Too drunk to consent? Exploring the contestations and disruptions in male-focused sexual violence prevention interventions

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Primary prevention interventions, often in the form of media campaigns, are frequently utilized in order to tackle sexual violence. However, many in the United Kingdom have been criticized for perpetuating victim-blaming, due to their focus on the behaviour of women. One notable exception is a Liverpool City Council Campaign, which targeted young men (aged 18–24) in a bid to reduce rates of alcohol-related rape. Drawing upon an assessment involving 41 male university students, this article generates original insights into the development and utilization of male-focused rape prevention interventions. As this analysis shows, the young men’s responses to the campaign involved negotiating discourses of sex, consent, rape, sexuality and gender – especially masculinity. While participants frequently drew upon stereotypes and misconceptions, moments of contestation and disruption emerged. We argue that interventions should concentrate upon masculinity and moments of disruption and contestation (possibly through the use of peer group discussions), in order to encourage critical reflections on gender and sexual violence and to potentially engender more ethical practices.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-322
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018