Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Australian government plays the victim-blaming game

By Chloe Angyal

Watch this PSA, released by the Queensland State Government.
In case you're in class right now, or don't feel like watching a dramatization of rape, the audio is: "67% of teenagers have been abused or assaulted whilst under the influence of alcohol. Don't kid yourself. Buy your children alcohol, and they could pay the price."

My initial reaction was to yell "Holy shit!" in a room full of people. This exclamation was followed by a good two to three minutes of rare speechlessness.

And then I tried to think of how one might justify why this ad's message, or at least its intentions. Binge drinking among teens has been a huge issue in Australian politics for the past year; in fact, last year the government imposed a tax on mixed drinks (or "alcopops"), the result of which is that teens are now just opting for hard alcohol instead of for Mike's Hard Lemonade. So I can understand why an ad that aims to decrease alcohol consumption among teenagers might seem like a good idea.

But victim-blaming, and now, the all new parent-blaming, in which parents are deemed partially responsible for the rape of their children, is not the way to approach this problem. As for the claim that "67% of teenagers have been abused or assaulted while under the influence," those numbers seem unreasonably high, and I'd like to know how the reported survey defines "abuse or assault."
But statistics really aren't the point here. The point is that no one deserves to be raped, regardless of whether they purchase or consume alcohol.


At October 14, 2008 at 11:13 AM , Blogger frau sally benz said...

This PSA was really bad enough before it even got to the father. Then came a whole new level of WTF.

Like you, I understand what they're trying to do here, and I for one am not a big advocate of the "let me buy my children alcohol" thing, but WOW! Literally blaming the victim & her family for the rape is not only offensive, it's flat-out disgusting.

Yes, women, men, boys and girls should all be aware of what can happen when you drink. And, yes, parents should help empower their children to make the right decisions, but this is just getting ridiculous.


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