Have You Seen Any “Stop Rape” Signs Around Town?

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 4.50.47 PMPhoto by Tim “Shots Fired” Blackwell

Some sick-of-it anti-rape radical went and got themselves a roll of stickers with the word “Rape” on it, and have been busy slapping them on the lower half of Stop signs in a rush of old-school guerilla media activism. How delightful!

This one here was spotted down Souf at 7th and Reed.

Have you seen any? Where? Send or tweet us pics! @PhillyWeekly @taramurtha

15 Responses to “ Have You Seen Any “Stop Rape” Signs Around Town? ”

  1. Jonas Oesterle says:

    I don’t think you should write or put anything on traffic signs. I can’t see how this helps anything, and I think it’s downright juvenile. Most people are probably like me and want to stop rape AND respect public property. This tactic doesn’t speak to us at all. Civil disobedience is once thing, but since stop signs have nothing to do with rape, I think this particular tactic is highly misguided.

  2. CBURNZ says:

    I love the tactic and would love to see more guerilla activism to raise awareness. No one was hurt by this and no one will misunderstand the meaning of the STOP sign because of the addition of the sticker. With all that has been going on lately, there has been a lot more talk about what rape culture is and how it is perpetuated. This is the time to raise conversations about this problem and try to increase consciousness about it. Rapists are not just strangers lurking in the dark, they are acquaintances, family members, partners and others who may not even realize where the line is. In addition, everyday nice people witness things that contribute to sexism and rape culture and may not know what to do and fail to respond. I hope Jonas will find new ways to challenge what is going on but most likely he “wants to stop rape” but has done nothing. What will you do?


  3. Elizabeth says:

    Delightful indeed! And look, we are discussing rape culture as a result of the sticker. Mission accomplished. I feel a little better about the universe now that I’ve seen this.

  4. Clint says:

    I wonder if anyone who takes issue with this has equally strong feelings about stickers we see everywhere else with benign messaging (I.e bands, tags, street art) or if it’s because it’s an ugly word that shouldn’t be public.

    You live in Philadelphia, if you can’t handle stickers or graffiti, and respect the right for the city to pristine stop signs more than creating awareness about rape, move to Pasadena or some damn place.

  5. Sar sar says:

    jonas is a juvenile, who can’t even spell check.
    philly needs to wake the hell up and stop being so prude about this topic. this tactic is perfect for putting thoughts of rape culture in peoples minds when they aren’t even aware of the issues. you can drive & talk on the phone or play with your radio and then you come to a stop sign that says “stop rape” and you stop and think. that’s the point. just like some people don’t like defacing stop signs, women don’t like getting raped. think about it!
    grow some balls & be part of the solution. it’s so easy to pass judgement while sitting behind a computer screen. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to think before you type and understand how ridiculous it is that women haven’t had a voice or chance to stop all this rape b.s.

  6. Lauren says:

    I have been seeing these everywhere for the past few weeks and I really, really appreciate some guerrilla art with a clear, impactful and very necessary message. There needs to be much more dialogue about rape culture, and as a woman in this city, I welcome it. I think Jonas is misguided. I see this campaign as far more clever than most for the very reason that the background of the stickers integrates well into the signs (as CBURNZ said, it does not distract from the function of the sign) and STOP signs are a part of our landscape that we pay attention to out of necessity. If in that moment of focused attention in a chaotic urban landscape, a simple sticker raises awareness or even starts a dialogue, then in my mind, the minds behind this campaign came up with a rather elegant solution to a deep-rooted societal problem. The refusal to discuss the fact that rape culture exists is what is “juvenile” and frankly, that attitude is what is unacceptable. This tactic really spoke to me.

  7. ChristineB says:

    The rape sticker is not obstructing the STOP sign in anyway that drivers will not know to stop when they reach the sign. They will not be confused. The problem with rape culture is that it’s so prevalent that it needs to be addressed at every angle. One method is just not going to work. We need to approach it using different types of strategies. That being said, the STOP rape signs are in an area with a high domestic violence rate. As CBURNZ mentioned, most victims/survivors know their abuser. Probably the signs will not completely stop rape. Possibly someone who has been raped will see the sign and will appreciate someone speaking up about it. It is hard to have that kind of connection to an act like putting these stickers up if 1) you haven’t been in that kind of situation and 2) you don’t have true empathy for someone who has despite claiming that you do.

    I also think we need to examine that someone who says they are against rape seems to be offended at the word being posted on public property. This is a very public issue and nothing was actually destroyed in the process. Victims of rape, sexual assault, and abuse, carry that trauma for the rest of their lives, even if it happens one time. I wonder about censoring the way they choose to speak up about it.

  8. Jonas Oesterle says:

    I don’t think anyone should write on traffic signs and if that is a rule of society then it doesn’t matter what the message is. You shouldn’t write “stop war” or “stop genocide” either and you shouldn’t take an “end one way” sign and change it to “end poverty”. Is it causing accidents? No, that is very unlikely. But if you can’t write on signs then you can’t write on signs. You also shouldn’t put a sticker on a sign, or anything like that. Are you guys saying that it’s okay to write on signs if it’s a positive message or if it doesn’t cover up the word on a sign?

    It is not an issue of censorship, or being uncomfortable with the word rape, or it being used publicly. Just because a cause is just does not mean every tactic is acceptable. I really hope that those of you who seem most furious with me will accept that I can agree with the cause while disagreeing with the tactic. I think that me using the word “juvenile” in the first place was a mistake because people seem to be reading it as my looking down on the whole cause. I certainly do not, and the conversation may have turned out less emotionally charged if I had chosen a better word. I agree that “The refusal to discuss the fact that rape culture exists is what is ‘juvenile’ and frankly, that attitude is what is unacceptable,” but it is not at all fair to imply that this is my attitude.

    I am a fan of Tara Murtha’s writing and I think that she has raised many interesting issues and started important discussions in this area. I think her writing has helped move this issue forward. I don’t really think that writing on stop signs does that, but many of you do, and you are entitled to that opinion. I just don’t think you should write on traffic signs.

    I’m also unsure of what word I spelled incorrectly, but I don’t doubt that it happened! You are right, I don’t usually use spell check when commenting in these forums.

  9. sunbear says:

    Rape reveals something very dark and ugly about those who perpetrate it, and also the society that allows such acts to occur. It is oftentimes suppressed and repressed by people who want to keep things looking “civilized”. This is unrealistic and dangerous. The beauty of putting the rape sticker on the stop sign is that it juxtaposes two very stark images (words forming an image in this case) and forces a person to look at the issue in perhaps a different way. And talk about it like we are now.

    To me, a traffic sign is not sacred or off-limits just because it serves to keep order. In fact, in a high crime area, these signs seem more like ironic reminders of the order that might not exist there. It’s the perfect palette.

  10. ChristineB says:

    Hey, just because you don’t think it is okay to put stickers on stop signs does not mean that it should not be done. Okay you don’t agree with it, fine. But it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Rape is severe and extreme. It is traumatic and damaging. It needs to be stopped and rape culture needs to be stopped. As long as the stickers are not getting in the way of people stopping at stop signs, then I have no problem with stop signs being used as a means to stop rape.

    Jonas, I really think it’s time to re-examine this firm belief that it is not okay to speak out about rape on stop signs. Rape is not ok. It’s not ok. What if people put “Stop killing Jews” on Stop signs in Nazi Germany? We must look at the bigger picture and keep things in perspective. If you really understand the severity of rape and agree with stopping rape culture you wouldn’t be so opposed to these stickers being placed on stop signs. You might say something like, “I would not personally put rape stickers on stop signs, but I understand the cause.”

    Rape Culture teaches us that there is not a big difference in putting stickers on public property and the act of rape. I say this because someone says they want to stop rape also says we can’t stop it by putting stickers on stop signs. Rape needs to be stopped and the public needs to be a part of it.

    I’m curious, Jonas. What are your thoughts on how we can stop rape culture, while staying within the confines of not using public property and avoiding speaking out in ways that people will feel uncomfortable, and because these people feel uncomfortable they, as a result, give themselves the power to tell us how we can and cannot speak up?

  11. KHC says:

    Do any of you know the person who is posting the stickers? I’m starting to do a photo project on them and would love to learn about the person who started this all.

  12. Jonas Oesterle says:

    Hey ChristineB, I think you are a thoughtful person and I respect and appreciate some of what you are saying. However, I don’t think you have the same respect for me. You write “If you really understand the severity of rape and agree with stopping rape culture you wouldn’t be so opposed to these stickers being placed on stop signs.” This sums up the thrust of the opposition to my original comment. Rather than respond to my points (from my most recent comment) you just label me as Part Of The Problem. You therefore invalidate my arguments without even addressing them.

    You insult my intelligence by claiming that you are “curious” about my thoughts on how we can stop rape culture. Your question is totally rhetorical, and you use it to put words in my mouth. Of course you are not curious about my thoughts, you have already told me that you think I am a part of Rape Culture. You and others continue to insist that I am “uncomfortable” with people speaking up about rape. This is ridiculous and unfair. I am tempted to respond to your actual points (because yours is probably the most well-written of the comments thus far) but I am resisting that temptation because you do not afford me the same respect.

    If you or anyone else wants to address the things I actually said instead of just guessing what kind of person I am and how I feel about these issues, I will be happy to respond in kind. Even if you still do feel that I am part of the problem, I can put aside my hurt feelings and have a reasonable discussion if you are also willing to.

  13. Greg Bucceroni says:

    Since this is Rape awareness month I guess it is appropriate in doing this grassroots effort in raising awareness. Great job to the person(s) that thought the sticker up!

  14. Rebekah says:

    Its very shocking. I automatically assumed it was an alert to the public that a sex offender was in the area and I felt so bad for the children in the area who have to see it! It should be taken down

  15. [...] This radical street sign was seen earlier in the year hanging in Philly! (PhillyNow) [...]

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