“Don’t Be That Girl” Campaign Brings Victim-Blaming, Slut-Shaming to Canadian Campus

By
0

The University of Alberta campus was shocked this week when the “Men’s Rights Group” of Edmonton, Canada launched a “Don’t be that girl” poster campaign in direct retaliation to the successful “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign put in place last year by local activists to reduce sexual assault. (The posters may also be spreading to the downtown area.) The original campaign aimed – and achieved – a lowering in reported rates of sexual assault among college-aged women. The new one seeks to shame survivors and blame them for their assaults, often positing that rape is merely a myth.

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-WORLD WAR Z

The “Don’t Be That Girl” campaign actively shames survivors of rape and sexual assault out of reporting to campus or local authorities: messages like “just because you regret a one night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual” could potentially dissuade women from even believing they were raped in the first place, and the overriding theme that women “cry rape” to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions (of what, I wonder – drinking? Existing?) furthers the myth that rape cases are often false, or simply “misunderstandings.” Unlike the posters would have readers believe, sexual assault is the most underreported crime in Canada, and a mere 6% of the total amount of sexual assault cases reach the police. (Few reports actually lead to some kind of conviction, so the obvious question here is: why would women go through a lengthy and many times fruitless court battle, facing accusations of lying and “asking for it” in order to lose on almost all fronts? But expecting logic from the “Men’s Rights Group” may be expecting too much.) Furthermore, false accusations of rape happen no more than any other crime at about 2-4%, meaning that 96% of the time the woman is telling the truth.

“Men’s Rights Activists” have long decried actions against the world’s rape culture as attacks on masculinity, and often they rely on these messages to convey their own. To those behind the “Don’t Be That Girl” campaign, women are simply sex objects with no right to choose when and where they have sex, deny sex, or demand justice when they are violated. Urging men to stop rape by shifting the way they think about women’s bodies, especially in situations of impaired judgment, is one of the biggest aims of the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign. According to the “Violence Stops Here” website, studies questioning men ages 18-25 found that “48 per cent of the men did not consider it rape if a woman is too drunk to know what is going on,” which eerily corresponds to a study conducted by the University of Alberta in which over half of sexual assaults took place when the victim was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Rape cultures on college campuses often hold key the idea that the “blurred lines” that come out of drunk flirtation represent a “get out of jail free” card for men who take advantage of women, and that’s exactly the type of message the “Men’s Movement” of Edmonton was trying to perpetuate. We don’t need women to stop drinking, stop going out, stop wearing anything, or stop flirting with men in social situations to end rape. What we need is an honest and open dialogue about what rape is, the fact that it’s real, and the fact that consent is important. Only by acknowledging the problem and placing responsibility where it belongs – in the hands of perpetrators – can we truly begin to take a step forward in combating this staggering epidemic affecting millions of women around the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.