Raped? PLCB Ad Says Blame Yourself

Did you know that in Pennsylvania, if you are a victim of rape, it’s your fault? We didn’t. Then we saw this ad from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), and now we are better educated.

So, thank you, PLCB, you perpetually-re-elected group of out-of-touch geriatrics from, where else, Pennsyltucky?

If a woman drinks too much, it seems that any man can rape away with vigor and cavalier indifference knowing that it’s not his fault, but hers, because she couldn’t handle her booze.

Here’s an idea: how about you create an ad telling men not to rape women? You know, attack the problem from its source, that sort of thing. The basic approach, however, appears to be just too nuanced for a backwater organization like the PLCB.

And after all, women should be at home baking bread from scratch in ankle-length, hand-sewn dresses, right?

So, if you, a grown woman, chooses to go out with your friends for a few drinks and some scumbag decides to rape you when your second “appletini” starts to kick in, he has every right to do so, because you, the victim, have no rights, as implied by this piece of misogynistic garbage.

Thankfully, after hundreds of complaints and phone calls, the PLCB has removed the ad. In a Philadelphia Weekly article, PLCB spokesperson Stacey Witalec stated, “… due to the number of concerns that we heard about that specific ad, and the victims especially that we heard from talking about how the image … made them feel victimized all over again, we felt it was prudent to pull it.”

I contacted the legal department of the PLCB this morning (before they pulled the ad) and they had no comment. In fact, John Fraker, their go-to guy wasn’t even aware of the ad’s existence. Normally, I’d call “BS” but he genuinely had no idea what I was talking about, which is not surprising for an organization like the PLCB.

“Don’t get high on your own supply” is the Golden Rule for vice-peddlers like the PLCB, but it seems as though they have been hitting the sauce pretty hard over there these days.

And that’s just bad for business.

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Rodger Holst

Rodger Holst is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker. Follow him on Twitter: @RodgerHolst

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  • Sally

    I think a visit to the website would put this ad into context. The issue they are trying to deal with is not rape but alcohol. This is one in a series of scenarios where not being aware of how drunk you are could get you into trouble. Clearly this woman doesn’t deserve to be raped because she drank too much and passed out, but the message is to avoid the possibility of this and the other situations presented on the site by being aware. 

  • Rodge

    Thanks, Sally. I agree with your overall post. And, it goes without saying we likely agree on the overall problem here, so let’s skip all that for now. My only minor concern with your statement, eloquent as it was, is the use of the word “context,” which is purely a semantic concern. Context, by its very nature is brimming with nuance — it requires in-depth, well-versered, learned positions. Garish print ads like the one being discussed are rendered with purpose to set-off an immediate and visceral reaction. And that message, unfortunately for this PLCB ad, is “women, blame yourselves”. The tactic is as old as rape itself. But, through discourse, the PLCB has removed the ad, either bowing from pressure or a perhaps a genuine change of opinion in their approach. Either way, I do agree with you that the ad was meant to help. Buts it sends the wrong message to both women and men. To women, the message is: It’s my fault. To men, the message is: It’s her fault.

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ cheap bras

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • Gibsoncoca

    I’m sorry, but no. This ad was misinterpreted and the article treats it as though it applies to all scenarios involving rape throughout all demographics. The ad presents a realistic scenario with a specific context and target audience, both of which this article seems to disregard. I promise you this ad would have no impact whatsoever on the outcome of a sexual assault court case.

    It would seem to me more than anything that effective ad campaigns are bound to fail as so many which successfully hit home will be deemed offensive by the increasingly sensitive public and retracted before they have a chance.

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