‘Yo decido’ campaign revictimizes women: experts; Segob justifies it

The poster of a federal government advertising campaign featuring a woman rejecting a bottle of beer has been criticized by gender-sensitive communication experts, who said it holds victims accountable for what happens to them and criminalizes substance use.
In response to the criticism, the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), responsible for the campaign, said that it is part of the National Strategy for the Prevention of Pregnancy in Adolescents, and that it “promotes the free, informed and pleasant exercise of sexual and reproductive rights among adolescents.”
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However, for the specialists Adriana Segovia and Angélica Contreras, the images that make up the campaign exempt from responsibility the aggressors for the commission of acts that violate the lives of the victims, and the authorities from their obligation to prevent, attend and punish acts of violence.

No, no kidding. These are our public policies that put the charge on the victim and (hold them accountable). It is not possible that we have to keep repeating: and the fault was not mine, not where I was, nor where I dressed. And where is the state to protect us? pic.twitter.com/qrFqiUNaIR
— Isabel Erreguerena (@isaerre) May 26, 2022

Adriana Segovia, a teacher in Family Therapy and professor at the Latin American Institute of Family Studies, A.C., explained in an interview that the campaign of the Segob and the National Population Council (Conapo) has “a conservative simplism of thinking that if you do not drink nothing happens to you and you avoid risks. All the responsibility is placed on the woman, at least in this case, and not on the aggressors or on the impunity of the investigations, the real reasons why we are at risk.”

Alcohol consumption negatively affects the spheres of our life and sexuality, as it can hinder the ability to evaluate situations, make appropriate decisions and reflect on the consequences of our actions.#YoDecido avoid risks pic.twitter.com/MJUrCxvPpn
— CONAPO – National Population Council (@CONAPO_mx) December 13, 2021

In addition, she pointed out that telling women that not ingesting alcohol or drugs prevents them from being victims of a crime “stigmatizes those who freely decide to consume them, makes them guilty of possible aggressions, reinforces feelings of guilt and is misogynistic.” 
Angélica Contreras, feminist communicator and counselor of Cultivando Género, A.C., added that, in addition, the campaign completely leaves out of the message those who are responsible for the aggressions and does not provide information to users of substances such as alcohol and drugs about responsible consumption or what to do in case of being a victim of a crime, regardless of the circumstances in which it was committed.
Segob’s response
In response to the criticism expressed on social networks, the Segob clarified that the image of women rejecting alcoholic beverages is part of a campaign made up of several audiovisual spots, radio, graphics for digital and print broadcasting and two publications, in which a teenage man who rejects substance use also appears.

If when living with your friends you feel pressured to drink or ingest something you do not want, remember: you decide how you have fun: https://t.co/IjNd2pTzqZ #YoDecido #CiudadDeDerechos pic.twitter.com/cfIFLTw2NH
— Women’s Secretariat (@SeMujeresCDMX) May 23, 2022

According to the agency, for the preparation of the materials, different focus groups were held with “young leaders and brigadistas from states such as Mexico City, Sonora, State of Mexico, Tabasco, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas with the collaboration of local institutions.”
The materials, published by Segob and Conapo since 2021, have “urban, indigenous and Afro-descendant versions” and have as their axis “comprehensive sexuality education,” he said.
On the situations shown on the posters, Segob added that the young people consulted for their preparation “related the importance of preventing the consumption of alcoholic beverages and other substances within their community,” which they associated “with the exercise of sexuality in which they stated that excessive consumption does not allow assertive decisions to be made.”
“Based on these comments, two versions of material were designed, in which a teenage woman and man are in the same circumstance of refusal to consume alcoholic beverages, choosing that they do not need it to have fun,” he concluded.
Both Adriana Segovia and Angélica Contreras agree that the nThe gender of the campaign claims to have – given that there is also a poster showing a man rejecting drug use – is not clear, because the poster that has spread the most is in which only one woman appears, with no other context than “her decision” to prevent risks.
“If a campaign needs so much explanation, it does not work, because we are talking about a strategy above all visual and that requires to be informative and understandable at first glance, something that in this case does not happen, and does not talk about solutions to the young audience to which it is addressed. In my opinion it is only adult-centric and macho,” Contreras argued.
For Segovia, the authorities would have given a clearer and more proactive message on the issue if they had focused the campaign on self-care, but not individual, but collective, inviting people to generate safe environments of coexistence.
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Original source in Spanish

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