Monitoring your drinking is important, health-wise; no good comes from taking in excessive amounts of alcohol (although many of us do it from time to time). But taking that stance and turning it into victim-blaming is not the way to go. That’s exactly what an anti-binge-drinking campaign by York Region did, though — and Twitter was not impressed.
York Region, a municipality near Toronto, tweeted about its campaign last month and shared a cautionary image featuring a young woman with the words, “It’s not just about keeping an eye on your drink but how much you drink. Don’t try to keep up with the guys.”
The goal of the campaign was to discourage binge-drinking among students, since the posters were hung at York University, and also to “remind” women to keep an eye on their drinks so creeps don’t drug them. But by targeting women and implying that binge-drinking leads to sexual assault, the municipality put the blame (and shame) squarely on victims who are sexually assaulted while under the influence — and not on perpetrators where it belongs.
Unsurprisingly, Twitter wasn’t having any of it. Users quickly shot back at York Region, expressing their anger over the campaign.
Many demanded that the ad be pulled.
Their anger ended up working (and rightfully so). The ad was pulled, and York Region issued an apology.
What’s interesting, though, is that the campaign passed through all the advertising channels and it took Twitter to point out just how irresponsible the ad was.
For now though, the ads are down. But the message was heard loud and clear. Victim-blaming or shaming a woman for her drinking and not holding men accountable has to stop. And we’re so happy these Twitter users spoke up and got this campaign abolished!