Leicester academics argue sexualised drinks advertising undermines anti-rape campaigns
Environments which incite narratives of loss of control and hypersexuality compromise the ability to counter sexual offending, research suggests.
The study, conducted by Dr Clare Gunby, from our Department of Criminology, along with Anna Carline from Leicester Law School and Stuart Taylor of Liverpool John Moores University, looked into the effectiveness of anti-rape campaign messages in bars and clubs.
The paper, ‘Location, libation and leisure: An examination of the use of licensed venues to help challenge sexual violence’, has been published in Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal.
The study analysed focus group discussions of 41 male students aged 18-24, regarding a rape prevention campaign in Liverpool that directed its advice at males, and found that sexualised advertising undermined the call to end gendered violence.
The campaign used in the study was designed by Liverpool City Council in conjunction with the article authors and consisted of posters placed in male toilets and beer mats displayed in multiple youth-focused city centre bars and clubs, as well as across the city’s universities’ Student Unions for a period of three months.
Posters included the strap-line ‘Can’t answer? Can’t consent – sex without consent is rape’ while the tagline on the beer mats stated ‘sex without consent is a crime’.
The researchers found that although participants reacted well to the simple campaign message during the discussions, the impact of these materials being placed in bars and nightclubs may have been hindered by the consequence of alcohol and rendered invisible against the sexualised images and entertainment that comprise night-life.