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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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Fake Brady Campaign ads raise better questions about rape culture than gun culture


Rape Ads

Francis Emelogu/The Daily Cougar

If you aren’t angry, you haven’t seen them.

Two campaign ads have surfaced with the logo of the Brady Campaign, a gun control group. In one of these ads, there is a woman, obviously upset and curled up with a tissue in her hand, with the words “her dignity can be restored. His murder is forever. Guns are not the answer.”

Some people could debate what the word ‘dignity’ is referencing, but many women who have seen the ad believed it to reference rape or sexual assault. In the next ad, it isn’t difficult to pick up the meaning, as it says, “Rape can last 30 seconds. Murder lasts forever. Guns are not the answer.”

The only good thing about these ads is that they’re fakes.

The Brady Campaign has denounced both ads, saying they aren’t affiliated with the campaign. So the first thing we should recognize is it’s terrible that we thought the ads were real to begin with.

Women’s Resource Center Director Beverly McPhail said the ads “put the needs of the perpetrator over the victim” and that rape can last more than 30 seconds and that the effects will last longer than that.

“Some women develop post-traumatic stress disorder and begin self-medicating with alcohol because the pain is so bad,” she said.

But she also recognized there is a “general theme of using women’s bodies for political purposes, to score political points.” She was against the ads as a whole and, so it would seem, was everyone else who saw them. But it took the populace so long to notice they were fake, it raises the question of what is wrong with our society today to make this kind of trivialization of rape plausible in advertisement.

But it doesn’t completely surprise McPhail, who said we are so used to seeing women used in advertising cars or beers that some people would not have known immediately if the ads were a joke, just fake or real.

But the fact that we can use rape as a joke or to get back at a campaign we may not like is disgusting.

In Jodi Raphael’s book “Rape is Rape,” she interviews a woman named Tracy, who, after her rape, had trouble trusting anyone and was constantly afraid someone would hurt her. Another interviewee in her book, Riley, talked about her acquaintance rape and how it affected her cystic fibrosis.

At least these women reported their rapes.

McPhail said only about 20 percent of rapes actually go reported, making it the most underreported crime, and that 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetimes.

Victims often feel like it’s their fault, asking questions like “What did I do wrong? Was it what I was wearing? Was it because I was drinking?” These kinds of questions can plague women who have been raped.

This entire ordeal is life-changing and should never be used in ads like those used against the Brady Campaign. It’s not only distasteful but utterly revolting. Rape is not always a stranger jumping out from behind a bush with a gun; it can be — and usually is — someone the victim knows.

If she didn’t report her rape, she may have to see that perpetrator again. It’s traumatizing, and although they become survivors, there is no need to take something both serious and vile for those victims and turn it into a political weapon or a joke.

If you or someone you know is sexually assaulted or raped, call 911. Try not to shower; this may remove important evidence against the rapist. If you are upset about a sexual assault or rape, you can visit the Women’s Resource Center on the second floor of the North Student Center or Counseling and Psychological Services in Student Service Center 1 in Room 226.

 Opinion columnist Rachel Lee is an English sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The fake Brady Campaign ads can be found here.

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