The New York Campaign to End Sexual Assault is Highly Disturbing

Earlier this year, New York City launched a campaign to stop sexual violence. The problem? The message is all wrong.

The point of the campaign is to try to encourage others to step in when they see sexual harassment in action, or when they see women in a potentially dangerous situation. There are so many problems with this, I don’t even know where to begin.

Like so many messages about sexual assault, the responsibility is on the woman, and now her friends, to stop sexual assault. It’s her job to not dress too provocatively, to not drink too much, too not walk home alone at night. We’ve been taught so many rules about how to protect ourselves and our friends, but this puts all the pressure on women to prevent assault.

And if we are getting harassed, it’s us that have to leave. We have to flee the scene or else face the consequences. We cannot simply enjoy our night without getting harassed because that’s apparently just a part of life that we’ve all accepted.

sexual assault campaign

But what about the rapists? Why is nobody targeting them? How about a campaign telling men not to rape? How about telling men to respect women as equals and not to treat them as sex objects?

This campaign is exactly the problem with our society. So many believe that if a woman is raped, it is her fault. She must have done something to provoke it, after all. She was asking for it, right?

Even when women go to court against their rapists, they must defend themselves. Their not victims, they’re co-conspirators.

But that’s not all that’s wrong about New York’s campaign. The wording implies that women need to be saved. That we need to be protected. That we’re weak.

We are not weak. We fight back and eat rapists for breakfast. We started #MeToo and got Harvey Weinstein fired and outcasted from society. We called out Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Ed Westwick, and Ryan Seacrest. We don’t take shit from anyone.

It’s time that society stops targeting women and start coming after the men who rape. We must switch the focus to the problem and not look for band-aid solutions.

And luckily, the internet agrees. Many have taken to Twitter to condemn the campaign for confirming everything that’s wrong with society. A few of the particularly good ones included:

Rape culture is real. Just ask any woman on Twitter or Instagram, who has most likely been sent heinous and repugnant DMs. And just because you get your friend home safe doesn’t mean that the rapist hasn’t moved on to their next victim.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.