So… there’s so much (informed and uninformed) opinionaters on Rape in South Africa – and ways in which these conversations come alive among your (anti) social networks. One fellow thought he would weigh-in on the Rape-rant by voicing his disapproval of the South African Breweries (SAB) Corporate Social Responsibility billboard that pushes all the right buttons for underage drinking, women abuse and rape.
“Hey SAB! Were you OUT OF YOUR MIND putting up a billboard intimating that girls who get drunk are somehow choosing to get raped? Last time I checked, it was the RAPIST doing the deciding. In one fell swoop, you’ve managed to uphold rape culture AND lay the blame on women. Do you have any idea what kind of message this sends out to the countless women who’ve had to endure what you’re calling a ‘decision’? Congratulations. I wish I could simply call you imbeciles and be done with it, but that’s too innocent a word for what you are.”
I picture him in his skinny jeans, non-prescription specs and a plaid shirt with some or other morning’s Pronutro crusting on a buttonhole. He likes what he sees in the mirror and fancies himself quite the intellect. Before we go any further – to safeguard his potential embarrassment while allowing him his democratic right to continue on in his blinkered state – I will from this point onward refer to (beep) as Mr. Igno Rant.
Mr. Rant has gotten way too carried away with his very own self-congratulatory effort to cause a commotion. As an Advertising geek who has had a look at the Brand and Social Responsibility message by SAB, I suggest you consider this:
a) is not diverting the blame from these bastards who take matters into their own hands
b) is highlighting the already-ablaze epidemic of rape in this country, and
c) is admitting – from a CSI vantage point – that alcohol may play a role in contributing to victims.
Alcohol doesn’t for one moment give men an easy-out excuse for rape, citing for example that the victim was drunk and therefore to blame. It simply highlights the obvious: when inebriated, women may not have their wits at hand – something that these loser predators undoubtedly count on. Furthermore, Rant has neglected to appreciate the message for underage drinking and the perps that do nothing about it but fill their cash registers. Let those who sell alcohol to minors see this billboard too, find their conscience and stop contributing to the problem.
You may raise an eyebrow at my silly-man-bashing and accuse me of what I myself deplore so vehemently: bullying. No. I am not being a bully. I am disturbed and horrified that those who choose to make a noise about something they have given absolutely no thought to still have the dangerous power through the viral message in social media to incite enough other non-thinkers to make a noise and flap to that side of the fence.
Let me be clear: there is never a bad time to talk about Rape.
Also, I speak from my heart and soul when I say that a man who can’t comb his hair in the morning shouldn’t be taken too seriously – but rather that it is the lack of response of a nation to an issue that should have mobilised us years ago… now that’s what I really care about. Still, Ignor has meticulously highlighted the issue that people would rather suck their teeth and shake their empty heads in disgust at, because of the distaste of a brand to bring such attention to a very real problem. Truth is Ignor, this is an industry that has the potential to shine a very bright light on an issue that our useless government is far too quiet about, every single day. Don’t you think that that’s something you should embrace?
I congratulate SAB and the creatives at their agency who have shown that, in South Africa, a pair of balls can still be used for good.
© Dylan Balkind