I‘ve been traveling, so I’m a bit late getting to the whole “Don’t Be That Girl” poster controversy in Edmonton. For those of you who don’t already know all about it: A group called Men’s Rights Edmonton, closely associated with our favorite Men’s Rights hate site A Voice for Men, has been putting up some pretty obnoxious posters parodying an anti-rape poster campaign called “Don’t Be That Guy,” turning the anti-date rape message into one that targets alleged false accusers of rape.
Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams has a pretty good dissection of the whole thing here. As she notes, one of the biggest problems with the “Don’t Be That Girl” posters is
the idiotic defensive assumption that [the original “Don’t Be That Guy”] campaign expressly created to educate men and women about consent merits a hateful, finger-pointing response. And it makes the classic presumption that getting drunk, hooking up and then crying rape is a standard chick operating procedure — an idea that is based, by the way, on no solid statistical evidence.
That’s as good as far as it goes, but I would go a bit further:
I don’t think that MRAs are really concerned about false accusations. If they were, they would be working with groups like the Innocence Project that actually help men (and women) who have been wrongly convicted for crimes they didn’t commit.
No, it seems to me that what they’re really worried about is true accusations.
MRAs, with these posters, and with their endless whinging about the alleged complexities of sexual consent, are trying to push back against the date rape awareness campaigns of the last several decades. MRAs and PUAs like to pretend that consent is a complicated and weirdly arbitrary thing — something that women decide to bestow or not to bestow on a whim, and that women sometimes like to retract after the fact.
Feminists say that whenever there is a question about whether or not you have consent, you need to stop and ask. MRAs and PUAs pretend that this somehow means the death of spontaneous sex if not all sex altogether.
Ironically, for all their complaining about the allegedly blurry line between consent and non-consent, many MRAs and PUAs want to keep that line as blurry as possible. But unlike feminists, who want the blurriness to be resolved before anything happens, most MRAs and PUAs seem to want “blurry” to count as “yes.” That is, unless a woman is shouting no, guys are good to go, and if a woman later says she was raped, it’s because she’s “That Girl” and she’s arbitrarily decided to revoke her consent after the fact.
That’s what’s so insidious about the “That Girl” poster campaign.
And that’s why those responding to it should point out the history of the people sponsoring the campaign. Men’s Rights Edmonton and its spokesperson, Karen Straughan (Girl Writes What) are both closely connected with A Voice for Men, which is actively helping coordinate MRA activism around the issue.
So it’s worth pointing out what A Voice for Men has previously posted about rape — and perhaps putting some of these things on posters.
AVFM founder and publisher Paul Elam blames date rape on its victims, writing in one notorious post — which regular readers here will no doubt remember — that women who are raped after drinking and going home with a man are “begging” to be raped:
I have ideas about women who spend evenings in bars hustling men for drinks … paying their bar tab with the pussy pass. And the women who drink and make out, doing everything short of sex with men all evening, and then go to his apartment at 2:00 a.m.. Sometimes both of these women end up being the “victims” of rape.
But are these women asking to get raped?
In the most severe and emphatic terms possible the answer is NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED.
They are freaking begging for it.
Damn near demanding it.
And all the outraged PC demands to get huffy and point out how nothing justifies or excuses rape won’t change the fact that there are a lot of women who get pummeled and pumped because they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.
Elam has also said that if he is ever on a jury in a rape case he will vote to acquit even if there is clear evidence that the accused is guilty, and he has urged other men to similarly “nullify.” Here is his exact quote:
Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.
The post of his in which this quote appeared is now missing from the AVFM site, but he has confirmed he’s said this elsewhere on the site. [EDIT: I’ve been informed that the original post is also available via the Wayback Machine here.]
Meanwhile, AVFM Editor in Chief John Hembling takes a certain pride in his callousness towards rape victims, and has gone so far as to make several videos in which he’s announced that he doesn’t care about rape, and that if he ever sees anyone being raped, he will simply walk on by. (You can find excerpts of both vidoes here.)
There are many other examples of the site’s utter contempt for rape victims, but perhaps the most telling is the site’s use of the term “rapetard” to describe people who take the issue of rape seriously.
The people behind the Don’t Be That Girl posters claim that they’re merely trying to protect innocent men from false accusers. Their real agenda is much more insidious than that.