There’s been plenty of discussion, on this site and elsewhere, about the blame culture of campaigns concerning rape. Rape victims have been told if they hadn’t got drunk or worn a slutty outfit they would never have been attacked. When this didn’t go down so well authorities tried to spread the blame by suggesting friends don’t let friends get drunk, friends don’t let friends wear slutty skirts etc. Of course friends don’t let friends get into dicey situations, but this is still victim blaming by proxy.
Rape is, however, not a subject you can put much of a positive spin on. A catchy slogan or eye-catching image is going to insult someone, or act as a trigger to others.
This brings me to the posters. Created as part of a campaign by California based Mystrength.org the posters show a variety of couples beneath words saying “My Strength is not for hurting”. It’s responsible, it features diversity (more than most campaigns let’s say) and it blames no-one.
In a sentence the My Strength campaign nudges men to be aware of their privilege. With concise quotes such as: “When she was too drunk to decide, I decided we shouldn’t” it demonstrates how sex only follows a conversation and therefore a form of relationship. Whether you have known each other a year or an hour clear consent is always essential.
Mystrength.org says, “We created this site to help you as a Man of Strength, so you can learn about other young men like yourself who are living a life based on equality, caring and respect. Here at MyStrength.org, you are an ally in taking action in your community to stop rape.”
Mystrength.org has been going for years now, why has it not been picked up and copied more? If we want gender equality and youth empowerment this is the type of project we need to get involved in and promote.
Please visit the site and give them feedback on the campaign and take a look around mystrength.org to learn more about the project.