PLCB Ad Campaign Blames You For Your Friend’s Rape (Update: Rape Pulled From Ad)

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has unleashed a new advertising campaign. It’s cool, hip, involves some interactive media and, oh right, makes “the case that if you drink too much, someone might rape your friend, and it will be your fault,” says

It’s called Control Tonight. And when you’re not spending your waking Internet hours laughing at LOL Cats, this site’s “choose your own deadly adventure” feature is second to none. Seriously. The Liquor Control Board has spent your hard-earned cash allowing you to control your own online story surrounding a night of drinking before the site digitizes the terrible ending and life-altering consequences of drinking with friends, at a bar.

So, let’s get started. I give the bot my name on the home page: “Randy.” I type in two friends’ names: “Sarah,” “Bob.” I click “Let’s do this,” and here’s what I get, immediately:

the plcb doesnt like sarah

What? Next, I click “See how you could have prevented this.” As it turns out, our night went like this: Sarah and I had a tough day at work. We went out and drank “Redheaded sluts” (really?). Then Bob calls to meet up. We meet up with Bob, and he starts ordering margaritas. Sarah leaves us and makes out with a “skeevy” guy. She leaves with him. She gets raped, and it’s apparently very violent. Then she’s left for dead on a bathroom floor with her panties around her ankles. And it’s all my fault.

medium_6ba7e6f704ff6e593e4cc411815f3f43The ad campaign, created by the Neiman Group (offices in Philly and Harrisburg) in November, is starting to get some buzz and criticism from a series of folks. And we’ve got to assume some of them, if not all, probably haven’t been privy for all the PLCB’s mishaps, bloopers and basic out of touch-acrity in this state, which runs deep. (Anyone looking for a refresher, click here.) Though if Republicans have their say on this issue, the PLCB might not be around too much longer, anyway.

Until then, here are other possible scenarios Control Tonight brings up: alcohol poisoning, getting your ass kicked in a bar fight. That’s it. Drinking only leads to that.

It’s hard to imagine both the PLCB and Neiman didn’t have the best of intentions in place with their Generation Y/Internet-meme-age version of an after school special on alcohol. But the fact is, come on. Or, as Jezebel writes, “A lot of sexual assault occurs under the influence of alcohol, sure. And maybe they think that if only women would do their part to prevent sexual assault, it would stop happening. If only women felt worse about what could happen to them when drinking, they’d guilt themselves sober or something…Shock tactics aren’t necessary to increase awareness of the possibility of rape. We know what can happen after a night of drinking.”

And further, the whole thing (the rape scenario especially) stinks of “blaming the victim”—and the victim’s friends. Is it really worth reiterating how much blame for rape is on, say, the rapist who wants to rape? Probably not. (But the answer is most often 100 percent.) And, as the Jezebel post also notes, “[Rape is] not something the victim conjures up with a mixture of alcohol and phermones. It’s a deliberate act on the part of the rapist, a violation of another person…The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we’ll be rid of stupid, finger wagging ads like these.”

(h/t TM)

UPDATE: As of 6:05 p.m. tonight, the “date rape scenario” was pulled from the ad.

9 Responses to “ PLCB Ad Campaign Blames You For Your Friend’s Rape (Update: Rape Pulled From Ad) ”

  1. ugg says:

    It is not “blaming the victim” to suggest that people take responsibility for their own safety and remain in control, especially in regard to drinking.

    Jezebel apparently thinks finger-wagging at rapists is enough to prevent rapes. The PCBL knows better and is promoting a message to help prevent future attacks.

    Just because a rape is 100 percent the rapist’s fault doesn’t mean it’s smart to actively put yourself in situations that increase your vulnerability.

  2. Anon says:

    You’re contradicting yourself. And it’s still rape culture. Why, instead of teaching “don’t get raped”, don’t we teach “don’t rape”?

  3. Danyelle says:

    Has anyone actually gone to the website and looked at all of the information that they are providing along with these ads? I know from being a 26 year old that many times I have stopped my friends from leaving the bar with some random guy because they gave them the attention that they really enjoyed. Let’s face it alcohol lowers the inhibitions and causes you to make choices that you would not normally make. How many times have you been in the bar and seen this scene yourself? This ad is not saying it is your fault or your friends it is simply saying that looking out for yourself and your friends you can try to prevent date rape. I personally find nothing wrong with this ad. Yeah when I first saw the picture it was shocking but then I went to the website and  read the tips and we over the whole exercise it is very informative. The ad is not saying you will be date raped and it will be your friends fault, it is saying this could happen to you if you let your guard down and cannot make rash decisions. Not to mention everyone right away blames the man but men are raped too. The ads are put out there to help educate the people drinking not to educate the possible sober rapist. We cannot stop people from raping each other.  Think about it if they are out there raping, do you really think they are going to look at an add and say “man maybe what I am doing is wrong?” Come on now. What they are doing is morally wrong. Do you think that is going to stop them? NO!!! They are trying to educate the possible victims. The people that they can possibly get through to. I know that when I go out dinking I always go out with friends, and we look out for each other no matter what! Stop overreacting and take a closer look. They are not demoralizing the victim or women they are trying to educate.

  4. Im sorry but I do not see this campaign as victim blaming in anyway, it is empowering people with tools and real life knowledge about alcohol facilitated rape. Over 80% of college women have or will have unwanted sex while under the influence. So many of them don’t even understand that what has happened to them is rape let alone understand means and ways of prevention. I am a survivor of an alcohol facilitated rape and had I known, or had my best friend who was with me, known the dangers of drinking and what could have happened to me or her, I may not have been raped.

    What is wrong with talking about observer or friend responsibility? It takes all of us to prevent rape. Think of it this way:

    We have all learned from an early age to designate a driver when we go out with friends, right? It is ingrained in us to never let a friend drive drunk for it could result in horrific results. It is a highly effective campaign that aims to stop crimes from happening by looking out for one another. WHY would we NOT want a similar campaign to help women from being raped under the single most common means used to rape us!!!!

    When I lecture on college campuses and with young people I take this concept one step further and talk about designating a sober sister when going out on the town, or to a frat party or college event. We have to watch out for each other, there are predators everywhere and they are just waiting to hand you or your best friend a drink so they can diminish your capacity and RAPE YOU! why would we not want to start a dialogue about ensuring that all young people understand that this is the single highest and most effective means to rape women and give people tools to prevent it?

    We tell young women to not walk alone, take a self defense course, carry a whistle etc. to prevent stranger rape. Why would we not also want to have similar tools given about alcohol facilitated sexual assault???

    I agree the image used could have been more sensitive but if you click through the entire campaign it clearly lays the blame at the foot of the rapist calling him a pig and saying blatantly IT WAS NOT HER FAULT, SHE WAS RAPED. This is progress, some states and law enforcement do not even consider this scenario as rape due to the limited definition of rape by some. Thankfully the FBI just voted two days ago to change this definition.

    I think we need to be opened minded about prevention. Had I as a young person or my best friend known the dangers of drinking and the predators that lurked seeking drunk girls to rape….I may not have been raped and my friend would not be living with the intense survivor guilt she has because she didn’t get raped that night.

  5. Nobody says:

    I wish everyone was comfortable enough to have frank and open discussions about tough topics, like rape, and others. Maybe our country wouldn’t be so open to these degenerates who rape and kill and hurt children. I applaude a campaign like this. If our ADD society would take the time to get to the end of the campaign, they would see where the blame was placed, on the perp.

  6. Person says:

    As a victim of sexual assualt, I wish my friends had my back when we’d gone out. I think this ad campaign is a very good thing. Thank you.

  7. Mike says:

    How dare the PLCB tell women to make sure they are always totally in control? Such an insulting message. Hey Hey! Ho Ho! This penis party has got to go!

  8. Bryan says:

    I think we’re really missing the point here. I’m much less concerned that they are trying to inform women that drinking could leave you defensless, and more concerned that this looks like an ad for Axe Body Spray or a condom manufacturer.

  9. Hey Mike says:

    Hey Mike, why don’t the PLCB tell dudes they ought to be totally in control? Rapists are the problem, not their victims.

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