Friday, May 20, 2011

Ad campaign: Innocent men, not innocent women, have duty to stop rape

Here we go again -- a rehash of a story we just ran.  A, um, "provocative" and "new" campaign called "Don't Be That Guy" has been launched by Ottawa agencies working to prevent sexual violence against women. If it looks just like Edmonton's campaign last year of the same name, it's because they are exactly the same.

Both campaigns are intended to prevent sexual violence against women; in particular, assaults that take place when alcohol is involved.

Both target young men.

Both hold innocent young men who are not rapists responsible for policing other young men.

Both suggest that, in contrast to the young men, young women should do whatever the hell they please.

And both are, I would bet my left testicle, wholly, palpably, wildly ineffective.

Sandy Onyalo, executive director of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, described the purpose of this inane campaign: “We’re asking men to ask themselves, how can they take responsibility for their own behaviour, and the behaviour of their friends?”  (Emphasis added.)

By "friends," does Onyalo include female friends -- like the drunken young lady sprawled out on the couch in the photo? My guess is that the answer is a resounding "no."

Onyalo continued: “If we don’t bring young men into this discussion, we’re never going to truly combat sexual assault against women.  We’re asking men to ask themselves, how can they take responsibility for their own behaviour, and the behaviour of their friends?”

(Emphasis added.)

Keep repeating it until it sinks in: men must not only police their own behaviour, but innocent men who don't rape are responsible for the "behaviour" of their friends.

Now, everyone agrees that men need to police their own "behaviour."  But innocent men are also responsible for the rapists?

Not a word about the "behaviour" of the other 51% of the population.

Now let's get this straight: rapists alone have the responsibility to stop rape. And if women have no responsibility to stop rapists, why, on earth, should INNOCENT MEN?  Yet, innocent young men, who have essentially no ability to stop rape, are held responsible for stopping rape, while innocent young women, who consciously put themselves in situations where rape is more likely to occur, have no responsibility?  Isn't that asymmetrical gender blaming?

Not only is it grossly unfair to blame innocent men for a problem that they haven't caused, it's also wholly ineffective. Among other things, it targets the wrong men. The vast majority of rape offenders come from lower socioeconomic classes and are under-educated, under-employed, and under-skilled. Sexual offenses are like all the other social pathologies we know of: they are largely caused by fatherless households. But that message, which emphasizes the importance of men in the lives of their children, doesn't play well among the progressives who control the sexual grievance industry and who think of men as not only disposable but as far more trouble than they are worth.

My guess is that this brilliant campaign hasn't stopped a single rape. Not one. Innocent men have essentially no ability to stop rape. And why on earth would anyone even harbor a hope that this campaign could possibly get through to a single actual rapist?  Will a young rapist standing at the urinal looking at this ad suddenly have a revelation, "Gee, I guess I shouldn't go through with that rape I was intending to inflict on some poor woman"?

My guess is, stopping rape isn't even the point of the campaign. The point of the campaign is to justify the existence of the sexual grievance industry by doing things like this periodically to keep it in the public eye.  To make everyone think they are doing something. In order to keep the money flowing (and to keep the brilliant minds behind this campaign employed), they need to stick to the official metanarrative -- that women are always the victims, and that men, guilty by reason of penis, are collectively responsible for the misconduct of a tiny percentage of men.

In other words, it's a microcosm of the last 30 years of all things gender.