Real Men Don’t Rape: A Postscript

Apropos our earlier look at the rhetoric of anti-rape advocacy, Sarah again pointed me in an interesting direction. This time to Vancouver, where a familiar campaign was launched last year. Echoing a similar phraseology (We Are Man; My Strength Is Not For Hurting; Real Men Know The Difference), this one says: Don’t Be That Guy. As is the vogue, the focus is principally on intoxication, nights out and not taking advantage, accompanied by cod-parental instruction: Just because you help her home, doesn’t mean you get to help yourself; and Just because she isn’t saying no doesn’t mean she’s saying yes; and Just because she’s drinking doesn’t mean she wants sex.

What’s interesting is that this exercise in ‘behavioural marketing’ is now seen as a success, and being given significant credit for an apparent 10% drop in rape rates since 2010. To wit:

The reversal in the trend related to sexual assaults reflected the impact of the new education program, better training for police officers and more effective investigation and enforcement, [Deputy Chief LePard] said.

The exact causal balance here is unclear, and there are no firmer details on this gendered accounting for us to work with. There still seem to be some good reasons for scepticism, but if anyone does know of more comprehensive studies on the impact of men-focused campaigns, do share. Particularly interested to hear of any research into the effects of similar behavioural marketing as part of mass anti-rape efforts in the midst of militarised-humanitarian intervention, whether in Congo or elsewhere.