The Lady Garden

Tea and Strumpets

Who Are You?

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.

14 responses to “Who Are You?

  1. Sarah (@itamer) August 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Part of the problem is that guys don’t think they’re criminals for “having a go” so if Police said they were targeting criminals those guys wouldn’t listen.

    We need a message that says “you’re not getting lucky – you’re committing a crime”.

  2. Emma August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    The disappearance of this guy’s mate (he arrives at the pre-load and at the bar with another guy) REALLY bugs me. It would have been so easy to include bit with him taking the guy aside and saying, “Dude, wtf?”

    Also, yeah… very hard to picture this ad with the roles of the BFF and victim reversed, in terms of build, clothes, hair, etc. There was clearly a very firm unconscious idea of what a rape victim looks like, and that’s part of the problem they’re trying to combat.

  3. Beckie Alexander August 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    It eternally frustrates me that the stereotype of a rape victim is still perpetuated by the news media,when if they examined the statistics,they would find that it occurs across all ages from children to the elderly and the men that do it are young and old…
    lets get the real stats out there!


  4. Beckie Alexander August 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I get you Moz,again another stereotype that is commonly perpetuated. I guess women speak out about it more? Or is it that men as victims doesn’t get past the mainstream media and law enforcement?

    • Moz August 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      I’m sorry for the derail, but this seems like a particularly unfortunate time to be ignoring male victims of women.

      20 years ago the options for male victims were: a limited program for men raped by men (when being gay was “not technically illegal”); or harden up, loser. And we will not talk about the attitude of the self-proclaimed “Rape Crisis Centres”. From what I’ve heard recently there is now more emphasis on pushing men into the “stop hitting women” programs, which I suspect often further traumatises male victims (who perhaps could do with a “sometimes it’s ok to hit women” program).

      There is so much they could have done with this video to screw with people’s perceptions. Like, have the shady character turn round and call out his dodgy mate for trying to get the BFF alone/drunk. There should be enough footage for someone to remix and revoice it, if anyone feels so inclined.

      I’m vehemently in agreement with tallulah on the need for more of a focus on “don’t rape” and “get active consent” as the desirable messages. Obviously, to me that should be pushed at both sexes, but then you have the whole problem of that acknowledging women’s desire for sex. Which I think we desperately need, but expecting politicians to get behind that message is hard work. I’d love to see that as an extension of the “bad touch” programs in primary school, turning them into a “good touch” program for adolescents. I’m kinda pushing those ideas very gently in some of the poly events here, because IMO it needs to be explicit.

  5. Isabel August 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I felt that the young woman never once had any agency. Either she got raped or she got rescued – no one once asked her “what do you want?” or “how do you feel about this?”.

    • Emma August 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Is, that bothered me too. Particularly with the bouncer intervention, which it appeared would have been exactly the same if that was a woman with someone she DID want to sleep with.

      That said, the BFF does say to her in one, “I’m going home, do you want to go home?”

      • Isabel August 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

        Oh so she does – I guess that’s something then.

        Parts of that video did take me back to some of the times I’ve had consensual drunk-sex (where the decision making wasn’t always good but it was my own). Putting myself in the picture I would have appreciated a friend who said “are you sure” or “hey I’m getting a creepy vibe off this guy” but would not have thanked someone just wading in making assumptions.

        I love the idea of communal responsibility and looking out for each other but the emphasis has to go in the right place.

  6. MJ August 13, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I had a long chat with someone from The Wellingtonian about this — it was supposed to be an article about general misconceptions around rape and sexual violence, but we just happened to have the interview set up on the day the article you linked appeared on the front page of the Dominion, and so our conversation kind of segued a little bit. At the time, though, I hadn’t seen this video — just read the article.

    And I think this video has the right idea. I really, really do. But, again, we’re talking the “don’t get raped” game. And it would have been so easy — and very, very effective — to put that message in there. For someone to tell the guy, “She is too drunk to consent to you.” Or, as Emma said above, for his mate to pull him aside and ask him, “What the hell?”

    Unfortunately, we’re still talking about rape in terms of young, drunk, hot girls in short dresses. And even more unfortunately, I think a lot of people will look at this video and say, “Well, she was drunk, she was kissing him, she brought him back to her place, she didn’t say no…” So, another thing this video is lacking is the message of active consent. We really need to start pushing that more — that just because someone isn’t saying no, doesn’t mean they’re saying yes.

  7. ludditejourno August 15, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Hi Lady Gardeners and commentators,
    I haven’t blogged about this yet, but was heavily involved in developing it in my day job. Some of your points (not having his friends involved in addressing his behaviour, male victims, perpetrator responsibility) will be part of the ongoing campaign. The video is just one part of it, there are five radio ads which will be featuring on ZM, Classic Hits and RadioSport over the entire duration of the Rugby World Cup. Those radio ads, like the video, are set up to encourage people to step in if they see situations where alcohol may be effecting consent. Not take over, but check it out.
    I don’t agree the “interveners” in the video aren’t checking with her – the bouncer asks her is she wants a cab, the bf asks her is she wants to go home, the barman asks her where her mates are, the flatmate asks her to come with her.
    Anyways, I probably need to blog about it properly. The focus of the campaign is what it is to effect change in behaviour, towards communal responsibility for ending sexual violence. Messages about active enthusiastic enjoyment of mutual fun sex are, of course, hugely important too. But unfortunately all the research shows that campaigns which focus on telling people not to rape or telling people how bad rape is have no impact on behaviour. That’s why this campaign is focused the way it is – to impact on people who listen to those radio stations. Let’s hope it works – the sexual violence sector is worried about the impact of the Rugby World Cup and 24 hour alcohol and those versions of masculinity on rates of unwanted, coerced and force sexual experiences.

  8. Pingback: Who Are You? « LudditeJourno

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