I am unsure where to even start with the poster seen in this link (.http://facebooksexism.tumblr.com/image/48906850905)As a man living and working to end sexual violence within our communities I am personally and professionally offended by this poster. It is painful for me to see people degrading the years of hard work of so many amazing women and men who advocate on behalf of all survivors of sexual assault. Posters like this are so damaging to the cause of ending sexual violence. To take a campaign that only seeks to educate community members on the laws of consent and the crime of sexual assault with the goal of ending this horrific and degrading crime and to mock it is not only unprofessional but inhumane. Instead of working to further cloud the lines of consent why can’t consent be accepted and gained before every sexual act. For many years people have been working to support survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse for individuals of all ages, genders, races, ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This poster which has mimicked itself after the “Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign has crossed a line by using incorrect information to try to make a point that is absolutely false, inaccurate and 100% incorrect.
The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign aims to educate the public on the laws of consent and offender accountability. To be clear this campaign in no way advocates or states that all men or even most men are sexual assault offenders but rather recognizes that the vast majority of sexual assault offenders – 97% are men. This campaign seeks to target and challenge men to learn the laws of consent, to ensure their partner is an active and willing participant, and to enact change within their social sphere of influence.
The only way to prevent sexual assault is for the offender to not commit this crime in the first place. One of the hooks that the creators of the “Don’t Be That Girl” poster are using is trying to make a link to false reporting of sexual assault. But if the creators of this poster were actually educated on this crime, they would know that less than 3% of all reported sexual assaults are false – far less false reporting than any other crime.
Nowhere in the Don’t Be That Guy campaign does it make a comparison to regret and sexual assault. We know that people can still consent to sex and regret that decision later. But so long as a person consented in the first place, then it is not a crime. The Don’t Be That Guy campaign also recognizes that men can be victims of this crime too, but again acknowledges male offenders as the primary gender. Stats do not lie. When we stop to look at and recognize the messages that are being presented in the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign what we will find is a campaign that is focused on healthy sexual relationships and gaining clear consent to engage in sexual activities. I would like to pose some questions to the people who came up with the “Don’t Be That Girl” poster. Why is gaining clear consent for sex a bad thing? Where on the “DBTG” posters are we stating that regretting consensual sex is considered to be grounds for sexual assault? Where are we getting stats that a large percentage of women are claiming to have been sexually assaulted after simply regretting a sexual experience? Why do some people seem to think that getting men to re-examine sexual assault and the laws of consent is a bad thing?
I think when we look at these questions logically we will find that the basis for the myths that are being created by this “Don’t Be That Girl” poster are not only harmful but factually incorrect. The truth of this matter is that we are fighting to end sexual violence no matter who it is committed against. The fact is that this is not solely a women’s issue or a men’s issue it is a human rights issue. The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign seeks to engage men and encourage men to get involved in ending sexual violence. So many amazing women have led this cause for so long and it is time for more men to join with these women to end a crime that affects people of every walk of life. We know that most men are good men who do not sexually assault but this does not mean that we good men shouldn’t become involved in this issue and have conversations with our peers to help invoke and continue the change that is happening around this issue.