A recent ad campaign by an alcohol control organization, Control Tonight, was pulled by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. The advertisement sought to bring attention to the impaired judgement caused by drinking, but caused a major upset for its more blatant message.
The main text in the advertisement, “She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say no,” implies that the girl in the photograph was not taken advantage of sexually because she didn’t not give consent. To clarify that last sentence, what critics of the advertisement argue is that it’s implied this girl was at fault for what happened to her. When a person does not give consent to a sexual act, any further action is inherently rape. This anti-drinking advertisement seems to disagree.
In the smaller text, Control Tonight says that the subject of the ad “made a bad decision” to go home with a stranger because she was drunk. To be clear, the only bad decision was made by the person who took advantage of her vulnerability. The ad seems to say that no one should ever be vulnerable because anything bad that happens to them will be their own fault. This could not be more false. This shifts the blame of the rapist to the victim, which happens too commonly in our society.
The advertisement in itself is uncomfortable to look at because the subject has obviously been undressed involuntarily. If Control Tonight were to edit their message to alleviate the glaring victim-blaming in their campaign, the message could read something like “Intoxication is no excuse” or “Taking advantage of a drunk girl is no less wrong than taking advantage of a sober girl.”
What do you think about this advertisement? Do you think it should have been pulled?