Rape awareness campaign to stay on air despite 95 complaints

The advertising watchdog has decided not to investigate an uncomfortable TV ad designed to highlight that rape can take place within relationships, despite receiving 95 complaints.

The ad, ‘this is abuse’, was created for the Home Office by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and went on air on 5 March.

It is aimed at 13- to 18-year-olds and shows a teenage couple alone in a bedroom, upstairs at a house party. The boy pushes his girlfriend on the bed and has sex with her, despite her distinctly saying: "I don't want to."

Another version of the boy is seen trapped behind a glass wall, trying to get his other self's attention and shouting: "She doesn't want to." The ad ends with the strapline: "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"

The complaints, some from people who have been victims of rape, alleged the ad was offensive, distressing and unsuitable to be seen by children.

A spokesman for the Advertising Standards Authority said that after careful consideration of the issues raised, the ASA Council did not believe there was a problem with the ad under the Advertising Code.

The spokesman said: "We understood the very sensitive nature of the concerns raised, that the ad was hard-hitting and viewers in general might find it disturbing.

"However, we considered the importance of the message being raised was likely to be seen as outweighing any distress caused.

"Also, the post-9pm scheduling restriction meant that it was kept away from times when children were likely to be watching. We did not, therefore, believe there were grounds to ban the ad."