Liquor board pulls controversial ad

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A Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board ad that suggests women engaging in a night of binge drinking could lead to unwanted sexual encounters, even date rape, has shaken up so much controversy that it was purged from the Web this week.

One Internet ad in particular -- showing a woman's bare legs, underwear at her ankles, flanked by text that reads, "She didn't want to do it, but she couldn't say no" -- wrongly put the blame for rape at the feet of the woman who was drinking too much, rather than the person who carried out the assault, according to some women.

"The image itself is very triggering for rape victims," said Julie Mastrine, a junior from Penn State University who was alerted to the ad by a university women's group called Peers Helping Reaffirm, Educate, and Empower, or PHREE.

"But the message that it's sending is one of victim-blaming. We live in a society that seems to preach, 'Don't get raped,' instead of, 'Don't rape,'" she said.

The ad was part of the PLCB's new "Control Tonight" campaign, whose central theme is that drinking too much in one sitting can lead to other problems -- fistfights, jail time, alcohol poisoning, even rape.

It urges moderation, and says that "calling the shots starts with you." It's aimed at young adults aged 21 to 29, the control board says.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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