Edmonton anti-rape group’s poster campaign co-opted

‘Just because you regret a one night stand…’ say copycats

by Josh Dehaas

A "Don't be that girl" poster (@inews880)

An edgy marketing campaign developed at the University of Alberta that aims to prevent sexual assault by focusing on changing the behaviour of perpetrators (usually men) rather than victims (usually women) has been co-opted by someone or some group trying to shift the blame back to women.

Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton, a coalition that fights rape, designed the “Don’t be that guy” social marketing campaign. Their materials have blunt messages like, “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k,” and, “It’s not sex when she’s wasted. Sex with someone unable to consent = sexual assault.” They’re seen as so effective that they’ve been used in campaigns as far away as Australia.

The copycat posters say things like, “Just because you regret your life choices, doesn’t mean it’s rape. Don’t be that girl,” and, “Just because you regret a one-night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Don’t be that girl.” One shows a woman with a cocktail.

Lise Gotell, Chair of Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Alberta and SAVE member, says the “upsetting” copycat posters showed up in downtown Edmonton and on campus this weekend.

“It’s really problematic that a social marketing campaign meant to prevent rape has been perverted in this way,” she says.

Gotell says the anonymous counter-campaigners are, “perpetuating this myth that false allegations are widespread when they’re not.” She says research generally puts the rate of false allegations between two and eight per cent. One recent study from Britain showed it’s under one per cent.

A genuine "Don't be that guy" poster (SAVE)

Sexual assault, on the other hand, is a widespread and very under-reported crime, in part because women fear they won’t be believed or because the justice system won’t support them, says Gotell.

The “Don’t be that guy” campaign focused on the impact of drinking on sexual assault and the “Don’t be that girl” posters also reference alcohol.

“It’s very common behaviour for young men to use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault,” says Gotell. “This is still understood to be a normal kind of behaviour and that’s very problematic.”

Women drink too, “but it’s problematic to be focused on the behaviour of victims,” she says.

“Women are sexually assaulted in their nighties, in their sleep, in their gym clothes, when they’re drinking and when they’re not drinking,” she adds. “Focusing on women’s behaviour effects gender equality, because we’ve been so focused on women’s behaviour.”

SAVE will meet Monday to decide what course of action to take if the perpetrators are caught.




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Edmonton anti-rape group’s poster campaign co-opted

  1. Such hypocrisy from the feminists!

    It’s okay for them to put up posters saying that men sometimes rape, but they get upset when someone puts up posters saying that women sometimes lie about rape.

    It seems they don’t like balance or facts.

    • If you read the article (and many, many other reports on this topic) you’ll see that false accusations have been shown to be very rare. A balanced view requires that one weigh the relative importance of the facts and opinions under discussion, not present opposing views equally if they do not have the same factual basis.

    • I find it very troubling to see they way you understand ‘balance’ and ‘facts’ in this instance.

      The reason for the original SAVE campaign is a culture that normalizes and perpetuates rape and sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault are constant occurrences affecting human beings at a rate that is incredibly disproportionate to instances of false accusations. It is a proven reality that many women who are victims of sexual abuse do not come forward to seek justice and retribution because they are afraid people will think they are lying. It is a fact that many women are raped in situations where alcohol is involved. It is a fact that women are victims of sexual abuse. The SAVE posters were meant to begin to help balance out these facts and the gendered inequality they are indicative of (also known as patriarchy, folks).

      The first step to creating balance is recognizing where there is privilege and disadvantage. The fact that people actually felt the need to make these parody posters demonstrates the incredible amount of ignorance of male privilege and rape culture – a deeply ingrained lack of balance – that characterize our society. The fact that so many others feel the need to defend these parody posters using arguments of equality and balance demonstrates how engrained gendered inequality really is. It highlights the fact that awareness about male privilege and sexual abuse needs to be raised. It highlights the extent to which these troubling realities are currently being normalized.

      The original SAVE posters are necessary because many people have problematic definitions of rape; many men and women do not understand what types of actions really are rape and sexual abuse; many people do not really do not think that rape is wrong; many victims of sexual abuse think that this experience was invited by them. These troubling ideas are most often utilized and perpetuated by ‘THAT guy’ targeted in the poster.

      That guy is a product of our Canadian society. And the posters are aiming to change our society for the better. They are not blaming men for rape culture or painting all men as violators. They are asking men to play a role in challenging sexual violence, rape, and yes, patriarchy. The parody posters , on the other hand, are retrenching ideas that perpetuate these things. They are the result of the failure to recognize, identify, and understand patriarchy and privilege… they contribute to a culture that blames victims and normalizes rape.

      If you are offended by the original SAVE posters perhaps some careful self-reflection and critical evaluation of your own actions and privilege is necessary.

  2. Wait….so it’s ok to look at men’s drinking, but not at women’s?

    Drinking leads to lowered inhibitions and people of either gender who do it to excess put themselves in danger of all kinds of bad things happeneing to them.

    You can’t claim that men get women drunk to assault them, and then claim women’s drinking is not relevant to the issue.

  3. The problem with the original posters is that they stigmatise and vilify men as a group in order to change the behaviour of a small minority. No one (thank goodness!) would put up posters showing a criminal with the caption: “don’t be that black guy”. No one (thank goodness!) would put up posters showing a criminal’s single mother household saying: “don’t be that single mum”. These are offensive, and so is generalising about all men.

    The statements in this article are misleading imho. That the original campaign has also been used in Australia might say more about our willingness to vilify men than the effectiveness of the posters. The studies mentioned regarding the prevalence of false rape allegations are also not reliable. They simply use the percentage of rape allegations that are proven false by police, or those where the accuser recants. But it’s entirely possible that some false accusers never recant, and can’t be proven to be lying. These cases would be counted as genuine rape allegations in the studies, meaning that they underestimate the likelihood of an allegation being false.

    Rape is a very serious problem and I strongly support efforts to help keep everyone safe, no matter who they are. But I will never condone campaigns that vilify one segment of society based on the actions of a small minority. And news sites like this need to make people more aware of male rape victims: although never reported, many studies now show men are far more often victims than we’ve been led to believe. To give one example of many in closing, a major international study of college students found identical rates of sexual victimisation amongst male and female students, see link below.

    http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

    • “The studies mentioned regarding the prevalence of false rape allegations are also not reliable. They simply use the percentage of rape allegations that are proven false by police, or those where the accuser recants.”

      Actually, it’s my understanding that studies don’t exist on false accusations, and when looking at other studies, recantations and failed convictions aren’t counted as false accusations, they are counted as real rapes that failed to convict. And given the hostility directed at anyone who dares to suggest false accusations happen (as demonstrated in the response to this poster campaign, it’s no wonder politician’s aren’t willing to fund any such studies (it doesn’t help that the ministery for the status of women Canada have the power to vet or dismiss any study involving Gender from passing between ministries).

  4. It’s very common behaviour for young men to use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault

    And it’s just a common for young women to use alcohol to facilitate sexual promiscuity.

    You don’t get to wake up after a night off too much rum and very poor decision making and hold someone else criminally liable for your actions.

    Are women children who must be watched over every second, or adults with agency and responsibility?

    <a href="http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/22/54/"You weren't raped, you're a whore

  5. Maybe we are looking too closely at who is or isn’t vilified in the poster. Maybe they are just saying to any male…make sure that both you and the female are cognisent of what you are getting into!
    Women need to just as aware of what is going on.

  6. In the space of half an hour, I conducted a number of searches on the internet regarding instances of false accusations of rape. Below is a list of ten separate instances (I found more) where the accused was definitively found to be innocent. Some of these men were wrongfully imprisoned as a result of the lies told about them.

    If in the space of half an hour an interested person can find (more than) 10 CONFIRMED instances of false rape accusations, using nothing other than a google search engine, it is obvious that false rape accusations are a serious problem in western culture. People who say that false rape accusations are rare are lying.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337676/Former-baseball-star-Jose-Canseco-cleared-rape-claim-Las-Vegas-police-close-case.html

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/25/11877259-california-high-school-football-star-cleared-of-rape-10-years-later?lite

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1292055/Student-jailed-rape-claim-invented-extension-course-work.html

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/07/05/Woman-jailed-for-false-rape-charge-against-cab-driver/UPI-23231372999200/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10140992/Soldier-tells-how-his-life-was-ruined-after-woman-he-tried-to-comfort-accused-him-of-rape.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204712/Woman-falsely-claimed-raped-men-regretted-having-sex-jailed-years.html

    http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/uk-woman-makes-eight-false-rape-accusations-and-gets-no-jail-time/

    http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2973758&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1

    http://forums.shoryuken.com/discussion/180375/woman-jailed-after-five-false-rape-allegations

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/07/09/5553262/sex-video-clears-men-accused-of.html

    • Underreporting is also a serious issue in Canada. There are thousands of women and men who are victimized that will not accuse. I’m not saying false accusations are not a problem, but that the WHOLE IDEA of it is wrong.

      If no one ever raped, there would be no for false accusations.

      The original posters should incorporate all genders, but they are not saying that a little drink makes you unable to consent. When the person is absolutely shit faced and has those drunk eyes on, and the other person does not, THAT PERSON IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE FIRST. It is NOT right to do anything sexual with that person when they are at that state because that is not consent. It just isn’t.

      So, don’t be that girl, that guy, that person that takes advantage of the drunken state of another person. It’s wrong.

  7. Gender feminists, like Lise Gotell, fear any challenge to their narrative – a collection of lies (1 in 4), fallacies (patriarchy theory) and slogans (‘all men are rapists’/'women never lie about rape’). They always opt for censorship over honest discussion and debate.

    Men do not rape – only rapists rape. Plastering the Western world with posters implying that all men are responsible for rape is an act of hatred and bigotry. Rapists will never be deterred from committing their crimes because of some poster, and feminists know this. The purpose of the posters has always been to demonize men as default/potential rapists, which is as offensive as it is untrue. Feminists know that, too.

    It is Ms Gotell who ‘perverted’ her propaganda campaign by infusing it with her anti-male ideology. Edmonton Men’s Rights simply called her on it, and revealed her arrogant dismissal of both male victims of rape and false rape accusations. No number of hastily strung together lies, fallacies and slogans can hide this glaring fact. Feminists are their own worst enemies

    • Could these posters not stop someone that doesn’t know that it is sexual assault to have any kind of sex with someone that is too intoxicated?

      I do agree with you on one point though, these posters should have included other genders and other types of relationships. There are a couple I’ve seen that have these different scenarios and I believe they are effective.

  8. I think both posters have validity. There are definitely cases of men taking advantage of drunk women, and also vice versa; and there are undeniably cases where either of the parties involved lie about it and use the legal system for revenge ( which can ruin a person’s life equally as horrible as sexual assault ). I’m glad to see so many posts here in support of the spin-off posters, to see that people can see the big picture here :)

    • What do you think a person that has been assaulted in this manner would think about the spin-off posters? Seems like a bit of victim blaming and has lead to many people (of any gender) to not report the crime. This has lead to other people being assaulted as well. Opinions?

      • I tend to agree with you that the spin-off posters would be hurtful and harmful. And I think the same about the original ones.

        Imagine a little boy seeing the original posters. He doesn’t know what sex, consent and rape are. He just sees that men are being bad, and his dad is being told not to hurt women.

        If we have women believe they can’t be mathematicians or political leaders, they won’t even try. If we have men believe they can’t be gentle and loving, what kind of men will we end up with?

  9. One major point that I noticed when I looked at the original poster for the “Don’t be that Guy’ it states:.

    “women who drink are not responsible for their actions, especially when it comes to sex”

    How the heck did that get approved. How narrow minded! What is this message they are saying to young women, that no matter what, if they are drunk, they are not responsible.

    I actually take a huge concern for the original one that seems to indicate that if a women is drunk she is not responsible for anything. Drinking and Driving is a huge concern in this country and that statement “women who drink are not responsible for their actions” is quite concerning. Who would approve such a comment?

    Then take that statement and swap in men for women

    “men who drink are not responsible for their actions, especially when it comes to sex

    Does that not strike a cord? I can fully understand a backlash against the original poster. So if men are drunk, they are not responsible.

    Man or Woman, you are responsible for your actions when you choose to drink. Feminists have to realize that women have to be just as responsible as men for their actions, sober or drunk.

    Canadian laws have to be changed and the original poster is actually more offensive. This new poster only states the obvious, if you had a one night stand that was consensual, it was consensual.

    • I agree, women are responsible; however, when either person is too drunk to be able to consent, and the other takes advantage of that, that is called sexual assault. Plain and simple.

      These posters are not trying to say that a little tipsy, don’t have sex, they’re saying that shitfaced drunk? Don’t take advantage.

      I do think these posters should be about all genders and relationships. Not only women are raped, and it is sexist and ignorant to have posters stating otherwise. Maybe this campaign did have some that aren’t presented in the article.

  10. “SAVE will meet Monday to decide what course of action to take if the perpetrators are caught.”

    Making a poster for saying “don’t be that girl” makes them a perpetrator? Who do they think they are? the police? Wow what self entitlement this group has. I bet they have no clue as to how insulting and how sexist their words and campaigns are.

    Just another note in how unbalanced our society is…..

    Rape is wrong! and lying about rape is wrong too. There is nothing wrong about saying that.

  11. BOTH posters have validity. Clearly women should be accountable for their actions (whether drinking and not,) but so should men. The tagline “Don’t Be That Guy” should not have been used, but the message the poster promotes is an important one for both genders. Don’t blame others for your actions, but also don’t take advantage of someone who has placed themselves in a bad situation.

    Sadly, horrific events like Steubenville continue to happen, and the media often focuses more on the behaviour of the female victim than the male rapist. Yes, the victim should be accountable for their behaviour, but it certainly doesn’t mean that she deserves to be raped by a group of men and have it broadcast online. I think we can all agree that no one, no matter how drunk they are, deserves to have that happen.

    Our society needs to have a frank, open discussion about our perceptions towards rape. I applaud the creators of both posters for getting us talking about an uncomfortable, but incredibly important, issue.

    • I agree with you and would also welcome a frank and open discussion about rape in our society. In addition to what you said, I’d add that we all need to talk in a way that doesn’t alienate or disrespect others. Many men, like myself, wish we could talk about gender issues more often but feel as though we’re excluded or demonised or our feelings dismissed.

      We need to include female perpetrators of rape and abuse in the discussion. The link in my first post shows that men (like women) are victimised by (other) women more often than the public appreciates or wants to believe. And we need to look at how male rape victims are portrayed too. Hopefully we can *avoid* campaigns like the following:

      “Just because he’s underage, doesn’t mean he got lucky. Don’t be that woman.”

      “Just because he’s in prison, doesn’t mean it’s funny. Don’t be that comedian.”

  12. If someone lies about rape in Canada, they can be prosecuted. Stats from outside of Canada are, I would argue, useless when discussing cases within Canada for this very reason – particularly when citing cases in the UK.

    There is a very real problem in this country of victim blaming. Has everyone forgotten the case of Raetah Parsons so soon? She was assaulted, shamed by her peers for being drunk enough to “allow herself” to be assaulted, and bullied to the point of suicide.

    Remember Raehteh, and then tell me that the original campaign educating the public on what constitutes sexual assault isn’t completely necessary. Then come back and tell me that these men in Edmonton are perfectly justified in feeling themselves wronged. This campaign was never meant as a sweeping condemnation of all men – it was meant to educate a public which OBVIOUSLY NEEDS IT.

    One more thing: rural communities in Canada still go without basic services required to report a rape. Like hospital staff trained in collecting DNA using rape kits. Why? because provincial governments look at statistics, see that these areas do not have a high number of reported rapes, and so therefore do not feel like they can “justify the funds” to pay for the training of the staff that would be needed. I live in one of these rural communities, and the women here have been fighting for basic services like this for almost 10 years.

    Excuse me, Mens Rights of Edmonton, if I fail to feel any sympathy for your misplaced sense of injured pride.

    • I don’t agree that the original campaign was “completely necessary” because there might have been other posters that were equally or more effective that didn’t vilify men. Victim-blaming is a terrible thing and I want to help but I won’t accept that we need to demonise men in order to address it. Not least because women victim-blame other women too. It’s not just men who are doing this.

      The intention behind the original campaign is less important than the effect it had. If men feel offended, that matters in and of itself. However, I do feel that it was their intention all along to vilify men. The creators of the original poster campaign have this to say about their intent (see link below):

      “The behaviour of men, including the sense of entitlement in regards to sex and access to women’s bodies is what is being challenged through this campaign. Don’t Be That Guy is urging men to end rape.”

      They seem to believe that raping women is just what men do unless you tell them not to. They don’t talk about some men, or a few men. Instead they say this is what men do.

      Finally, I wish you hadn’t included your final paragraph. If we’re to have a good faith dialogue about rape and sexual abuse, we need to be inclusive and try to understand where others are coming from, even when we find their views frustrating. Men are constantly told to talk about their feelings but then dismissed when they do so. And just for the record, I know I sometimes am a hypocrite and don’t do this myself, so we all have to be aware of this, including me.

      http://www.theviolencestopshere.ca/dbtg.php

  13. “It’s very common behaviour for young men to use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault,” says Gotell. “This is still understood to be a normal kind of behaviour and that’s very problematic.”

    This is so offensive it goes beyond trolling. The sexual assault industry perpetuated by people like Lise Gotell needs to be defunded before what little rapport exists between men and women is completely obliterated.

  14. The problem lies with the ammount of power you give a woman when she cries “rape”.

    In these cases they make it so the accused has to prove innocence. How can this make any sense? If youre accusing someone you should be the one able to present proof.

    How can one persons saying be valued more than someone’s else in court? Is that equality? Really?

    The way it is now, all a woman has to do is point a finger and cry RAPE, and BAM you destroyed an innocents life.

    These kind of draconic laws have to go, I am sorry. Do I have to live my life with a 24 hour camera on when I am around women now?

    People only think about the rape victims, at the probable expense of a couple million innocent men’s lives. Think about that, in rape accusations, the man’s name is always released to the public (BEFORE HE IS EVEN PROVED GUILTY…. eeer sorry, before HE has proven his innocence), and the supposed rape victim remain anonymous. Equality?

    Think about both parties.

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