PA Liquor Control Board to teens: Rape is your fault, and your friends’ fault!

Girls legs with panties around the ankles--reads she didn't want to do it, but she couldn't say no

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently released a new ad campaign, Control Tonight, that attempts to curb teen drinking. Their case? Don’t drink too much, or else you’ll get raped, but hey–that’s your fault, because we warned you!

One ad features a young girl’s legs, underwear around the ankles, as she lays on what appears to be a bathroom floor. The text reads, “She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say no.”

The campaign even blames the victim’s friends–the Control Tonight website reads:

“Calling the shots starts with you. What if you didn’t watch out for your friends during a night of drinking?”

The campaign blatantly shifts the blame onto victims and friends, and away from the very person who deserves it: the rapist.

While the board may have had good intentions, these ads show that rape culture is alive and well in our society. Alcohol is definitely a huge factor when it comes to sexual assault, but in no circumstances is it ever the victim’s fault. Again we see our culture continuing to teach “Don’t get raped!” instead of “Don’t rape.” And instead of teaching people how to make sure they’re properly getting consent from someone they’re hooking up with, our society perpetuates a mindset that makes women feel guilty for a crime committed against them.

Call or email the PA Liquor Control Board and ask them to pull the campaign: 1-800-453-PLCB (1-800-453-7522), or

Join the Conversation

  • Devon

    I just called and spoke with someone for over 10 minutes. She took a long time to explain their reasoning, but she didn’t get it at all. She did offer for me to be involved in feedback for future ad campaigns, so if you live in PA, you should ask to be involved.

    She also directed me to their facebook page (where you can also leave feedback):

    • Kerri

      I sent an email to PLCC and I called today and was met with an answering machine (my voicemail was not returned). I am going to call everyday until I get an explanation.

  • Emily Smith

    I called. They are very friendly, and willing to discuss and talk about things. They’ll even add you as a consultant for future add campaigns.

  • Laura MacKenzie

    I agree : everyone needs to understand that rape is never truly preventable by the victim – rapists rape, and that’s why it happens. On the other side, the poster raises a valid point – girls and women can, to a limited degree, help prevent violence by not letting down their defences too much when they are out drinking. How should society raise awareness of that, without placing blame where it doesn’t belong?

  • laura

    Not only is it promoting rape culture…but it goes so far to seem to be using it, and objectification in general, to get attention. Its super creepy that as an ad, it uses the typical ploys to get the attention of teenagers. A sexual shot of JUST a woman’s legs? They are using the whole “sex sells” technique to get the viewers to focus. Super creepy in an ad that is actually about rape. The whole “Let’s be PROVACATIVE” shtick here falls so incredible short. An ad campaign that is supposedly seeking to help women, blames them for rape and objectifies them all at once. Calling them now.

  • Jesi

    While I appreciate you sharing this add, it would be helpful if you posted a trigger warning at the top for rape survivors who might be disturbed by the image.

  • tyra

    We gotta culture-jam this mofo!

  • nazza

    I wish I understood why this is a point so difficult to convey. I do admit that it took me a while to fully understand the nuances myself. So the challenge is substantial. Part of it is that we confront rape and accusations of rape on two levels.

    On one level, rape can be woven into common conversation. It no longer retains its ability to shock. But these discussions only consider a portion of what rape is and what it really means. Another another level, when rape happens to someone, anyone, it’s no longer an abstract concept. But I think that’s the disconnect.

    The reality is beyond horrible and I think we aren’t easily able to go there. This is also true for survivors. For example, I can’t even linger there for very long myself. I’m actually in therapy now finding ways for my brain to fully process incidents of sexual trauma. The default setting of many people who have been sexually assaulted is repression and disassociation from the sequence of events. And it’s not a voluntary act. The brain takes control, whether the will would desire it or not.

    Maybe it’s not that surprising that we think that placing the responsibility upon someone else will work. Contemplating the rapists among us might be otherwise too difficult to imagine, especially when it concerns people who we may know. People like to take shortcuts or opt for simple solutions, especially when there’s nothing simple about a problem. And we need to look within ourselves first. Self-reflection takes courage and humility.

  • Kylie Shelley

    This was the e-mail I just sent to them.

    This complaint is addressed to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board,

    The Control Tonight campaign get’s rape all wrong. It takes the blame away from the rapist, and wrongly places it on women for drinking “too much” and on her friends for not watching her closely enough. We need to start blaming men for raping women. Women are constantly having sex with men that they don’t want because men think they have the right to have sex with women and they think they can get away with it when women don’t really want to. Men make excuses saying that “she didn’t ever say no, so how was I supposed to know she didn’t want to?” Men should be held responsible for being sensitive to the way women presently communicate. We raise women to not speak up for themselves, to be agreeable and friendly at all times, in order to validate men. Why, then, is it so phenomenal that women don’t say no, or even say yes, when women don’t want to have sex? If I’m drunk that means NO. The woman in the poster is obviously drunk, passed out on a tile floor with her underwear at her ankles. This should not look like consent to men. Your poster reads “decisions like that leave them vulnerable to dangers like date rape. Help your friends stay in control and stay safe.” It’s mistakenly written in the passive tense. Who date rapes? RAPISTS!! Why are we so scared of that word? We’re not scared to shame women for the “decisions” they make – to do something perfectly legal – to drink and hang out with friends, and go to bars where there will be strangers. My decision to drink does not “leave me vulnerable” to men who rape. My friends do not “control” who rapes me. MEN CONTROL RAPE. Men who rape prey on drunk women, and that’s NOT OK. I DEMAND that you put the blame on rapists for raping/date raping (THE SAME THING) women. Rewrite the poster to address men who rape, and NOT the friends of the rape victim. Put it in the active tense. Stop blaming rape victims and her friends because RAPE IS NOT WOMEN’S FAULT.

    Kylie S.

    • Jacob

      I believe I understand your sentiment, but I must make clear a nuance which (I hope) you must’ve meant to imply.

      “Men” don’t rape. “Rapists” rape. We need to start asserting to humanity (not to “men”) that women are not objects. Neither are men. No humans are objects, and no humans ever do anything that deserves or is responsible for rape.

      Blame, I must assert, is not really so helpful. If a person’s worldview, or psychological profile, is such that he or she or ze could justify rape in zer own mind, then introducing ad campaigns which blame them for rape isn’t really going to affect them in a positive way, if at all. It might separate them even more from egalitarian cultural norms or from empathetic society. Probably it will do nothing but reinforce self hatred in non-rapist men.

      Rapists make excuses because they are rapists. Because they have reached a point where they can justify it to themselves. Not because they are (in majority) men. It doesn’t matter if a rapist is sober or drunk or a man or a women. Rape has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with being a man.

  • Steven Olson

    For months I have had conflicting thoughts about these types of adds. On the one hand, its so obviously victim blaming, but on the other hand, it ‘makes sense’ to be careful about danger, and I think I have finally figured out whats causing these conflicting thoughts. I think its how misinformed people are (and not just on an intellectual level, but how we have internalized things) about rape.

    So many people imagine rape, as the brutally violent rape by a complete stranger, which is of course a very small subset of rapes that happen, and the vast majority are ‘acquaintance’ rapes, where the victim knows the rapist, and often happens in a formerly safe space. But, if one imagines all rapes being of the first kind, where some predator, stalks their helpless prey, basically equating the rapist to an animal, unable to control their actions, these types of warnings about ‘being careful’ start to make sense.

    I doubt (or maybe really fucking hope?) that most of the people who are responsible for adds/warnings like these are actively trying to blame victims, but are just making faulty assumptions about the nature of rape and the people who commit them. As I have read on Feministing many times, rapists aren’t some easily identifiable animal, but men who hold some terribly fucked up views about women and what they are entitled to, but who are people who can and should be expected to act in better ways. I wonder if that has anything to do with these types of adds at least???

  • Tayler

    I also don’t understand how the PLCB wouln’t see this as offensive to women. Just emailed calling for the ad to be removed.

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    I emailed them what I thought, and also asked if they had any intention of a similar campaign targeted towards potential rapists to be responsible for their actions.

    It’s also creepy in that, while it’s suggesting that rape is bad and unwanted (albeit the victim’s fault for drinking, in the poster-makers’ little world), the fashion-shoot lighting of the photo and suggestive panties-down image almost suggest a glamorization of the subject matter. Brrrr. Yuk. I pointed that out in my email too.

    Ugh, I may not be underage anymore, but I can still say it’s garbage like this that makes me want a drink!

  • smash

    Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz says ,”I emailed them what I thought, and also asked if they had any intention of a similar campaign targeted towards potential rapists to be responsible for their actions.”


    • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

      Thanks! Haven’t gotten an answer yet though.

  • Miranda

    Here is my letter. This ad is outrageous; I’m glad we have this community to discover things like this and are given the opportunity to change it. Thank you Feministing!

    To Whom This May Concern:

    Through a recent article, I heard about your new ad campaign, “Control Tonight”, to stop the overconsumption of alcohol amongst the younger generation of high school and college students. While I agree with your underlying goals, I am writing to tell you I do not support the way you go about it.

    I was particularly disturbed by your advertisement with the picture of a woman’s legs sprawled on the bathroom floor with her panties around her ankles. In case you have forgotten, I attached the picture to this email. It reads, “She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say no”.

    As a victim of “date rape” myself, I cannot sit in silence about the vulgarity and injustice in this ad. In case you were unaware, women who are raped while intoxicated often do say ‘NO’ – loud and clear – and if she “couldn’t say no”, as your publicity states, it is NOT her decision to consume alcohol that led her to being raped.

    Please notice that the MAN is not present in your ad, although he is THE present force in a date rape situation – yes, more present than alcohol. I hope you understand that your advertisement does less to promote drinking responsibly and more to foster feelings of guilt and responsibility in a female rape victim.

    If you agree, I ask that you remove this ad. It is vulgar and unneccessary.

    Thank you

  • Maya

    When I first read this post and looked at the ad, I was shocked at how ignornant the ad is, but on closer inspection, they may have a point. In a world, where rape is prevalent and women have to watch out for themselves and each other, it may do well to have a sort of “buddy system,” to make sure people we’re with don’t go home with someone they wouldn’t have gone home with otherwise. In a perfect world, there is no rape, but based on premises of the condition of our society, watching out for each other is not a bad idea. The picture and the larger words still send a wrong and depressing message, though.

    • Emma

      We had a “buddy system” if that’s what you want to call it. We both went back for drinks at her good friend’s house – she’d worked with him for over a year, she socialized with him at least once a week, she trusted him as a friend. When I fell asleep on the couch he raped her. Is that my fault? I don’t feel that it is. You can go home with your best friend and be raped. You can go home with your husband and be raped. You can’t avoid being raped any more than you can prevent being a victim of any violent crime.

  • Celeste

    Just had a really great conversation with the deputy director of external affairs there. She seemed to totally get it. She kept saying that victim blaming was not their intention, but saw that the ad does perpetuate victim blaming. She also invited me to participate in focus groups for developing their future campaigns. Seemed very receptive.

  • wsd4life

    I didn’t see anything wrong with this ad originally. “Don’t get blackout drunk or something bad might happen” seemed like pretty realistic advice to me. There are actual rapists out there who rape people after they pass out drunk. I didn’t see how it was blaming the victim to warn people of this real fact.

    I have since been told by many people I trust that this ad is blaming the victim. I am not disputing this, I believe my interpretation of the ad was probably wrong, but could someone please politely spell it out for me because I wish to understand what I’m looking for here, so that I don’t make the same mistake myself.

    I teach a women’s self defense class and want to make sure that none of the safety tips we offer come across as victim blaming. Before I found this link I would not have thought twice about telling someone not to get so drunk they pass out in a situation where they are vulnerable to the whim of anyone passing by. Seemed like solid advice.

    How should I phrase serious safety tips of what to do, and what not to do, so that it doesn’t come across as victim-blaming? It seems like almost any safety tip could be turned around like that.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cautioning women about the risks of getting drunk. At the same time, what’s wrong with our culture is that no responsibility that is being placed on men not to rape. There are no ad campaigns that target men and tell them “Don’t drink, because you might rape someone.”

      Its fine to caution women, but at the same time, they have to understand that if something does happen, its not their fault.

    • Natalie

      Two years ago, I was actually part of putting together a self-defense class that included both risk reduction techniques as well prevention techniques (attempts to change the underlying rape culture). This was challenging, and a ran into what it seems like you are struggling with, how to offer risk reduction advice, without victim blaming.
      Ultimately we found it important to have a discussion about victim blaming. We talked about how rape and sexual assault are not a singular experience, and every attack is different. Often times rape and sexual assault happen in a place where the survivor is comfortable and knows the attacker. Advice like being away of your surroundings, or don’t walk down a dark alley at night, don’t apply if you are attacked in your own dorm room by a friend. While someone may choose to avoid that dark alley, it doesn’t prevent them from being attacked; and someone else may choose not to avoid that dark alley (maybe it is the only way home, or they just like walking that way) that doesn’t mean that the person walking down the dark alley is asking to be raped. By definition no one asks to be raped. The person that chooses to walk down a dark alley is no more at fault for being attacked in that alley than the person that was attacked in their own room.
      The bottom line is that all the safety tips in the world won’t stop rape, only rapists can stop rape. If a person chooses to follow safety tips or not they may still be attacked, and if they followed the advice or not the attack is not their fault.

      • wsd4life

        Thanks for your feedback, I think I’m going to go the same route you did and just preface safety tips with a discussion about victim blaming.

        I just hope that doesn’t come across as “part 1: it’s not your fault; part 2: yes it is”

        Maybe I will touch on the difference between stopping rape altogether (something only rapists can do, big picture) and taking steps to decrease the possibility of an individual rape, in an individual situation.

  • Katie

    I’m 100 percent in favor of educating teenagers and young adults on the dangers of excessive drinking. Drinking to excess can result in alcohol poisoning, injury, and poor risk assessment and decision making. There are lots of good reasons to teach people to control their drinking and to look out for their friends when drinking. Drinking too much can make you more vulnerable–not only to rape, but to other crimes–because some criminals target people who are intoxicated. But it is the criminal, not the victim, who is responsible for the crime. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to tell women (and men!) that they should be careful when they drink, while still making clear that it is the rapist who is entirely, utterly, completely culpable for choosing to rape.

  • Nikki

    I had the pleasure of seeing a similar poster when coming back from a math tutorial today, I was so angered because there is a girl graduating this year who was left with the wrong family member and he kept serving her alcohol until she couldn’t fend for herself. And I’m sure there are others who got raped under the influence as well. In their honour a friend and I promptly removed the poster and put it where it belongs, the garbage.

  • Stephanie

    If they really wanted to stop rape, and stop victim-blaming, then a more appropriate ad would be a picture of a guy forcing himself onto a woman, with the caption: “He probably wouldn’t have raped when he was sober, but he did when he was drunk.”

  • Meh

    The model-posed legs and airbrushed look make it look like an underwear ad, it just comes across as sleazy and horrific, but not quite how they intended.

    Then again, PSAs strive to raise “awareness” over actually doing anything for the problems they attempt to tackle.

  • Nicole Coleman

    Emailed PA Liquor Control Board the following:

    To Whom It May Concern;

    I am appalled by your recent ads that insinuates BLAME, SHAME and GUILT upon victims of sexual assault. Since when is “She was drunk and couldn’t say no” an excuse for committing a felony offense? Does someone deserve blame if they get drunk and end up getting murdered? No, we would place all blame upon the person holding the gun. In the case of rape, no matter what the circumstances, the blame belongs SOLELY upon the person committing the crime, in the case of your ad, the man with the penis. Also know that you have also perpetuated the myth that most rapes occur while a female is drunk or under some other influence of another drug. What about all of the males who are assaulted? What about a date rape during which someone has not been drinking? What about stranger rape? What about child sexual assault? You are to blame for giving more false ideas to our teens that there is ANYONE at fault for rape other than the rapist. Please remove your current ads. I have always been so proud to be a Pennsylvanian in the field of working towards eliminating sexual assault and increasing awareness and prevention because Pennsylvania has led the way for many other states in terms of victim services, etc via the work of Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and other leading agencies. You diminish their work by producing such an ad campaign.

  • Micah

    I really hate to point this out, because it makes me feel a little bit disgusting, but I think it is very important to the discussion. My very first reaction to that ad when I saw it elsewhere (before I read anything) was attraction. They are not just blaming the victim, but they are depicting the situation in a highly sexualized manner that does not represent the violent or disgusting nature of sexual assault and rape. The floor even looks clean and matches her underwear! This image is designed to illicit a sexual response in people who are attracted to women. Even down to the pointed toes.

    • Stephanie

      “they are depicting the situation in a highly sexualized manner that does not represent the violent or disgusting nature of sexual assault and rape. The floor even looks clean and matches her underwear! This image is designed to illicit a sexual response in people who are attracted to women. Even down to the pointed toes.”

      Ew. I didn’t even realize that. That’s despicable.

    • lovethechase

      As for the message, I don’t think it’s incredibly detrimental to say “control how much you drink”. When you drink too much, things can happen that you can’t control as much as you can if you were sober. We know this. But our youth might not GET it. I think it’s very important to be real to both female and male youth audiences about kinds of bad situations that can happen. This ad is obviously targeting young girls. I HOPE that the PA liquor control board takes the initiative to create an ad campaign targeting young men. And I hope this campaign includes drunk driving and deadly bar fights as well as how to identify when you’ve had too much so you don’t end up taking advantage of another person.

      Now its very likely that there is not an ad campaign directed towards young men, or that there is even one in planning, and then I believe what the PA board as done here is very clearly engaged in victim blaming and stereotyping. But what I think is the biggest problem is the degree to which the ad sexualizes date rape. The beautiful legs, in the suggestive position, obviously photoshopped and made to look very provocative. This could quite easily be an ad for razors. When men see this ad they won’t think, “My god, I need to talk to my sister/daughter/cousin/niece about the dangers of date rape”. When women see this ad they won’t think, “This is awful, I need to be more careful about how much alcohol I drink and the company I keep when I’m out”. They will be both be thinking “I wish I had legs like that!”. Isn’t this the exact opposite takeaway we are trying to get here?

      I think its time for the PA liquor control board to remove this ad. Revamp it. Make messages and use images that address the multiple audiences involved. And then try again.

      The need is there. There are young people who need to hear this message. This is too important to get wrong again.

      • wsd4life

        Actually if you visit their facebook gallery or their website, this ad is part of a series that focuses on all kinds of different bad things that can happen as a result of drinking, the campaign itself doesn’t focus on rape just the one terrible ad in the campaign.

      • Meh

        “As for the message, I don’t think it’s incredibly detrimental to say “control how much you drink””

        Except that this is blaming the woman and her friends, focusing exclusively on shaming her and guilting all around. It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

    • Franzia Kafka

      Oh, absolutely. This is drawing on the image conventions of porn. One of the reasons I find it so disturbing.

    • Laura

      Wow! so true! The positioning and the ‘glamour’ of the photo is geared towards attraction.

  • Franzia Kafka

    Wow. That image is sick and fucked up in so many ways, not only for drawing on the disembodied imagery that we’re used to seeing when women are sexualized and objectified in porn and fashion, but for the fact that it’s a white girl with conventionally attractive model legs. You know, ’cause rape only really matters when it happens to pretty white girls. :/

  • Rebekah

    @Micah, I agree. That’s what first horrified me about the ad. I saw it on Pandora a few weeks ago. Can you imagine having this pop up as you’re absentmindedly listening to music? I wrote to them immediately, and they apologized, said they understood, took it down from my channel (hopefully from everyone’s channel?), and said they would ask the advertiser for new content. I’m dismayed to see that it’s still out there. Let’s keep the pressure up.

    Feministing: Please consider moving the photo down farther on the page and putting a trigger warning at the top. It could help people who are disturbed by the image. (thank you, @Jesi)

  • Kylie Shelley

    Good point Micah! I noticed too, that the tile matched her underwear, and it’s fucking disgusting. It’s like we’re pointing out that rape is somehow desirable, like it’s hot to say no, to be too drunk and passed out. That is so sick.

  • mikhala

    I would definitely like to see more campaigns targeted towards RAPISTS not victims. I think the message should be rapist=rape not alcohol=rape.

  • Ellen

    This is what I sent to them (I removed the niceties at the beginning)

    This advertisement is problematic on many levels:

    It does not illustrate the true ugliness of rape. The positioning of the woman is provocative and arguably “sexy”. The image only displays her legs and feet, serving to objectify her further.

    The image is, without a doubt, a trigger for many of those who have been victims of rape. This could (but probably could not) potentially be justified if it served their collective interest in further preventing rape, however, this image does not serve to disrupt the current status quo.

    The text puts the blame on the victim by saying what has happened is a result of her “bad decisions”. Although I have seen much of the rest of your campaign and agree with its message- i.e. the responsible consumption of alcohol to prevent harm to oneself and one’s friends, victim-blaming is inappropriate as the entirety of the blame should be placed on the rapist. Are preventative measures positive? Yes, absolutely! But such measures should place the blame where it is due: these could include: don’t rape, and “if you think you are in danger of raping someone, carry a whistle”. If you want to prevent rape from happening and wish to give tips to women, there should be equal or greater time spent towards the abhorrence of the actions of rapists.

    A more effective advertisement would have discussed the connection between the level of alcohol consumption by men and their rate of perpetration.

    This advertisement is offensive to victims of rape, as well as any human being, frankly. It should be immediately removed from any public spaces as well as the internet.

  • Laura

    I sent this immediately…
    To whom it may concern:
    as a rape survivor I have had to endure the brunt of the blame for the crime that was committed, “You should have locked your door. You should have fought back more. You should have known.” The real blame never went to the man, no one told him, “You should have stopped when she said no. You should have waited until she was sober.”

    Your new ad campaign blames the victim of rape, “She wanted to say no, but she couldn’t…” This girl drank so much that she left her self in a vulnerable position, thus the rape wouldn’t have happen if she hadn’t drank so much. This ad campaign also blames the friends of the victim, “What if you didn’t watch out for your friends during a night of drinking?” This tells the friends of rape victims that they could have prevented the rape had they watched their friend more carefully. You are telling girls how to not get raped, but you aren’t telling rapists not to rape.

    Pull this campaign and please stop your support for the culture of blaming the victim. New posters could say, “I only want to have sex with a enthusiastic partner, a consenting partner.” “I could tell she was too drunk, so I drove her home.” “She didn’t say yes, I knew that meant no”

    • james

      Laura, I’m sorry that you and other women have had to endure this attitude from people. From a government entity it has to be more devastating and hard to bare.
      How prevalent are the ways of the hypocrite in our society. I wonder if in the case of a bank robbery, the defendant could blame the bank for having the door unlocked? They could say “she smell of money was so over powering that it intoxicated me to the point of madness, that I am not responsible for my actions and it is the banks fault for not using a deodorizer”

  • Carlin

    !!Looks like we did it, Feministing folk & others who spoke up and made our voices heard!!
    As far as i can tell, the sexual assault scenario is no longer an option when you click “experience another story”. A small victory, yes. Buta VICTORY! This means less peeps will be receiving their message of victim blaming, and MORE peeps will be empowered by (and spreading) the survivor-centered vision of prevention.
    Here’s the email I sent along yesterday:
    I want to tell you that your new website is fantastic. It’s a really polished, effective, and modern way of spreading some super important messages around alcohol consumption from which we can all benefit.
    If you’ll bear with me, I have some important reflections on the sexual assault scenario. Every single day, I work with youth who have been mistreated, abused, and sexually coerced. I am informed by their thoughts, experiences, and ideas. Let me share them with you.
    They frequently express an overwhelming amount of guilt and self-blame that THEY should/could have prevented sexual assaults perpetrated against them. Rape is perhaps the most invasive, spiritually and physically traumatic crime that one could ever experience, and that fact is reflected in their narratives. This ill-placed blame is a huge barrier to their healing.
    Your message is not nuanced at all for this reality. You can now add your campaign to the mountain of media/peer/societal messages that people are already receiving about who is often responsible for rape – the victim. It takes 6 clicks(!) to finally reach the statement “This isn’t Anne’s fault.” That is unacceptable.
    I ask that you please, PLEASE reevaluate your messaging and consult your local and/or statewide sexual assault services agency to help shape a more thoughtful and effective path to preventing alcohol-assisted rapes. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted, and muddying the waters with myths about “skeezy, dangerous” guys exacerbates the cultural ignorance around these issues. As a man who knows that over 95% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by my gender, I can say that an unequivocally more important message is that “us guys” need to rethink and challenge the cultural norms around sex and realize that CONSENT is the one and only gateway when it comes to sexual contact. Period.
    Let me say that I believe in risk-reduction. It is important to know what each of us can do to keep ourselves – and others – safer. Did you know that a person can follow each and every “rule” of preventing rape… and STILL BE RAPED? No one has the ability to “Control Tonight” when it comes to the actions of a person who crosses the line and commits this horrible crime. Rapists are at fault for rapes – no one else.
    Maybe you can start with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape(, and ask them for their expertise and assistance in retooling this one website scenario.
    Thank you for your attention and consideration.

  • Mikie

    This is disgusting and wrong. I can’t believe this ad campaign was ever green-lighted.

    Certainly, risky behaviors and bad friend can increase the chances of something bad happening, but the only person to blame is the RAPIST.

    I’m so glad I don’t live in this state.

    • Micah

      I live in State College, PA (student). So I’m in the last place you would want to live right now I’m guessing. But it’s not really that bad. I honestly kind of doubt that it’s any worse here than in general across the States, and certainly better than many places across the world. We have a few really bad apples, and they found their ways into places of power recently (bad people often do), but Pennsylvanians should still be held to the exact same standard as everywhere else.

      I know that you don’t mean to suggest that PA is hopeless or anything like that, but I’ve just noticed this sort of reaction and it might have undesired effects. Please keep being shocked by stories like this from PA, because no matter how many come out (please let them stop soon), I promise you that we are better than this.

  • Shannon

    Here’s the email I just sent:

    Dear PA Liquor Control Board,

    I am writing in regards to your ad campaign “Control Tonight” ( Much of the campaign includes good information, especially “talking it out” with friends both prior to a night including alcohol consumption and also discussing consequences and concern the day after (!/field-guide/talking-it-out). I also support the page on getting help ( which may be a person’s first attempt to change their behavior.

    However, these phrases are in one of the slides in the “game” on the website: “To keep your friends safe, keep track of how much they’re drinking, not how drunk they look” and also “Just don’t let him get to the point where he does something he regrets.” Removing responsibility for a person’s own actions can create a potentially dangerous situation, both for the person who is drinking too much and their friend who is trying to control someone else’s behavior, friend or not.

    I was particularly disturbed by your advertisement with the picture of a woman’s legs sprawled on the bathroom floor with her panties around her ankles. In case you have forgotten, I attached the picture to this email. It reads, “She didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t say no”. The text under this large print says “When your friends drink, they can end up making bad decisions. Like going home with someone they don’t know very well. Decisions like that leave them vulnerable to dangers like date rape. Help your friends stay in control and stay safe.”
    The premise of relying on yourself or your friends to keep you from being raped perpetuates a myth, that victims are responsible for the actions of another person. Victims/survivors are not responsible for rape; Rapists are responsible for rape. Ad campaigns that continue to perpetuate that myth is damaging to all persons, including a potential rapist who may be willing to seek help, yet is absolved from responsibility again and again by popular media. Another example of the myth is that the Get Help webpage doesn’t include any reference to reforming sexual predation, such as someone who targets drunk people for sex.
    I request that this specific ad be removed from the campaign.

    Thank you for your time,


  • wsd4life

    Looks like besides being off their website it is also off their facebook page! They took it all down!

  • Elizabeth Doran

    Ad has been pulled!!! Good work to all who contacted the PLCB and had their voice heard!

    • Stephanie

      This gives me hope.

  • Will L.

    Anyone mention that the image used could be a trigger for victims?

  • PAstudent

    Press release from The Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition –

  • mirin

    sluts gonna slut


  • JohnnyG

    Interesting. Then I guess teaching self-defense is also blaming the victim. And telling people to lock their doors and leave their lights on also is blaming the victim. In that case, we should start an ad campaign telling murders to stop murdering and robbers to stop robbing. That will really keep people safe and end crime!

    As a man I don’t have to be told by some ad campaign not to rape women, because I know it’s wrong. Rape is a terrible crime, but rapists already know this – they just don’t care. If I ever have a daughter, you better damn well believe I will be teaching her awareness, moderation, and self-defense.

  • Desiree

    I don’t think adds about protecting yourself from any crime or act of unwanted violence are a bad idea. They just have to be done right, and in this case the tag line and picture are a bit much in my opinion.

    Although realistically who is more likely to listen to the advice of the poster? The rapist or some average teenagers friend? I think “try to look after your friends and don’t get so drunk you lose control of your faculties” might actually stick in a few minds, where as “raping people is bad” isn’t going to stop any rapists. If they went with “if there’s alcohol involved make sure there is consent” that might be a bit more reasonable and helpful.

    What I don’t like mainly is the imagery. Blur the background and change the text and you’ve got a Victoria Secret add. Rape isn’t airbrushed.