A new ad campaign by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Commission uses an ad that almost defies parody to make the case that if you drink too much, someone might rape your friend, and it will be your fault. That dovetails nicely into the idea that if you get raped after drinking, you should blame your drunk ass friends. Guys, this sort of thing isn't helpful.

The ad campaign is called "Control Tonight," and the people behind it probably have good intentions. A lot of sexual assault occurs under the influence of alcohol, sure. And maybe they think that if only women would do their part to prevent sexual assault, it would stop happening. If only women felt worse about what could happen to them when drinking, they'd guilt themselves sober or something. Rape solved forever!


Shock tactics aren't necessary to increase awareness of the possibility of rape. We know what can happen after a night of drinking. An ad featuring a shot of forcibly removed panties around ankles with text that reminds the reader that ladies drunk friends are what cause rape is not increasing awareness, it's just shifting blame away from the rapist and onto the victim and, oddly, the victim's friends, aka the guardians of her vagina.

This line of thinking furthers the idea that somehow some victims of sexual assault are asking for it, that somehow the burden of rape prevention falls on the woman and not the rapist. Were you drinking before your sexual assault? Asking for it. Wearing a short skirt? Asking for it. Alone in a room with a man? Asking for it. Bullshit. Drinking is no more accepting the possibility of rape than having consensual sex is accepting the possibility of pregnancy.


Rape is not just a bad thing that happens to someone after drinking too much, a wave of nausea that ends in vomit that smells like Red Bull. It's not something the victim conjures up with a mixture of alcohol and phermones. It's a deliberate act on the part of the rapist, a violation of another person committed solely because the rapist wanted to rape. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we'll be rid of stupid, finger wagging ads like these.

Control Tonight [Official Site]