Caroline J. sent in a link to an anti-rape campaign in Scotland title This Is Not an Invitation to Rape Me. The campaign includes various posters with commentary on the myths associated with them. Some examples of the posters (the second one might not be safe for work, so after the jump):


The text from the website:

Myth: a woman raped after consuming alcohol is to blame for not considering her own security.


Text from website:

Myth: a woman raped whilst wearing revealing clothing is to blame for leading a man on.


Website text:

Myth: a woman raped after consenting to any level of sexual activity is to blame for ‘giving mixed signals’.

It’s not clear that the posters have any text with them except on the website; here is a link to the posters themselves, and there’s no text. Here are postcards, and they also don’t have any text.

The messages are, of course, that drinking, wearing revealing clothing, or being intimate with someone doesn’t mean a woman deserves to be raped.

Caroline pointed out a comment made on the website:

One (male) commenter on the site picked up on what I found interesting about the images: their titillation factor. The commenter writes, “I find this campaign shocking…posting educational billboards of the topic rather than suggestive and almost pornographic pictures of women would be a more sensible and less insulting approach.”

I don’t think of the images as “pornographic,” but I do think the question is valid: are these likely to change anyone’s beliefs about rape? They do address a number of beliefs people often have–that a woman shouldn’t have gotten drunk if she didn’t want to have sex, etc. But they do seem sensationalistic. On the one hand, they would get your attention. But are they effective at what they’re aiming to do?

I guess part of my skepticism is about this type of anti-rape campaign in general. Maybe I’m being really cynical or mistaken, but somehow I can’t imagine a person going “oh, I always thought if a woman was dressed provocatively I could force her to have sex with me, but now I see I’m wrong.”

I dunno. Do you think the majority of people looking at this ad campaign would get the take-away message (and care about it)? Or are they just going to go “ooooh, nipples!”?

UPDATE: Reader nakedthoughts says,

The benefit of these signs it they are addressing everyone in the culture.  It may not stop particular rapists, but it may be a step towards reducing victim blaming. Which then in turn holds rapists responsible, which helps us move away from a rape culture.

I think that’s a good point–if these posters led juries, for instance, to be less likely to blame victims in court, or make people in general less likely to blame women, then rapists would be held more accountable and women would be more likely to come forward and report them.

For other forms of activism people have questioned (and I’m leaving out PETA, because all their campaigns are questionable), see Angry Green Girl, “starving African kids,” high heels as activism, stop smoking and get laid, “blasphemous” Italian anti-rape poster, Tila Tequila cares about human rights, get rid of immigrants for the sake of the environment, the white woman’s burden, appropriating American Indian identities for the environment, stay in school campaign, Spanish anti-genital-cutting posters, and opposing animal cruelty by showing domestic violence.