This is not an invitation to rape me

thisisnot.jpgCara points us to this great anti-rape campaign from several years back which was put out by Peace Over Violence. Like Cara, my only criticism would be that most of the ads seem to feature white women, but the messages are right on point.
Check out a few more below the jump and on the site.


rapewedding.jpg
rapehomeless.jpg
rapenapkin.jpg
handholding.jpg

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47 Comments

  1. UnBecoming
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    These ads are amazing. Probably the best anti-rape ads I’ve ever seen.

  2. Baby Fem
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Wow, I love these ads! Jessica, how can you tell these women are white? I find that the black-and-white photographs and the lack of detailed facial features makes it hard to tell their race, which I had assumed was their intent…

  3. Nicole
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    They’re good, but just a design note:
    Red text, unless presented on a solid background, is really freakin’ hard to read, and sometimes the message gets lost within the image. They could have used some different colors, and it would have worked just as well.
    Also, on the marriage one, the text is WAY too close to the bottom edge and it took me a few seconds to find it.
    /design snob

  4. Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    What an important message it is, too. I’m especially glad that the wedding image was used, given that so many people today are still of the mind that forcing or coercing sex is less of a crime within the bonds of a marriage.
    But yeah, Nicole, I agree. The ads themselves look like they were put together by a twelve-year-old who got Paint Shop Pro for Christmas.

  5. feministorbust
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The range of perspectives the campaign highlights is really striking and moving. In thinking of feministing post awhile back (18 Dec 2007) on mysogyny running rampant on askmen.com, I only wish these ads could appear in places where perpetrators could see them. If only it were that simple to prompt paradigm shifts in rapists and abusers.

  6. feministorbust
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    and that’s “misogyny” –my bad.

  7. avtorres
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    At our rape crisis center we thought about buying these poster series. We had some concerns though. Mainly, that they use very sexualized images of women to sell their anti-rape messages. While they are very effective in sending the message that no one ever has the right to rape someone, I wonder if they aren’t ultimately using womens bodies in objectifying ways to get that message across. On another note, they have a great sticker series as well that would make great t-shirts. One of my favorites is all red letters on a black background that reads:
    rape.
    you call you meet you talk you laugh you eat you drink you dance you flirt you leave you kiss you touch you feel she stops you don’t she stops you don’t she stops you don’t
    what are you doing?
    and another that reads:
    rape.
    when it happens to your mother daughter sister girlfriend buddy cousin niece aunt grandmother wife will you say she was
    asking for it?

  8. Posted December 31, 2007 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Avtorres, I didn’t see highly sexualized images of women on any of those posters, including the one of a woman in a short skirt. I suppose that one is up for debate, but a napkin is a highly sexualized image of a woman? A little girl is a highly sexualized image of a a woman? A woman’s chin above a sign that id’s her as homeless is sexualized?

  9. Geek
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I’m also impressed with the wide range of scenarios presented. (And agree about the design, the red wording and choice of font.. ouch).
    I’m a little conflicted about the images themselves, though. I can see where the use of such objectifying/sexual images can be troubling. But turning those images around to say this does not make me an object can be powerful.
    I’m guessing the use of those images was a conscious choice to challenge the usual message of such images: that the women in them are there for men’s use. Instead, they are saying NO. This does NOT mean that you get to use me, this does NOT take away my right to bodily integrity.

  10. Geek
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Kissmypineapple, there are several much more sexualized images on the actual website.

  11. caprette
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    But isn’t it the point that some of the images are highly sexualized? I saw the posters as saying that even if a woman chooses to dress or behave in a sexualized manner, it doesn’t mean she is “asking for it.”

  12. PamelaV
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I think
    1. I love these ads
    2. I think the red is strategic (rape is pain and needs to be highlighted and “bolded” as something that is there and serious.
    3.I think the placement is intentional as well. In most of them, the text is at the point of contact.
    4.I don’t necessarily think these are “sexualized” images..I do think that it’s great they pointed out that even sex workers can get rapes.
    5. I’m not in design! These are just observations.

  13. Posted December 31, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    These are very striking and sure to be noticed. Does anyone know where are they being displayed?
    I’m glad they didn’t forget to include one about rape within marriage.
    Now, if we could stop renting out women’s wombs! (See my posting at http://www.religiarchy.com)

  14. SarahMC
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    These are really good. I’d also like to know where they’re being displayed.
    My only concern has nothing to do with the posters and everything to do with the intended audience.
    A misogynist who views these will just think, “It’s not rape, because we’re married,”
    or “It’s not rape; you sent me signals that you wanted sex.”
    That’s how rape denial works. They oppose rape, but get around that by basically making the definition of rape incredibly narrow (i.e. stranger-in-an-alley). Forced sex between people who know each other is not even “rape” to them.

  15. Sandinista
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to tell, but I read the woman whose breasts are being cupped as black. But, yea, there are no explicit women of color; either ambiguity or whiteness.
    Also, it really bothers me that all the women are thin. It’s such an impressively representative campaign, I just wish a range of body types was shown, especially given the purported connection between rape and conventional “hotness.”

  16. Mina
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    “At our rape crisis center we thought about buying these poster series. We had some concerns though. Mainly, that they use very sexualized images of women to sell their anti-rape messages.”
    I got the impression that the images have a range, from very sexualized imagery of women to unsexualized images of women to no images of women at all:
    The picture of she wearing the short skirt shows a very sexualized image of a woman.
    The picture of she in the bridal gown: sexualized image of a woman
    The picture of she holding a “HOMELESS” sign: barely-sexualized-if-at-all image of a woman
    The picture of she holding a much taller man’s hand: probably an image of a girl instead of a woman (unless her growth was very stunted)
    The picture of a phone number and lipstick on a bar napkin: sexualized, but there’s no woman shown there (and if it wasn’t for the lipstick print, this one’s message could be anti-rape-of-men-met-at-gay-bars too).
    “But isn’t it the point that some of the images are highly sexualized? I saw the posters as saying that even if a woman chooses to dress or behave in a sexualized manner, it doesn’t mean she is ‘asking for it.’”
    Indeed.
    “My only concern has nothing to do with the posters and everything to do with the intended audience.
    A misogynist who views these will just think, ‘It’s not rape, because we’re married,’
    or ‘It’s not rape; you sent me signals that you wanted sex.’”
    Good point. What if they said “this is not an invitation to force me to have sex”? Or, what if they said “this is not an invitation to your penis” (for the parts of the audience that would think “it’s not sex, it’s up her ass and leaves her hymen alone”)?

  17. SarahMC
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I actually like those two suggestions, Mina.
    It’s important to send the messages in this campaign.
    But the message won’t matter unless people understand and acknowledge that forced sex (or sexual activity) IS rape, no matter who it’s forced upon. Your wife, a prostitute, your date, your neice, a homeless woman – force sex on her and you’re RAPING her. Unless men (and women) accept that, they will think “Doesn’t apply to me” when they view this campaign.
    Whenever I hear “She was asking for it” in re to a woman’s clothing I always think, “Maybe so, but what makes you think she wants it with YOU?” Turning that into a short anti-rape message would be cool.

  18. avtorres
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    “Avtorres, I didn’t see highly sexualized images of women on any of those posters”
    I was speaking more about the images on the actual website which does include more sexualized images than the ones posted above. I agree that the use of these images was intended to confront the common myth that women’s bodies are solely for male consumption and/or the myth that women in some way “ask for it.” In that way, there can be power in reclaiming that myth. But I also wonder how effective that is as a prevention campaign and if people will actually get that message through these posters. By highlighting those myths so vividly, isn’t it just reinforcing those already present myths in people’s minds? Also, who are they trying to reach with this message? Perpetrators? Bystanders? Victims? As someone mentioned above, perps will completely dismiss it. It is not going to change the attitudes or beliefs that allow rape myths to exist in the first place. I worry that it might actually be a bit off putting to men…it doesn’t really speak to all the men who are not perpetrators…and trying to enlist their help as allies in anti-violence. All in all I think they are very powerful but should be combined with a lot of public education/discourse. As I said, they weren’t right for the project our center was doing at the time.

  19. Jovan1984
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I found one staggering stat about sexual assault (via NYC Against Rape):
    Nearly 100% of males who have been raped by other males were underage when they were a victim (median age of about 17), technically making the crime as child molestation.
    Oh and Mina, about what you said, I can also add that if there was no lipstick, then that message could be used as and anti-rape-of-men-by-women as well (although women raping men very rarely happens, it should be used as a reminder that men have a right to say no at anytime as well).
    And SarahMC, I couldn’t have said that even better. People who think that forced sex between them because they know each other isn’t rape is what I call a rape apologist.
    …BTW, I would like to thank Cara for posting those pics on the Curvature.

  20. Corey
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    The SA/DV center I work for in PA has used these posters for display at a local nightclub during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I can’t really say how they’ve been received, but I appreciate the owners of the club posting them and they’re at least food for thought. SarahMC, I agree with your point- it is reeeaally hard, if not impossible, to conceptualize posters about violence against women that are not at least potentially problematic or don’t fall short on some level. At least it has been for me.

  21. UCLAbodyimage
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    “”"I’m a little conflicted about the images themselves, though. I can see where the use of such objectifying/sexual images can be troubling. But turning those images around to say this does not make me an object can be powerful.”"
    I think this is a wonderful campaign with very powerful images. The images say that regardless of how sexy I look, I’m not an object. There is a “me” wherever you look and my desires need to be respected.

  22. glorificus314
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Those are fantastic! It’s great to see anti-rape posters that don’t make the women in them look like victims, or totally de-sexualized.
    It’s so important that more people (and especially our judicial system) understand that no woman asks to be raped – ever, and that sexual history, occupation, and attire cannot be used to legitimize rape.

  23. clockworkrobots
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    On one hand, I think these posters are neat. I think the inclusion of the little girl and the older woman are great, because it’s not like rape only happens to one particular age bracket.
    One the other hand, when I first saw these posters, I had to wonder about the choice of body types. Excluding the little girl and the homeless woman and the older woman, we see one body type, and that is the same body type we see on every TV show and every magazine ad.
    It is just frustrating because if you are fat and you choose to dress sexy when you go out, you are the object of derision for daring to show your body, but then if you are the victim of sexual violence, you still get to be treated like you asked for it.
    So it would be neat to see a fat girl in one of those ads, is all.

  24. A male
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The images could be expanded on, but I like the ads as they are.

  25. Posted December 31, 2007 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I think that it’s actually important that the campaign use those highly sexualized images. And, I must add immediately, ALONG with the pictures of a little girl, elderly woman, and homeless woman.
    In this particular case using the stereotypical beauty-myth image touches upon the painful confusion of rape with sex. All the sickening rape jokes suggest that the victim feels pleasure when being violated, only “denies it.” Many (all?) perpetrators seem to believe that their victims enjoy the act and even are “asking for it.” The message in red printed across a photo of a conventionally sexy woman hits you with the awareness that rape is as far from sexual pleasure as you can get.
    I don’t know if any of the potential perpetrators get that but I want to believe the message gets across to at least a few lost souls.
    One more thing: a woman looking at them might not think she resembles the skinny big-breasted model; however, to the perpetrator, that might be precisely what she looks like. Which is why, I guess, most of the posters are like that, but it’s important that the other images be included too.
    Why isn’t this campaign out everywhere? And I literally mean everywhere in the world…

  26. dananddanica
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    i understand these ads but find some of them a little disturbing, perhaps that is the intent.
    as the father of a young daughter, the picture of the young girl strikes home and I’m glad an ad campaign is being done but I wonder after seeing that what people might think of me holding her hand. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but seeing the picture made me think of myself in a very negative way.

  27. Kmari1222
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    “So it would be neat to see a fat girl in one of those ads, is all.”
    yup I agree. At least different body types. Although I do love the ads and the campaign. I saw these awhile back and thought it was just a neat idea for posters.

  28. judgesnineteen
    Posted December 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I think this kind of thing can get across to very important audiences. It reminds me of taking a psych class and learning about all the dumb things people do when they’re in groups (eg, not call 911 because they figure someone else will, or not run away from a fire because no one else is leaving). You read this stuff and think, I would never do that, but you have to face the fact that these studies (and horrible real-life events) show that if you were in that situation, you probably would. So I think our only defense from that kind of stupidity is learning about it and making up our minds in advance not to fall into it. I think it’s the same with these rape myths, to a point. You can ask a person if a certain situation is “an invitation to rape” and they’ll say no; yet show them a news story with that situation or put them in the situation, and you may get a different answer. I think the best defense against this kind of denial, misunderstanding, flaw of human nature, what have you, is to get people to think consciously about what rape is and make up their minds before they’re on the spot. (Not that rape myths come from the same source as those other sociological trends.)

  29. Mina
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    “as the father of a young daughter, the picture of the young girl strikes home and I’m glad an ad campaign is being done but I wonder after seeing that what people might think of me holding her hand.”
    If you’re married, did you also wonder what people might think of your wedding pictures?

  30. Geek
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    “i understand these ads but find some of them a little disturbing, perhaps that is the intent.”
    The idea of rape SHOULD be disturbing.

  31. holly the contrarian
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Mina-
    The general public (especially in western society) understand that wedding pictures are taken consensually.
    dadanddanica: You have little to worry about. The general public understand that when a father is holding his young daughter’s hand, that he is being fatherly- not that something sexual is going on between the two.

  32. Princess_Pony-Nipples
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    These ads are pretty silly. What woman ever asks to be raped? Why do these ads assume that the way a woman dresses has anything to do with the crime at all? Despite these ads, I for one do believe that young girls dressing sexy should be discouraged. There’s no reason for a child to dress like all the whorish pop stars out there. I see it more and more now. Why are little girls trying to show off their little bodies if not to get male attention? i don’t want to say they’re asking for it but the parents certainly aren’t helping them know better how to not catch that kind of attention.

  33. Mina
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    “Mina-
    The general public (especially in western society) understand that wedding pictures are taken consensually.”
    Yeah, I should have been clearer. Dadanddanica mentioned people seeing him holding his daughter’s hand (comparable to one of the posters) and I thought of people seeing him holding his bride’s hand too (comparable to another one of the posters) if he got married.
    Then I remembered that on average fathers walk down the street holding their daughters’ hands way more often than they stand in wedding poses*, so random bystanding observers would be more likely to see the latter in photos than see it live.
    “These ads are pretty silly. What woman ever asks to be raped? Why do these ads assume that the way a woman dresses has anything to do with the crime at all?”
    The ads assume that it doesn’t, and try to teach that to people who assume that it does.
    “Why are little girls trying to show off their little bodies if not to get male attention?”
    To cope with hot weather, obey school dress codes, etc. Even sleeveless tops and knee-length skirts have been accused of showing off female bodies by some people out there these days.
    * of course, not all fathers even have daughters and/or are married, etc.

  34. ShifterCat
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Way to miss the point, Princess Pony-Nipples.

  35. Geek
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    “Why are little girls trying to show off their little bodies if not to get male attention? ”
    That you would even suggest that makes me sick.

  36. Posted January 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I love this ad campaign and like that they included a picture of a woman wearing what looks like a bikini–that makes this personally cathartic for me.
    Princess Pony Nipples–
    Why might young girls dress in revealing clothing? Because that’s what’s available to them. Because it’s cool. Because all their friends/all the popular girls dress this way, and they want to be accepted. And to attract male attention, sure. But men were attracted to women when giant hoop skirts and petticoats and high necklines and long sleeves were the norm in female dress. No matter how many layers a woman wears or how modestly she dresses, there will be men who are sexually attracted to her (which isn’t a bad thing), and some of them might be creepy rapists (which is). Instead of trying to control young womens’ dress codes and blaming them for the crappy things that happen to them, why not try to change society to make people know that no matter how scantily or modestly a woman is dressed, it does not excuse rape. Rape is not ‘male attention,’ it’s a crime.

  37. Fenriswolf
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    These are fantastic ads. We had a few out here in NZ (not exactly the same, but pictures of women drinking with friends and “this is not an invitation to rape me” etc) a few years ago. I thought they were wonderful, but I remember freaking out when I saw some abusive graffiti scrawled across it. :(
    I think the sexualisation is an important part of the ads. And yes it would be better if they had a larger range of body types, but we are appealing to the lowest common denominator, so something that looks like every ad with hot women on it seems on target to me.
    Also:

    rape.
    you call you meet you talk you laugh you eat you drink you dance you flirt you leave you kiss you touch you feel she stops you don’t she stops you don’t she stops you don’t
    what are you doing?

    I love that. It’s fucking disturbing, makes me feel a bit trembly reading the description but that’s why I think it’s good.

  38. busywritingspin
    Posted January 1, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Princess_Pony-Nipples – You seem to contradict yourself in your comment. You ask why the ads assume that the way a woman dresses has anything to do with rape but later say that a certain manner of dress catches “that kind” of attention. To me, this sounds like linking rape to a woman’s choice in clothing, which is what the ad is getting at. No matter what a woman is wearing, even if she is dressing to get sexual attention, she is not giving anyone permission to her body.

  39. AlekNovis
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    While i’ll agree with everyone on the ads being very clever…
    As a person who lives off of marketing and ad-design during the day, and working with different organizations on behavior modification…
    I can see absolutely no effectiveness in these ads in lowering rape. In fact, I can see a negative effect. To a potential rapist, they are blatant suggestions of rape.

  40. AlekNovis
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    By “clever” I meant they’re very catchy, they’re sure to:
    1) Draw the attention
    2) Get the message across that nothing is ever a “permission” for rape
    With that said. To a person who’s already a predisposed rapist… i.e. he already has rationalized in his head why rape doesn’t matter, these ads are just visual suggestions of his fantasies.

  41. Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I don’t really think these ads are directly concerned with actively trying to change the minds of serial rapists, particularly those who commit stranger rape. I think these ads are more geared towards
    1) Empowering women to know that rape is not their fault.
    2)Putting into the public sphere the fact that rape is not acceptable under any circumstance.
    This is really more important systemically than changing the mind of a rapist. This leads to a society where rapists are held accountable, where the idea of “asking for it” is no longer a viable defense and no longer a nagging sore spot for victims.

  42. Scarlet
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    AlekNovis, I don’t think a majority of rapists are “predisposed” to it. Sure, there’s a minority of psychopaths who are well aware that what they are doing is rape and don’t give a damn about it. But those posters are targeting the majority of rapists who are in “rape denial” (as someone already said above) and delude themselves into thinking it wasn’t rape because she was wearing a mini-skirt, because she flirted with him, because they’re married together, etc. It also challenges lots of preconceptions which unfortunately still prevail in the general public (“she was asking for it”, etc.).

  43. Scarlet
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    It should be “They also challenge a lot of preconceptions…”. :-p
    Also, what rachelgbd said…

  44. Geek
    Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    rachelgbd, I agree. It’s unlikely these will change men who are likely to rape. But they are important for getting the message to women and to society in general (potential jurors, attorneys, judges, police officers) that a woman is never asking to be raped.
    We’ve seen from so many horrible rulings in rape cases that it’s not just the rapist mindset that we need to be worried about.

  45. Princess_Pony-Nipples
    Posted January 3, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    No I made sure to make clear there’s never an excuse for raping anyone, just pointing out that young girls would do better to not dress like half naked sluts these days. Is that wrong? I’m fine with adult women going half naked, could care less, but the kids worry me.

  46. kendall
    Posted January 4, 2008 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we feministing readers should be more concerned with the lack of this type of media in our world, and less concerned with the need for perfect racial representation, impeccable design elements, or how perfectly successful an ad campaign such as this one would be. As a design oriented person who understands the need for complete racial equality and representation and is looking for effective change, I also am a woman who is tired of waiting for the perfect opportunity to present the world with some feminist action. By no means should we stop these extensive discussions on the comment boards of sites like feministing over nuance and particulars, but we should also start the extensive discussions that deserve to be taking place in every public forum, including the streets we walk on every day. While each of us has proven our ability to comment on the internet, I implore each of us (myself included!) to prove our ability to demonstrate these brave opinions in our day to day actions. I imagine such a force of feminists could come up with more than a few original opinions of how to create and demonstrate change in the streets. Can we share more in comments and in actual feministing posts about what those actions should be?

  47. JaviitaVi
    Posted April 3, 2008 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    I am right there with Kendall. I just came to check what the feministing readers had to say about Peace Over Violence’s great input in our society but I came only to see that the ads are being critizied and not appreciated for its main purpose. We cannot live with this hungry ambition to want everything to be impeccable or as Kendall puts it, ” of waiting for the perfect opportunity to present the world with some feminist action.”
    I recently joined POV in February and actually graduated last nite as a Violence Prevention Specialist (someone trained to go out to the community and present ways to prevent violence in everyday instances). I’m so grateful for this oppotunity to be able to be a part of this organization and humbly ask the rest of my feministing comrades to leave a bit of that bitch behind (for just a bit)and appreaciate the changes that organizations like POV is making in our society.

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