

  1. Dreki says:

    I think this is like those anti-smoking commercials that were probably designed to get people to start smoking. “Look, it’s anti victim blaming! (even though most people who see it will think that it’s pro-victim blaming)”

    • JKBC says:

      Yeah – it’s not going to be the best thing, whatever the aim was. I think it was official, so I’m hoping it wasn’t intended to be pro-victim blaming, but you never know and it’s certainly very easily interpretable as such.

  2. Uhg, good intentions poorly executed. Definitely a trigger, and from what it seems doesn’t provide any help or further information. A phone number to an abuse hotline, or even a website url would have helped this campaign a lot.

  3. nogendernovoice says:

    I wonder if they ran the image by any organisations that work with sexual abuse survivors for their input…

    • JKBC says:

      Almost certainly not. I can’t see how it would get approved if they had, and the local council are not known for their sensitivity or ability to listen to criticism.

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