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Billboard Shares Potent Message About Alcohol, Responsibility

Passersby cautioned, "Don't Be That Guy"
Passersby cautioned, “Don’t Be That Guy”

The interconnected problems of alcohol impairment and sexual assault are addressed in a powerful billboard at Penn College, funded with part of a $17,500 Alcohol Education Grant awarded last semester. “The message we need to convey is that, when you drink too much, you run the risk of losing control over yourself and your ability to respond to those around you,” said Carl L. Shaner, College Health Services director. The portable sign depicts a young woman, inebriated and unconscious, and contains the admonition, “Just because she isn’t saying no … doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.”  It’s a message that needs to be understood everywhere, Shaner noted: More than 97,000 people, ages 18-24, are victims of alcohol-related sexual assaults each year … and those statistics are increasing annually. “Every week, medical professionals, counselors and rape crisis centers see people who are feeling confused, ashamed and in pain because they experienced sexual violence. We’d like to prevent these occurrences in our community,” he said. “We believe everyone needs to be reminded that such attacks can happen – and, indeed, often happen – when alcohol is involved.” The Don’t Be That Guy campaign originated in 2010 through Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (Alberta, Canada). “SAVE’s messages convey many of the themes that we wish to convey here at Penn College, so partnering with them was a great opportunity,” Shaner added. “In collaboration with SAVE, the Penn College Sexual Assault Education Committee and a (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) grant, we have produced this billboard campaign as part of our effort to educate campus and reduce the incidence of sexual violence. We hope to raise awareness, challenge myths, fight victim-blaming, empower bystanders and unite survivors.”
Photo by Mark T. Kaylor, student photographer

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