NYC PSA Blames Sexual Assault On Drunk Women

According to a poster featuring a woman sitting slumped on a seat with her handbag lying carelessly beside her, drinking turns you into an invitation for assault.


The New York City Health Department has been campaigning against alcohol abuse for years. But one poster in particular has caught the eye of the public — and not in a good way.

The health department has been running its “One More Drink Can Hurt” campaign, which mostly targets men, since 2014. One ad features an angry man with a bottle of beer in his hand and his arm pulled back to deliver a punch, signifying that just one more drink can make you start a bar fight. 

Another ad features a person’s horrified face as a car is about to slam into his bike, showing that just one more drink can make you more likely to  be in a drunk driving incident.

But according to a poster featuring a woman sitting slumped on a seat with her handbag lying carelessly beside her, suggests that woman shouldn’t drink or else they might get subjected to assault.

Stephanie Buhle, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, told the Village Voice, the ad’s message was that "excessive drinking can result in someone passing out and being vulnerable to having valuables taken — and ending up in Coney Island when your stop was at Delancey.”

So, instead of warning people not to commit assault or stealing from vulnerable people, it is actually warning women not to drink too much — unless they wanted to get robbed or assaulted.

Unfortunately, this all too common occurrence of victim-blaming actually perpetuates sexual assault. When it comes to women being raped, common perception is it is hardly ever the perpetrator who is at fault. Sexual assault victims are routinely asked about what they were wearing, why they didn't fight off their attacker or how much they had to drink, and have comments made about their bodies and appearance.

“Our call to action in this campaign is to have New Yorkers watch out for their friends,” Buhle added. “In creating this scenario, we chose a large purse and a dangling cell phone to emphasize vulnerability.”

But, if the ads message is indeed to promote intervention in case of a crime, the message is certainly not getting across.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters 

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