Protests have occurred this week over the promotion of a recent Leeds club event called “Freshers Violation” on 3rd October by Tequila UK. The video promoting the night (which has since been removed) asks male students how they are “going to violate a fresher”, the responses included “She’s going to get raped”, “I’m going to fist them in the arse” and “Violate is a very strong word. I’m going to take advantage of someone”. This video came from a company which openly describes it’s promotional nights as “a spirit fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery.”
Tequila UK have been in trouble before in Newcastle in 2011 for distributing inappropriate promotional flyers in a residential area which stated “Tequila is where your hottest and sexiest experiences will take place! What you can remember is sure to be one of your greatest memories in university”. This led to the flyer being banned in its current form by the Advertising Standards Authority and the event being banned.
Despite the distress these advertisements have caused, the themes within them seem to be ongoing within Tequila UK promotional material, with many of the videos on their YouTube page featuring acts of a sexual nature, alcohol being poured into people’s mouths from a stage and alcohol and whipped cream poured and spread over women. All of this increases today’s “rape culture” society and perpetuates the message that “taking advantage” of women under the influence of alcohol is desirable.
Roughly 1 in 20 women will be a victim of serious sexual assault after the age of 16, with attitudes like this fuelling the yearly increase. Promotional events like this devalue how seriously we take sexual assault in this country. In 2011/12 in the UK, 38,000 serious sexual assaults were reported, with 16,000 of these being rape, a further estimated 47,000 serious sexual assaults going unreported in England and Wales*
Wash My Pink Jumper believes women should be aware of their choices; that they can enjoy themselves without drinking to dangerous levels and that they should be safe from the prevailing view that ‘taking advantage of a drunk girl’ is acceptable. We seek to help women overcome the pressure to binge drink and provide them with ‘Big Sisters’ to mentor them so they can have more choice and see the different options available when they have made the decision to be in control of their own lives.
Paul Blakey MBE, founder of Street Angels, said “It is a shame that Tequila UK promote student nights in such a way as sexual assault can lead to a life of damage, hurt and pain for those who become victims.” Street Angels works across 122 communities in the UK and Europe helping those who are or could be vulnerable within the night-time culture as well as supporting and promoting safe, enjoyable and vibrant nights out.
Notes to editors
Wash My Pink Jumper is a registered charity helping young women trapped in binge drinking. We do this through mentors, known as “Big Sisters”, who provide support and encouragement for young women who have decided living is more important than drinking.
* Based on aggregated data from the ‘Crime Survey for England and Wales’ in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12.