Why thousands of people are speaking out against this NHS poster

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Thursday 31 July 2014 17:00
news

A petition calling on the government to remove all pictures of a "victim blaming" poster has gained more than 65,000 signatures in just a few days.

The black and white awareness image first ran between 2005-2007 as part of the NHS and Home Office’s anti-alcohol Know Your Limits campaign and is still on display in several hospitals, GP surgeries and universities. It claims that “one in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking”.

But Cambridge University student Jack May, who started the Change.org petition last week, says the slogan is "a blatant and appalling case of victim blaming by our own Government, putting the onus on the victim rather than the perpetrator".

Addressing Home Secretary Theresa May and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt directly, May argues:

Two honourable intentions - to stop people drinking, and to stop rape happening - are being completely deformed. Of course we don't want people to drink so much they make themselves ill, but threatening them with rape by implication is not the way to do it. Of course we don't want anyone to endure sexual assault and rape, but making them feel like it's their fault if they do, is so far out of order.

Since the petition went live several people have contracted Jack to say they've seen the poster in Exeter College, Oxford as well as in a GUM clinic in Plymouth. It has also caught the attention of several people on Twitter - notably the Fawcett Society and former solicitor general Vera Baird.

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