In the world of public service announcements, “Don’t Get Raped” is the resounding message coming from many trying to protect women from sexual assault.
But as well-intentioned as some of those ads may be, their warnings just parrot the same misguided message that women have had to listen to for centuries: If you’re raped, it’s somehow your fault for (pick one) drinking too much, drinking in public, leaving your drink unattended, failing to say “no” enough times, wearing that skirt, flirting with that man, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
What too few recognize is that instead of implying it’s the woman’s fault for failing to prevent her own rape, it needs to be directly stated that it’s the sole fault of the perpetrators for raping in the first place.
And that may finally be the case. A new viral campaign out of Missoula, Montana, addresses assault by targeting the wrongdoing of the potential attackers instead of their victims.
Make Your Move, Missoula uses degrading lines often repeated by offenders and turns them into choruses of support for their targets.
The campaign encourages bystanders to intervene in situations that look potentially dangerous—something that most women will attest happens far too infrequently.
Missoula seems like the last place on Earth that would serve as the home base for a progressive anti-rape campaign; but the city is unofficially known as the rape capital of the country. Jezebel’s Katie J.M. Baker previously reported that a fervent “she was asking for it and is now lying about it” culture thrives in that college town.
Clearly, someone is trying to right that ship. How much of a dent the ads will make in Missoula remains to be seen, but at least they’re a step in the right direction.
What kinds of messages do you think would be most effective in combatting rape culture? Leave them in the Comments.