Rape Crisis Network slams 'rape victim blaming' ads

Diageo Rolemodels has been getting a lot of criticism for its most recent advert against out-of-control drinking.

The advertisement features a photo of a young woman who has returned home from a night out, clearly upset, while her mother stands at her bedroom door in the background.

The tag line on the ad reads: "Who’s following in your footsteps: Out-of-control-drinking has consequences."

Clíona Saidléar, Director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland (RCNI), said: "The sinister inference is that the young girl has been attacked on her way home. 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 rolemodels.ie campaign, which is supported by Diageo, Barnardos and DCU, among others, is chaired by Barnardos' CEO Fergus Finlay.

Its board members include Aine Lynch, who is CEO of the National Parents Council, Diageo's director for Ireland, David Smith, and Kieran Mulvey, the CEO of the Labour Relations Commission.

The campaign was set up to "break the cycle of passing a cultural acceptance of excessive drinking from one generation to the next".

Ms Saidléar has called for the immediate removal of the advert which, she says, "blames victims of sexual violence for the crimes that have been committed against them".

She said: "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.

"This latest ad builds on the shaming of women theme that can be seen in much drink related campaigning. The out-of-control campaign which started by asking women if they were ‘embarrassed’ while they were being photographed without their consent in a potentially compromising position, has now progressed to blaming victims of rape for their own rape.

‘This is utterly unacceptable and RCNI demand that Diageo remove these offending advertisements immediately. We ask all papers and commercial platforms carrying this ad to take it down and refuse to run such dangerous cultural messages of rape victim blaming.’

 

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