by David Raleigh
RAPE Crisis Mid West Director Miriam Duffy has strongly criticised imagery used in an online advertisement for last night’s student Christmas party, featuring an image of Santa grabbing the buttocks of a semi-naked woman and giving one-fingered gesture.
The advertisement, posted on The Black Rabbit pub’s social media for an event on November 17 at the pub in Carr Street, was removed after a backlash from students and others who called Limerick radio station Live 95 to highlight the matter.
The advertisement urged readers to “C*m Early” and offered a “Naughty Giveaway” and “a bottle of vodka and mixers”.
It also asked readers to like and share the ad and to tag three friends.
Ms Duffy said that, in her opinion, the ad was “sexist” and flew in the face of efforts to promote sexual consent and create awareness of sexual violence, as well as recent reports of women’s drinks being spiked on nights out.
“I was throughly shocked to see such blatant use of pornography, that’s what I view it as.
“To advertise something that is inviting our young student cohorts to some kind of a Christmas party like this, when so much work is being done in colleges around the issue of consent, awareness of sexual violence, and basic respect for women, its just shocking,” said Ms Duffy.
“I would like to think that students with awareness of sexual violence would at least bypass that place on that night. It’s advertising sleaze,” she said.
Ms Duffy said, generally, the student population was on alert after a number of allegations of drink spiking incidents involving needles had featured in news reports.
“We are very aware that there is a risk when young people, or anyone is out socialising, and it’s hard to say there has been an increase in drinks being spiked because the pubs weren’t open for the past two years, so you can’t get a comparison.”
“There is the risk that when people go out to pubs and clubs they will become drunk and some of them will be at risk because they are incapacitated, and it is on the vulnerable people that these perpetrators prey,” she said.
Ms Duffy said, that in her opinion, the ad in question could encourage someone to be “sleazy” towards women.
“The ad in itself is sleazy, it’s being advertised as something like that, and of course that could be in your mind when you’re going out. It’s normalising it,” she added.
The Black Rabbit was contacted for comment but hadn’t responded at the time of going to press.