Edmonton Ad Campaign Targets Rape Myths

by | December 1, 2010
filed under Feminism, Pop Culture

I love this new campaign from SAVE (Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton) working with the Edmonton Police, to target drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults, which were recently reported to be on the rise in Edmonton. The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign is targeted to males age 18-24 and uses direct statements to get the message across that date rape is not okay – that it’s a crime and will be treated as such by police.

The ads are jarring and a bit disturbing, like the one featuring a woman passed out on a couch surrounded by liquor bottles and the tagline: “Just because she isn’t saying no…Doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.” But I’d argue there’s no other effective way to get the message across. The statistics on these types of sexual assault are alarming and we still hear the same disgusting exuses. Too often date and acquaintance rapes are treated as less serious offenses than stranger rapes. Too often women are blamed for “asking for it” and this campaign puts the onus for date rape back where it belongs: on perpetrators.


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  • I have mixed feelings about this campaign. I do like that it targets behaviours rather than telling survivors how to avoid being raped. However, the frequent portrayals of the campaign as “finally telling men not to be rapists” is more than a little minimizing to male rape survivors. Further, it does give the impression that only men commit rape and that they are all going to be rapists unless taught otherwise. Consent campaigns are an improvement, but I take offense at the concept that I have to be taught not to be a rapist. When I was the age of the target demographic – I was being raped – by a woman who used alcohol she bought to drug me. I’m not a statistical anomaly, more than simply a deliberately ignored demographic. Consent is not a gender issue, regardless of how some may wish to paint it for their own purposes.

    The woman who raped me BOUGHT my drinks for me and spiked the second one before doing what she wanted and then blackmailing me into silence. Of course, I’ve been told by both men and women that I must have wanted it, was at fault for drinking with a woman I didn’t know, men can’t be raped, women can’t be rapists and every other victim-blaming tidbit you can think up.

    Someone never told my rapist “Don’t Be That Gal.” 20 years, countless panic attacks, years of lost sleep, and thousands of dollars in therapy bills could have been avoided if she’d cared about consent herself. How many women violate the consent of their partners regularly, only to get away with it because female on male rape is considered a big joke, or worse – that he was asking for it (i.e., erections = consent, men can’t be raped, men always want sex).

    Somedays I hate her and other days I reserve my stronger emotions for those who make excuses for people (not just men) who violate consent and do what they want, when they want, without regard to the damage they leave behind.

    • jarrahpenguin

      Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. It’s true that the idea that men can’t get raped leads to more stigma for survivors and probable under-reporting. I don’t think the campaign was meant to imply only women can be victims, but it’s definitely unfortunate that we don’t live in a society where all rapes are reported so we can better fight rape.