Motivated by fury, not despair

I’ve thought about writing a lot over the past week as my latest Osama missive, but I haven’t, but luckily now I am full of bile and rage today. Okay, you know how angry the new ‘Lisa’ ALAC ad makes me, with its very clear implication that it is Lisa’s fault that she is assaulted in an alleyway, because she was drinking? It’s something that Julie at The Handmirror has been fighting against too. It was bad enough that when ALAC finally responded, it was a really badly cut & paste job (neither of us actually ‘called’), but today I received a letter in response to my official complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The Complainant said that sexual assault (even if it is only inferred) has no place in an advertisment where there is no warning as to content.

Duplicate Complainants raised similar issues (Um, wtf? That is NOTHING to do with my complaint)

The relevant provisions were Basic Principle 4 and Rules 5, 7, and 11 of the Code of Ethics. (Actually, I complained under Principle 3: No advertisement should be misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive the consumer – as well as 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and to society.)

The Chairman acknowledged the Complainant’s concerns. However, in his opinion, the advertisment was simply a hard hitting but valid portrayal of self abuse (my emphasis) using alcohol that resulted in a situation in which a woman was left extremely vulnerable. In addition there was no actual sexual violence or exploitation perpetrated on screen therefore, in this instance, the Chairman was satisfied that the advertisment did not meet the threshold necessary to effect a breath of the Code of Ethics.

The Chairman ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed

Perhaps if the chairman had actually READ MY FUCKING LETTER it would have made more sense. One of my favourite parts of this whole thing is where the covering letter finishes “Do not contact me if you have any further queries”. Very, very, very helpful.

I know there are some people who don’t get my rage about this, so let me put it in personal terms that perhaps might make more sense. When I was 14, I was assaulted in the bathroom of a night club toilet. Should I have been in that bar? No. Was it therefore my fault? No. Did I deserve it? No. It’s the last two Nos that have taken me more than ten years to accept. I was assaulted because some fuckhead decided that he would push me up against the wall and shove his tongue down my throat because he felt like I was cockblocking him with my friend. I was assaulted because he thought he was God’s gift to women, or as he so charmingly put it “I’m so horny right now I’d fuck anyone”. I wasn’t asking for it, but because I was somewhere that I shouldn’t have been, I blamed myself for so long. It meant I didn’t feel okay talking about it, it meant that when similar things happened to me in later years to a lesser degree I figured that I must have done something wrong, that it was my fault, that it was what I deserved. I didn’t. And the fact that this ALAC ad pushes that idea further, that ‘Lisa’ was out drinking and being bad and therefore brought this on herself makes me feel really sick. I have far too many friends who’ve had similar experiences, both sober and drunk, where they’re left thinking that it was something that they did that brought it on themselves for me to just sit back and let this campaign go on. I have fought for a long time to regain my sense of self, so I’m damn well going to fight for other women to never have to feel like this, and I’m going to continue to fight.

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