The UK organization This is Abuse has launched a new rape-awareness campaign geared towards 13-18 year olds. Central to the campaign are videos that enact situations that teens may commonly face. In the video below, a boy chooses to not to respect a girl’s wishes to stop the sexual encounter and rapes her. The male actor watches his actions from the outside, and attempts to tell himself to stop. As the video shows, no matter what has come before in this situation, no matter how “ok” the boy may think it is, sexual intercourse without consent is rape. Without her consent, he has no right to access her body in such a way.
The videos take a positive step in asking the person who has caused harm to change their behavior, rather than blaming the person to whom the harm is being done. It does however run the risk of presenting perpetrators as strictly male, and victims as strictly female. A new series of videos might demonstrate through other situations that sexual assault can occur between people of all genders and sexual orientations.
Like a previous campaign by Men Can Stop Rape, This is Abuse reaches out to a heterosexual male audience. Often this kind of onus is placed on women, who are usually positioned as the victims of rape, to “be more careful” in order to “avoid” rape. As Jezebel notes, the video moves away from a victim-blaming mentality:
Aside from the ad’s rawness, what stands out is that it’s aimed at boys. For once someone’s telling them not to rape, rather than telling girls not to drink or wear short skirts or go out by themselves.
The videos show that rape is not simply a “woman’s issue”, it is everyone’s issue. It is everyone’s responsibility to recognize rape and put an end to it.
Scary But Smart PSA Combats Teen Rape [Jezebel]