Midweek Media: an anti-rape campaign that focuses on men

BitterBuffalo has found an anti-rape campaign that focuses on what men can do to prevent rape. This should be the norm, but instead most campaigns focus on what women can do to avoid rape, which is sick not only because it puts the responsibility on the targets of crime rather than the criminals, but also because when criminals are denied one target, they just move onto another. So there is worse than no point in advising the targets of crime on avoidance.

This campaign from MenCanStopRape.org is different:

It shows four couples. Above each couple is the slogan “My strength is not for hurting.” At the bottom is the slogan “Men can stop rape.” In all the images, the men look directly into the camera while the women look off to the side.

The first couple is a young Asian man and woman. It says, “So when she changed her mind, I stopped.” The second couple is a young white man and woman with dark hair. It says, “So when she was drunk, I backed off.” The third couple is a young man of color and a white man, and it says, “So when I wanted to and he didn’t, we didn’t.” The fourth a final couple is a young white blond man and woman, and it says, “So when I paid for our date, she didn’t owe me.”


  1. The Other Patrick says

    I really like these ads. With normal anti-rape ads, I often think that I never see billboards advertising: “If you want to reduce your chances of being victim to drunk driving, don’t cross the street at night” – instead, we see “don’t drink and drive”.

  2. Miss Gradenko says

    Those are inspiring. The other thing I liked (besides the obvious fact that they focus on men) is that they don’t water down masculinity. The slogan “My strenght is not for hurting” seems very much in line with a healthy attitude about manliness, but the beautiful thing I percieved is that it completely shuts down machismo. Yes, you have a certain strength if you’re a man, but using that strength to force yourself on women is stupid and wrong, it seems to say.

  3. Brand Robins says

    When I first saw this campaign I was quite excited. I showed it to many friends.

    One of them immediately said “The problem is it focuses on rape as a thing men do. Women rape too.”

    To which I replied, after a long pissed off pause, “Sure. But there are only 4 posters. To keep it correct, statistically, they have to do 72 more* before they do ones about how women shouldn’t rape either.”

    Which may have been snide of me. Because this friend has a friend who was raped by a woman. But still, I couldn’t help feel that the objection lead less to a line of “yes we should try to stop all rape” as it did to a line of “but women rape too so we really shouldn’t say anything to men until we fix that.”


    Anyway, I still love the ads.

    *I don’t know that the math there makes sense. I was making numbers up.

    • says

      The stats on child molestation are:

      1 in 20 men goes around raping kids
      1 in 3300 women goes around raping kids

      I wouldn’t think a higher percentage of women would have much success raping grown men than they would raping children, given the strength differentials. (I know, I know – the usual MO for women raping men is to get them drunk, but if/when strength comes into it, the average woman will be at a disadvantage with the average man.)

          • H says

            Do you have a link to the research where those figures are from? I did read through some of the research on that site and I haven’t been able to find what study they’re using for their figures.

          • says

            H, no, I don’t – I had the same experience with the site as you. The problem is, there are plenty of studies about how many people get raped, but way too few about how many people are rapists. These are the only stats I’ve ever seen regarding women rapists at all. Ever.

          • Shaun says

            That may be so, but the statistics on how many children get raped/molested by women make the 1 in 3300 figure unlikely. If 6-14% of molested children are assaulted by women, and only 1 in 3300 women is a molester, then those women are raping a LOT of children. An average of 26 or so in the US, actually.

          • says

            Except, Shaun, that many child molesters are far more prolific than that. In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman states that “many child molesters victimize hundreds of children”, citing a study which found that molesters in their 40s had an average of one victim per month since their teen years (when sex offenders typically start). In the book notes, he says those numbers came “from an interview with Malcolm Gordon, a psychologist at the Violence and Traumatic Stress Branch of the National Institute of Health.” Goleman says nothing about the gender of the molesters, which suggests to me that the women are about as prolific as the men.

            Goleman also mentions a bus driver and a school teacher who, between them, molested hundreds of children in one single year.

            From http://www.darkness2light.org/knowabout/statistics_2.asp:

            * Nearly 70% of child sex offenders have between 1 and 9 victims; at least 20% have 10 to 40 victims. (23)
            * An average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.

            So 26 women per child sounds about right to me, as an average.

    • Lika says

      I’m sorry that your friend was raped. It’s awful no matter if it’s a man or a woman who did it.

      I’m not sure if the point of the poster was to stop all rapes as it was to address the attitude of entitlement and the issues of consent that can lead to rape. I could be totally wrong here (so feel free to correct me), but I don’t think most women who commit rape do so out of a sense of entitlement (i.e. s/he owes me sex) or because they’re fuzzy on the issue of consent (i.e. I didn’t know having sex when s/he was drunk and couldn’t say no was rape.)

      I would think most women who commit rape do it so deliberately, so the message of taking a personal responsibility to prevent rape wouldn’t be applicable to them, the same way I don’t think that message is applicable to serial or sadistic rapists.

      But on the subject of entitlement, consent, and personal responsibility, I think it’s a kick ass poster. I’m glad to see someone spelling it in out the clear that no, you’re not entitled to sex because you bought dinner, yes sex with someone who’s drunk and therefore can’t give proper consent is wrong, and if they don’t want to, you don’t force them.

      • Shaun says

        I also have a male friend who was raped by a woman. He was drunk and she was sober, so it’s very possible she didn’t view it as rape (and I wish I’d known enough to call it such at the time).

        I have a disturbingly large number of friends who were raped. Every other one (that I know of) was raped by a man or men.

        Regardless of individual anecdotes, the overwhelming majority of rapes are committed by men, and that’s what this campaign is addressing. I don’t think it’s somehow defective because it can’t address the reasons behind 100% of rapes (how could it?). It doesn’t demean the victims of female rapists to try to stop men from raping, and such an attitude smacks of “If you can’t save the world don’t do anything at all.”

        I still think we need to have rape defined to teenagers of BOTH genders in a comprehensive way, but the presence or absence of that message doesn’t make this campaign any less awesome.

      • says

        It’s a big assumption to make, that men who rape do that because of some misunderstanding around issues of entitlement and consent (whereas women don’t suffer these “miscommunications”).

        Rapists of any gender or orientation rape because they want to rape. They get off on the power dynamic and they get off on the humiliation of the other party.

        But the people around them allow them to justify their actions as misunderstandings, miscommunications, issues of excessive drinking or lack of social boundaries, etc.

        I think this campaign will be more effective on the friends of rapists than on rapists themselves. It will force the non-rapist enablers, those who don’t say anything when they see Joe got the his room with a girl who’s blind drunk again, or watch Sam put his hand up a girl’s skirt while she sqeuals and “jokingly” tries to get away, from keeping schtum in those situations. Or at least, that’s my hope, because I think that would be a genuinely successful strategy in exposing and marginalising people who get off on non-consensual sex.

        • The Other Patrick says

          Hm, I don’t know. I think this ad campaign doesn’t address the person who rapes for power, but more those who aren’t aware of their actions as rape, or who feel entitled to “getting some”. These people, I would think, don’t set out to rape another person and hence this campaign might (!) reach them.

        • Lika says

          It’s a big assumption to make, that men who rape do that because of some misunderstanding around issues of entitlement and consent (whereas women don’t suffer these “miscommunications”).

          I didn’t mean to imply that men who rape did it out misunderstanding (and I acknowledge that my assumption that women don’t suffer those “miscommunication” is probably wrong.) I was saying some men do and this poster applies more to those men, but you’re right, Mr. Fuzzy About Consent and Mr. “The bitch owed me sex for the money I spent on her” rape because they want to rape, and use entitlement and confusion as a way of justifying their actions.

          It will force the non-rapist enablers, those who don’t say anything when they see Joe got the his room with a girl who’s blind drunk again, or watch Sam put his hand up a girl’s skirt while she sqeuals and “jokingly” tries to get away, from keeping schtum in those situations.

          Good point. At the very least, it tells people these are no longer excuses for rape, and the rapist can make a choice to keep from hurting others and therefore is responsible for his or her action.

          • says

            The poster is speaking at least as much to rape apologists as rapists. You know, the friends, coaches, relatives and neighbors of rapists who say, “Well, she teased him for three hours then decided no. Frankly, between you and me…” and so on. I have no idea how many rapists bother to come up with a justification for rape, but rape apologists certainly do.

            That’s “rape culture.” Changing it won’t make rapists turn into nice people, but it will make it harder for them to get away with it. Not just legally, but socially: without rape culture, even a rapist who beats the legal rap might be shunned by peers. Suddenly, for the first time in history, rapists would have a lot to lose by being rapists. If rape culture continually, gradually fell apart, I think victims would feel more comfortable reporting and juries would feel more comfortable convicting Nice White Boys along with the Other men they’re so happy to convict already.

            The poster’s trying to help create a world without rape culture. Directly or indirectly, such a world *would* reduce rape.

  4. Sabrina says

    This is fantastic! :’D

    Sure, it might not cover all kinds of rape as pointed out in a comment above – but it’s certainly a big chunk of it. I’d rather have them to start somewhere than doing no campaign at all.

    Apparently they’ve already been around for a while. It’s a pity that these kind of organizations are so much less popular than the omnipresent advices for women to avoid being raped.

    • Shaun says

      I’m EXTRA excited they addressed rape in the context of homosexual relationships too. Best anti-rape campaign ever? Quite possibly.

      • says


        I also–cynic that I am–think it addresses the kinds of rape where you *can* change the potential rapist’s mind. People who *set out* to rape are not the sort of people who can, I think, be reformed or redeemed, certainly not by public awareness campaigns. What this campaign does is get the guys who think it’s “not *really* rape because [she wanted to before, we were in a relationship, I bought her dinner, blah blah blah]” and, as Marina points out, the friends/enablers.

        Which is a major step forward.

        • says

          It’s true that many rapists can’t be changed (at least not by methods we’ve discovered to this point), but they DO adjust their tactics according to what they think they can get away with. By chipping away at the pro-rape culture, this ad helps shrink the world in which rapists feel they can rape without repercussion, or even have tacit approval from society.

  5. The Other Patrick says

    So I just linked this campaign on my blog, and I really don’t get many comments, but I immediately got this (paraphrased/translated from German):

    “Stupid campaign. Men know rape is wrong, and whoever is not scared by long prison terms won’t stop because of these posters. At least women can do something not to get raped.”

    To which I explained the posters a little more, saying how some people might find it natural to do what the posters suggested not doing, and end up raping someone without actually wanting to rape someone. And then he replied:

    Women don’t think that, if something happens after a little flirting and some drinks, something bad happened.

    And a changed opinion might change again. Of course you shouldn’t force her to do anything, but you also don’t need to stop right away, even the women don’t want that.
    I learned from women that “no” means “not yet, maybe in 5 minutes” or “not yet that, I’m not ready, proceed slowly”, or “convince me”. It might also mean “No”.

    But these posters miss the wishes of men and women and the realities of life. Women hate it if you stop too early.

    Wow. Welcome to the target audience, I guess. I had to really rein myself in not to unload on the guy, and I still might if he answers again.

    • The Other Patrick says

      Seems the guy is a pick-up artist who explains his “game” with evolutionary psychology. That explains a lot. Sadly.

      • says

        Oh, Patrick, that sounds like Dmitri the Lover. He’s crazy, and you should feel free to unload or delete his comment, or whatever feels right to you. And he’s not sincerely confused about this stuff – he’s just deeply misogynistic. If he comments further, it’ll only get worse.

  6. The Other Patrick says

    I’m already in a long conversation here, and I did warn him I would delete his comments if he went overboard. My patience is running low already, but since he meanders from topic to topic, I figured I’d keep him visible for now just to posit a good (or bad) example.

    The most recent comment was that the “Yes means yes” campaign was about asking for permission every step of the way, i.e. during sex, anything a man does would have to be preceded by a “can I kiss you now?” etc. And then he argued that pick-up artistry could be regarded as feminist since at least one book he read said you should be friendly to women and, if they say now, move on to the next one.


  7. says

    I really appreciate the message of these ads-to make casual rapists rethink their actions. But it REALLY REALLY bugs me how NONE of the women in these ads are looking directly into the camera while ALL the men are. It makes them invisible to me-meaning, I’m looking at the guys looking at me, and then noticing that the women…aren’t. It’s too confrontational for them to be looking out at the camera as well?

    • says

      Actually, I had a different reaction. I thought the staging was to make it clear: this message is coming to you from other MEN, not women. That way, boys who have been brought up to dismiss and ignore women – and yes, this is still happening, particularly in certain cultures – may take the message more seriously.

      This is not an argument – just sharing a reaction.

      • says

        Oh, I understand *why*-to emphasize that it’s a message to the men in the audience. But yes; if the women looked at the camera, it would send another message. But my original reaction is still one of annoyance, even while knowing that.

  8. The Other Patrick says

    Okay, I just had to share. I’ve just been told that I was using my male privilege when I want men and women to communicate about sex, to clearly state yes and no because women who articulate their sexual desires are shamed as sluts. Hence, men better not ask women what they want and take charge so the women don’t run risk of being made to feel bad about their sexuality.

    You have to admit it you’ve got to have balls to argue this. Literally.

      • says

        This is a very old argument, actually. The idea is that since women get branded as sluts for willfully having sex, but they really want sex, men are doing them a favor to “force” sex on them.

        This may have sounded plausible a few decades ago, but now? The only ways I can imagine a man getting this idea are:

        (1) It’s convenient rationalization for rape, and he’s a rapist, so there you go; or
        (2) No one’s ever willingly had sex with him, but he believes (like so many rapists do) that all his victims secretly wanted him, therefore concludes that “no” doesn’t really mean “no.”

        I mean, this is exactly saying you held a Catholic at gun point, and he cried and pleaded that he didn’t want to die, but you knew that secretly he did want to die, so you shot him to death, which was really doing him a favor since suicide is against his religion. Which is, you know, wrong on so many levels.

        • says

          Yes, but then they add the feminist language and apply it to the 2000s. Yes, there is slut-shaming, but that doesn’t mean that all girls are secretly desperate to get raped. Did this person miss the day in gender studies when consent was brought up?

          Really, it’s just the pro-rape argument using feminist language that makes my head explode.

          • The Other Patrick says

            Well, on the positive side, I finally have my first banned user. I feel all grown up.

            While I was away, he actually quoted Judith Butler at me and claimed to deconstruct gender roles by winkingly taking the stereotypical male role, and then said it was okay that I hadn’t considered that since men can have problems seeing their privilege.

            I don’t even know if he believes that or if he’s just trying to convince himself that when he’s allowing women to say “no” and not mean it, he’s not raping them. After all, he hasn’t heard any complaints yet…


            Well, as I said, first ban.

    • The Other Patrick says

      He can’t even be banned from sending me comments, it seems, though they no longer go through. Just as well, as he finally raised his true colors high above the sky. His most recent blocked comment says that maybe women just like being hunted and simply play at being shy. Yeah.

      I’m sorry for imposing here, Jennifer, I’m sure you get these comments all the time and in much greater number, and I’ve read loads of them all over the net, but getting them at my own site is somehow still a new experience.

      • The Other Patrick says

        By the way, ever since banning the guy I have received formspring questions about my feminism, what kind of woman I would want as a partner (and if I’d prefer a fat one or a slim one), what my connections are to my most frequent commentors, how many readers I have, and why I don’t give serious answers to their questions. Heh. It seems these people just cannot fathom someone who might actually disagree with them.

        • Casey says

          I think I’m having the same kind of problems on DeviantArt…sorta. Some guy made a “Perfect Girl” meme where you draw in the body parts you want for your ideal girl. A whole bunch of people (myself included) called him out for his misogyny but he keeps saying “misogyny is hatred of women! I love to have sex with women therefore I’m not a misogynist!” and “women have been objectified for 5000 years! It’s no big deal!” and “Asexuals are sociopaths whose hormones must be corrected!” (don’t ask)

          When I finally gave up on trying to argue my point that he was in the wrong he said “YAY! You finally give up! You talk to me so much I thought you were in love with me! Go do something better with your time instead of being a feminist! Go get a boyfriend and have orgasmic sex!”

          Just….UGH!!! I wanna Vince McMahon his head.

  9. Casey says


    What’s really enraging is he accused ME of trolling simply because I repeatedly called him out on his bullshit. Then he told me he’s 25 years old with a degree in anthropology and psychology, which makes everything he says GOLD and everything I say moot. He also made a “Perfect Boy” meme wherein you do the same thing and I said “I don’t think equal objectification makes what you’re doing any better.” and he said “But we are ALL objects! Just carbon and water sacks, made of things you buy in the drug store!” LOL WAT.

    Some OTHER guy complained that I was a cunt-feminazi who deserved being slapped around and that I give TRUE feminists a bad name…ick.

  10. Casey says

    Okay, now the meme guy and the guy who called me a feminazi made friends with each other and told me to “hate less and fuck more”.

    I don’t know how to contact the DA mods and get these guys banned unless I have a payed-for account…>_>VV

    • says

      This contact form appears to work without paying anything:

      Here’s DA’s policy. Just refer to it and copy some of their posts, and that should get it taken care of. Unless I’ve missed something obvious.

      We must insist that you refrain from comments which are racist, bigoted, or which otherwise offensively target a philosophy or religion. In addition we ask that our members avoid making offensive remarks based on gender or sexual preference and that you do not make any remark, comment or critique which is intended to be a direct insult to an individual, group, or genre of artwork. Hate propaganda is met with zero tolerance. Comments which are overly aggressive, personally insulting or needlessly abusive are also prohibited.

      If you feel that you have been the target of harassment, personal insults or other severe behavior please notify the staff by using the official deviantART helpdesk. Please be aware that the staff will only directly intervene in cases which are considered severe; minor situations may be dealt with using tools made available to all registered members.

      • Casey says

        Oh good, because sexist and ableist comments aside, the meme-maker also went on a diatribe about the “Zionist conspiracy” (yay antisemitism[/sarcasm]).

    • The Other Patrick says

      I read that! Though I didn’t know they meant you. But yes, hate less and fuck more – vile stuff.

      I’ll contact DA as well, maybe it helps.

        • The Other Patrick says

          Hey, it was a good opportunity to use my DA account for something else than looking at erotic photographs, just once. (which is why I didn’t ask your account name; you’d look at my profile and might not like me any more :))

          • Casey says

            IDK, I clicked on your blog a while ago and found some pretty horrific shit, but I still know you’re a good guy (if that makes any sense :P).

            I would gladly be DA friends with you. :)

          • The Other Patrick says

            What? My blog? Damn, you don’t still remember what kind of shit, do you? Now I’m self-conscious.

          • sbg says

            It’s too bad more people can’t adopt the YKINMK readily.

            Also: How gross. You like erotic photographs? I can’t take knowing this about you.

            /scuttles off cackling and delete, delete, deleting her porny fiction.

  11. Casey says

    Okay, some guy is saying that the memes are only narcissistic/materialistic at worst. He wants me to explain what makes them sexist…WHAT DO?
    (I’m afraid if I tell him I’m not obligated to explain anything to him he’ll call me a wimp or a hypocrite or something :()

    • says

      Casey, if that’s just someone on the board yapping, I’d ignore it. Just deal with the mods at this point and see if they ban or delete posts. That’s just my rec, because you’re clearly dealing with people who would say ANYTHING to piss you off and waste your time. If you explained how it’s sexist in a way no one could possibly deny, they’d still deny it.

      Although GardenGoblin’s response is tempting. 😉

      • Casey says

        Thanks, I already sent a notice to the mods, so I figure I’ll just ignore the haters and sit back and wait for this guy to get ban-hammered.

        • The Other Patrick says

          Deviantart responded:

          “Usually we encourage members of deviantART to handle these types of issues using the tools which are available for your use before the staff become actively involved.

          You’ll find that all members have access to a Blocking tool which will prevent this person from directly contacting them again any where on the site. Our FAQ contains instructions on this tool here http://help.deviantart.com/96/

          Members also have access to a Comment Hiding tool to address comments which or discussions which happen within your profile pages which you do not particularly care for and wish to remove. Instructions for this tool can also be found in our FAQ here http://help.deviantart.com/160/

          For the “average” problem which comes up with other members of the community we’ve found that blocking, hiding comments and removing oneself from the situation usually solves the problem and we encourage people to use these tactics before contacting the staff for further assistance”

          • Casey says

            What DA’s really saying: “BLIGGITY-BLARGHITY-BLOO”

            They don’t give a fuck, and I don’t neither. (the troll stopped trollan’ and I was able to move on with my life, but I’m still resentful toward the mods, LOL)

  12. Casey says

    @The Other Patrick

    It was a girl in a steel cage thing being dunked into a giant tank of water, I think. (it’s the look of anguish on the girls’ faces that are really triggering for me)

    (BTW that whole “you might not like me anymore” thing sounded kind of back-handed…like I’ll jump on you for liking “dirty/kinky pictures” just like I did that guy, which is SO NOT IT! I like a lot of “problematic” things (like hentai) and gratuitous real person slash (and men in lingerie *COUGH COUGH HARUMPH*), and I admit I do feel like a hypocrite sometimes because of it, but I figure if someone says something like “hey, this is kinda fucked up” and you don’t get all defensive and use blatantly ignorant/sexist jargon to explain yourself (thereby making yourself look worse, like that guy did) then it’s okay? Am I making any sense? >_<VV

    • The Other Patrick says

      Yeah, I was a little facetious there, but really, it’s a pretty shallow profile. (Berandor is my DA name)

      Oh, what you’re referring to is, I believe, the image I used for my film review of Graphic Sexual Horror – a documentary about the porn site Insex.com. Phew! :) It’s just a film still I used so people interested in the film know what they’re getting into – the text warns, too, that it’s not for the faint of heart, though I found the documentary to be very interesting.

      If you look at my DA profile, I hope you see I normally go for more artistic fetish fotography… ahem. :)

      • Casey says

        Yeah, I remember there being a trigger warning right above the post, I assumed you’d do that for most the stuff you put up there.

    • The Other Patrick says

      And let me add that the documentary is interesting – though potentially triggering – because of how it addresses the issue of consent at this specific bdsm site. there is a scene that is, though not as graphic, extremely harrowing to watch where a girl almost breaks down in front of the camera after her limits are disregarded, and then is pressured to keep filming. Just as a warning!

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