Adams Morgan Advertisement Sends Troubling Message in Blurring Bar Scene With Sex

[Ed. Note: The post below regards a bus stop advertisement by the Adams Morgan’s BID (AMBID) located at Columbia & Ontario. The advertisement, which Diaz Zapanta first alerted CASS to on Wednesday, has already struck up conversation at Prince of Petworth, where more than a few commenters have noted its “creepy” nod to rape culture.]

By Victor Diaz Zapanta

Adams Morgan has long maintained a reputation for its sketchy nightlife and an atmosphere which can lend itself to being unsafe towards women. It’s a neighborhood that I used to avoid biking through because of the disproportionate amount of drunk drivers and where walking the sidewalk late on a Saturday night was like playing puke frogger.

Over the past few years, I have watched with fascination as more and more local businesses have slowly shifted Adams Morgan into a foody destination rife with some of DC’s best restaurants and cafes.

It’s disturbing to see the Adams Morgan’s BID take a step in the wrong direction by trying to draw people to the neighborhood by insinuating you’ll get laid if you go there. This is something I would expect of an Axe body spray ad, not an organization that is supposed to represent the interests of businesses.

Victor Diaz Zapanta is a digital advocate based out of DC. Follow him on twitter at @victorzapanta.

Adams Morgan Advertisement Sends Troubling Message in Blurring Bar Scene With SexPhoto by Victor Diaz Zapanta

Note from CASS

We regularly receive submissions on experiences with sexual harassment and assault that take place in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, including those that occur in direct connection to the bar and nightlife scene. Just within the last few months, we’ve received accounts of a woman who was sexually assaulted while standing outside an AdMo bar, another woman who had an bouncer laugh when she was similarly assaulted assaulted and a case in which a woman was assaulted and harassed for turning down a man’s advances while dancing at a bar.

Whether it’s in relation to Adam’s Morgan or any other DC neighborhood, advertising that conflates alcohol with sex sends a worrisome message. Our newest program, Safe Bars, aims to prevent harassment and assault that occurs in alcohol-serving establishments by training bar staff on intervention skills. We devised Safe Bars based on findings that approximately half of all sexual assault perpetrators are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault. Bars are social gathering places where alcohol is readily available, and although many people are able to safely enjoy themselves, sexual aggressors often use these types of environments as a “staging ground” for selecting, isolating and even incapacitating targets who might not be able to consent.

Stay tuned for more info on Safe Bars, and feel free to let Adams Morgan BID know what you think.