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Role Models

The Rape Crisis Network says this ad "blames victims of rape", but those behind it say that's not true

The ad is for the Role Models alcohol campaign.


THE INDUSTRY-FUNDED alcohol action group Role Models has denied that an ad for its website “blames victims of rape”.

In a statement issued this morning, the Rape Crisis Network said that the ad which ran in the Irish Independent implies that the girl has been attacked, but a spokesperson for the Stop Out-of-Control Drinking group says this is not the case.

“The sinister inference is that the young girl has been attacked on her way home,” says the RCNI statement, signed by its dior. The message is it’s her fault for being drunk and what is more it is also her mother’s fault for her own drinking habits.

The belief that drunk girls are ‘asking for it’ is one that needs to be strongly challenged as it is one that we know perpetrators use to select and target their victims knowing this cultural attitude will mean they get away with it. Disappointingly, the out-of-control campaign instead of challenging it has reinforced it here.Not only is the survivor blamed, the survivors’ mother is also in the frame. The perpetrator is not in this picture. This is a harmful, regressive and hurtful message which targets the vulnerable. Survivors of sexual violence should never be used in this manner.

That interpretation has been vehemently denied by those behind the campaign.

The ad in today’s Irish Independent is part of a series of ads that are designed to get a discussion going in Ireland about the consequences of out-of-control drinking – the consequences for children, for siblings, and for our ourselves.The ads are designed to say, amongst other things, that our behaviour influences those around us. The ad depicts an older sister who has returned home after a night of clearly excessive drinking, who is being watched by her younger sister.

This image may be provocative, and is intended to be.

It has however been wildly misunderstood and misinterpreted by the Director of the Rape Crisis Network, who has made a series of completely inaccurate claims about the content of the ad. Nobody associated with this campaign would tolerate for a minute the inference that victims of sexual assault are ever to blame.

Many of us have worked with the victims of abuse and assault over many years, and would never allow any untrue inference of that kind. It is an entirely unworthy assertion, based on a misinterpretation.

Read: Anti-alcohol campaign group say criticism is “premature”

Read: India refuses to lift ban on BBC bus rapist doc

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