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Women's Issues

Woman Gives Anti-Drinking Poster A Much Needed Revamp To Omit All The Victim Blaming

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National Health Service England released a set of “Know Your Limits” posters years ago, sending the message that people need to be aware of their limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Fine – it’s a good enough effort to warn people about the dangers of alcohol. The campaign just took a bad turn with an image of a passed out woman and text that read, “One in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking.” If you ever wondered what victim-blaming looks like, just take a gander at this poster:

Woman Gives Anti Drinking Poster A Much Needed Revamp To Omit All The Victim Blaming o NHS 570 jpg

I know there are those who feel that woman should be educated on the dangers of not having their wits about them. Yes, I’m sure we all agree it’s necessary to be aware of your surroundings – especially when impaired. But the frequency with which women are blamed for being victims of crimes because they weren’t conscious or didn’t have the physical agency to stop those crimes from happening is mind-blowing. A drunk woman has not given someone permission to rape her. Just like someone who was passed out wouldn’t be consenting to being stabbed or robbed. No one ever makes the argument that male victims of violent crimes or theft had it coming because they were drunk, though.

The British blogger behind the site Two-Thirds Nerd took matters into her own hands when she became disgusted by the above image. She re-designed the poster, addressing attackers instead of victims:

Woman Gives Anti Drinking Poster A Much Needed Revamp To Omit All The Victim Blaming Bt7u7mMIIAANjkR jpg

When we point out the problem with posters like this, we aren’t making a big deal out of nothing – like some would attest. It is the subtle, ever-present, pervasive imagery that burrows into our psyches. It is messages like these that are responsible for the persistence of our problem with rape culture. To say that a woman shouldn’t drink or get drunk because she may make herself a victim of sexual assault is to completely remove the responsibility from her attacker. It says, “if only you behaved better, maybe that wouldn’t have happened to you.” That message is damaging, it’s wrong, and it’s bullshit. Kudos to @neverjessie for pointing it out.

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