Graphic Anti-Rape Ad Targets Men: Don't Be That Guy!


stop rape signMost sexual assault prevention campaigns tend to target women -- providing them with tips like "Don't have long hair" or "Don't stay out late" in an effort to keep women safe. Obviously, this type of advice is meant to be helpful and empowering, but often it crosses the line into preemptive victim blaming.

For example, does this sort of message make anyone feel better? Well, ladies, you were certainly asking for it when you decided not to arm yourself with a rape whistle. Really, what did you expect?

Instead of acting like sexual assault is an oh-well-inevitable part of life and is solely the woman's responsibility for preventing it, wouldn't it be better to use anti-rape ads to target men -- the people who are actually doing the assaulting?

Well, that's exactly what a new, graphic anti-rape campaign in Canada is doing ...

The Don't Be That Guy campaign is a series of print ads that use blunt language and disturbing images to educate young men that 1) sex without consent is sexual assault; and 2) a person who is drunk or passed out cannot give consent.

The ads were designed after a coalition of groups fighting sexual assault in Edmonton, Canada, discovered that alcohol was a factor in half of all sexual assault cases investigated by the police. They were also influenced by this alarming study out of the U.K. showing that a whopping 48 percent of men ages 18 to 25 -- that's almost half! -- did not consider it rape if the women was too drunk to know it was happening.

In one ad, a women is passed out on a couch and the caption reads: "Just because she isn’t saying no ... doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.” In another, a man is helping a woman to her car and the caption reads: "Just because you help her home ... doesn’t mean you get to help yourself."

Disturbing? Yes. Persuasive? Hopefully.

Although I'm frightened by the fact that behavior in these situations is learned and not instinctual, at the very least, these ads set a precedent for holding men -- not women -- accountable for the crimes that men commit.

What do you think of the new anti-rape campaign?


Image via Nigsby/Flickr

crime, feminism


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nonmember avatar Allboys

FINALLY,,,,,,I would so give a standing ovation but only my boy children are here to see me. Men are the ones who are responsible for their actions and it's about time the language and education was aimed at them. I hope that it gets stronger more graphic and details what rape victims have to go through after a rape. Then I hope they make this into a high school education program.

Jeann... JeannieMS

I think this is a fantastic step in the right direction. Go Edmonton!!!

-Katy -Katy

I remember watching this horrible video in high school teaching girls how to not get raped, and wondering why they weren't telling the boys NOT to rape instead.

I seriously hope they start doing this in schools instead.

Michi... Michigan-Mom74

I wish we could do stuff like that here in the U.S.  That just because a woman is dressed sexy, or she gets drunk, she changed her mind at the last minute, while mean, a man will not die from 'blue balls', or they can get some soap and go in the bathroom; its better then having use a 'soap on a rope". No is no, no matter what the language.

Sligh... SlightlyPerfect

I don't like that it is targeted toward men, as if because men have penises they are all potential rapists. Plus it degrades men who have been raped, too. It's time we stop focusing on women as victims. We need to start looking at people who have been raped as survivors.

nonmember avatar Carny Asada

It's not accusing all men of being rapists; the campaign is targeted at a very specific kind of assault: an acquaintance who has sex with a woman who is too intoxicated to consent. Because our culture makes such a joke out of using alcohol to tempt a woman -- "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker" -- it's probably worth pointing out to men that, in the words of the third poster, "Just because she's drunk doesn't mean she wants to f***."

nonmember avatar zarko

I wonder if an add in black neighborhoods telling black men to stop committing crimes shouldn't be put up as well. I mean, it seems en vogue to blame an entire group of people for the actions of a few.

Much like black people hate black criminals specifically because it promotes a negative stereotype, men hate rapists. Not only that, man hate rapists because it conflicts with something like 3 million years of evolution about protecting women (present in other species as well).

Such adds do nothing. Some guy will come up to the urinal and be like: "Holy crap, I SHOULDN'T rape her? Never thought of that".

All it does is ferment more hysteria and promote stereotypes. I suppose that's a good thing.

nonmember avatar zarko

One of the comments by Katy:
"I remember watching this horrible video in high school teaching girls how to not get raped, and wondering why they weren't telling the boys NOT to rape instead."

It is not boys who rape, it's CRIMINALS. I realize that in today's world, everyone assumes all men are criminals. Telling a man not to rape does nothing. If he is like 99.99% (or more) of the male population, it's a waste of time, he wasn't going to do that anyway. Most men would rather die than rape.

If he's one of the small group that would rape, I am pretty sure it will not stop him.

It tells young women to protect themselves because it's the only viable way to go about it. Is it right? No. But if you think a poster, or blaming men, will suddenly fix everything... as I said, let's put such posters in Mexicantown in Detroit, or in Downtown Baltimore. See how it goes.

James A. Landrith Jr.

Thank you SlightlyPerfect and Zarko for making the same point that I've made many times myself with regard to this campaign.  As a male rape survivor of a female rapist, I really feel compelled to correct some of the minimizing and gender based generalizations I've read here.


Allboys - men are not responsible for rape - RAPISTS are responsible for rape.  See the difference?  Good.  With regard to what rape victims go through being added to the campaign, I'd support that.  Wanna hear about my bad days - when I can't decide whether to scream, curl into a ball and cry or put my fist through the wall?  Or does my penis mean I can only be a rapist, not a survivor?


Katy - boys don't need to be told not be rapists.  RAPISTS need to be told not to be rapists.  There is more than a subtle difference between the two concepts.


Carny Asada - it is probably worth pointing out to the woman who raped me that she did not have the right to do what she wanted either.  Let's be careful not to make rape into man = rapist, woman = victim.  Millions of men worldwide have the same PTSD, minimization and self-contempt that millions of female rape survivors deal with daily.

James A. Landrith Jr.

The woman who raped me BOUGHT my drinks for me and spiked the second one before doing what she wanted and then blackmailing me into silence. Of course, I've been told by both men and women that I must have wanted it, was at fault for drinking with a woman, men can't be raped, women can be rapists and every other victim-blaming tidbit you can think up.

Someone never told my rapist "Don't Be That Gal." 20 years, countless panic attacks, years of lost sleep, and thousands of dollars in therapy bills could have been avoided if she'd cared about consent herself. Funny how some of the posters seem to think that men are the ones who need to be taught this one. How many women violate the consent of their partners regularly, only to get away with it because female on male rape is considered a big joke, or worse - that he was asking for it (i.e., erections = consent, men can't be raped, men always want sex).

Somedays I hate her and other days I hate those who make excuses for people (not just men) who violate consent and do what they want, when they want, without regard to the damage they leave behind.

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