The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has pulled a controversial ad that it was using as part of a public awareness campaign encouraging responsible drinking. The ad ended with a picture of a woman's bare legs and her underwear down around her ankles. Some questioned whether the ad blamed rape victims for getting into a dangerous situation while diminishing the responsibility of the attacker.
However, not everyone agreed. Jennifer Storm, executive director of the Harrisburg-based Victim/Witness Assistance Program, called the ad "kind of brilliant."
"I don't think the campaign itself places any blame on the victim, and in fact, the last slide clearly states this is not the victim's fault. Some pig, some offender — I think they actually use the word 'pig' — an offender has violated her, which is a crime," said Storm.
Liquor Control Board spokesperson Stacey Witalec said that the LCB pulled the spot after receiving calls from rape victims complaining that the ad offended them. She said that the ad was not run without being fully scrutinized first.
"We heard from our target population of 21 to 29 year olds, that this was a message that resonated with them because so many had the unfortunate situation of living through it themselves, or having a friend live through it," said Witalec.
Storm said that the ad was a good tool for those who fail to imagine how a night of drinking can go wrong. "We want young people to think things through, and often times, that's not something that most young people do, if we're being honest, and I think what this does is, in a very clean and concise way, thinks through the worst-case scenario, which we know, all too often, happens," said Witalic.
Witalec says that no taxpayer dollars were used in the making of the campaign, because the LCB is self-funded. It is part of a multi-year $600,000 campaign to raise awareness about liquor issues.