It’s not that I don’t appreciate the effort, or the message. Or even the execution. This video is nothing if not triggering. (No, seriously, it’s really triggering. A warning.)
And I understand what they are trying to do. Yes, we should all look out for our mates, making sure they don’t get drunk and put themselves in risky situations. Yes, bar staff and bouncers have a responsibility. A legal one, in fact. And probably, yes, that message could do with being reinforced*.
But you know what message never gets reinforced? The Don’t Rape People one. It’s never reinforced, because that message doesn’t seem to exist. It seems a tacit assumption that everyone knows it. When in fact, given the statistics, a bunch of people don’t. Where’s that 8 minute ad? And, in fact, where is it in this ad?
Where are the guy’s friends, the stand up ones? The ones calling him out for being a predatory dick, for targetting the drunk girl? I know those guys exist, I’ve seen them. I know them. As much as we shouldn’t let our friends get raped, we shouldn’t be letting them rape, either.
And of course, there’s all the subtle messages – rape happens to drunk, young, slight, blond girls in short, tight dresses. If you happen to be a drunk, young, slight, blond girl, you should probably have a slightly frumpier friend to look out for you. And of, course, the way you could have avoided this happening would be to not get drunk. Men who rape are obvious by their black clothing and leering.
But we’re getting there. This ad is targetted at a specific event, and a specific audience. There’s not the implicit victim-blaming of the infamous Julie ad. But just once, I wish instead of this:
Wellington police district crime manager Detective Inspector Mike Arnerich said other people could play a big part in reducing sexual violence. A simple intervention was to overtly take a photo of any suspicious person or behaviour on a cellphone camera: it might make them think again about pursuing an attack. “One of the big things is looking after your mates.”
it could go: “Mike Arnerich said people could play a big part in reducing sexual violence, by understanding what it is and not committing it. And stopping other people from committing it. We’re going to use this new campaign to really focus on criminals, and what we can do to prevent them hurting people.”
* Though, to be honest, I am not sure about that. Maybe I am just an extra-good friend, but I have always done this. I’ve always kept an eye on the people I am out with.