Calm Down: NHS Anti-Drinking Poster

The NHS has taken a fair amount of stick for their anti-drinking poster warning people of the dangers of rape when drinking is involved. Despite the fact that the poster is from a 2005 and 2007 campaign “Know Your Limits, people have now decided that it’s unfair, prejudicial and cruel.

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The reason that the poster has resurfaced is because the NHS have refused to apologise saying they “don’t see what the problem is” for what some are calling controversial, victim blaming and sexist:

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Jack May, a student at Cambridge University, recently created a petition demanding that the NHS: “Remove all copies of this poster and stop victim blaming”. The appeal has gained more than 94,000 signatures, which they believe, should result in the removal of the posters and an apology. The issue with Jack’s petition is there seems to be a mix up in what the group actually want to achieve. Firstly: “Remove all of the copies of this poster…” is obviously easily enough to understand, but it’s the “…stop victim blaming” part however, that has me rather confused.


When I look at this poster: I see a campaign that is trying to educate me on the fact that “one in three reported rapes happen when the victim has been drinking”. What I don’t see is this “victim blaming” that Jack and others want an apology for. Perhaps it’s the image of a woman rather than a man? Or the “Alcohol: Know Your Limits” slogan at the bottom of the poster suggesting that you – the victim – should know how much you can handle before you become an easy target? The problem with that argument is: it’s as watertight as a bloody colander because it removes any responsibility from the victim.

There has to be an understanding that if you do decide to go out and have a few drinks that you either don’t have so much that you aren’t aware of what’s going on around you, or, make sure you don’t travel alone.

“But why does the victim have to change their lifestyle to suit the people actually in the wrong?” I hear some misinformed cretin scream.

The reason is: These campaigns are all designed to provide you with helpful information for your benefit. Not getting smashed because you become an easy target is basically like advising that staying in a group a people is obviously safer than being on your Jack Jones. If you’re with other people, you become a far more difficult target to rob, rape, or whatever because there are x-amount of eyewitnesses or people who’d kick the shit out of the attacker. Why people seem to think it’s a chore to have a tiny amount of common sense when it comes to these issues because it “affects my human right to do/dress/act how I want” is maddening.

(To paraphrase Bill Burr)

Yes. In a perfect world you could get totally smashed, meander through London at 3 in the morning, pass out, and wake up 4 hours later with a warm blanket wrapped round you. But, that isn’t the world we live in.

And, if you choose to ignore the information provided then yes, you’re partly to blame.

Tom Hunt
Tom Hunt
Tom has written damning articles for various websites and now writes here. Interesting right?