LIFESTYLE
08/10/2015 11:15 BST | Updated 08/10/2015 11:59 BST

YouTuber Joey Salads' Social Experiment On Abducting Women Branded 'Victim Blaming'

A YouTuber, who staged a social experiment to show "how easy it is to abduct women", has been called out for "victim blaming".

Joey Salads, 21, drove around at night and asked women coming out of bars if they'd like to go to an after party. Most women didn't hesitate to get in his car.

After a short drive Salads would then stop the car and tell the women that there wasn't an after party. He then warned them that they shouldn't get into stranger's cars because they could be abducted, raped or murdered.

The video, which has clocked up nearly 365,000 views, has come under fire.

Charities and campaigners have criticised Salads, arguing that he needs to focus on potential perpetrators rather than "victim blaming" the women.

joey salad social experiment

"This social experiment is victim blaming because the women are at the centre of the experiment, not the perpetrators," says a spokesperson for The Survivor's Trust, a national umbrella agency for 130 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations.

"Abduction, rape and sexual assault happen because of rapists and perpetrators, not because of victims or women’s behaviour. To frame it in this way supports prejudice and blame against victims."

According to the agency, only 15% of people report serious sexual offences to the police.

One of the main reasons for this is "guilt and self-blame".

Meanwhile Katie Russell, the national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales, says she believes Salads is "well-intentioned" but labels some of his social experiments as "ethically problematic".

"While the video seems intended to put young women off from ‘risky behaviour’, Salads doesn’t seem to have given much consideration to the perpetrators and potential perpetrators who might watch it and find it helpful, instructive and even encouraging," says Russell.

"The tone could also be construed as condescending and paternalistic. He is, after all, a man chastising women and making them feel guilty and embarrassed about their behaviour."

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Salads says the video was inspired by his friend Destiny, who is a victim of abduction.

The video begins when Salads invites two women to get into his car and they get in.

The woman in the front seat says "nice to meet you" and Salads drives off with them. After a while, he stops the car and asks why they got in with him.

"I could've been an abductor, I could've raped you guys, I could've done something horribly wrong with you guys - you know that right? Do you understand that?" he says.

"You girls know now not to get in a car with a stranger, because you never know who he might be," he tells them. "Have you learned your lesson?"

He then drives them home, and continues to repeat the experiment with other women. Each time a woman gets in he gives them a mini-lecture on why they shouldn't have trusted him.

At the end of the video, he stares into the camera and has a message for women everywhere.

"As you can see from this video it's very easy to abduct women who are intoxicated or leaving a bar or a club," he says. "So to be safe, try to be cautious when you're drinking.

"Try to have a designated sober friend around you all the time, that can keep an eye on you when you're drinking to avoid these situations."

Caitlin Roper, a campaigner for women's rights group Collective Shout, believes Salad's message is completely wrong.

"At best, it is placing the responsibility on women to avoid men's violence, and at worst, it's potentially an instructional video for men on preying on women," she says.

"He [Salads] seems to think he is doing some kind of public service. His time would be better spent turning his attention to potential perpetrators. He should urge them to carefully consider their behaviour and attitudes towards women, reminding them that they are not entitled to sex.

"This video also plays into the false notion that 'real' rapes are committed by strangers who attack and rape women. In reality, the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults are carried out by men known to the victim, even men they love."

"Women are not, and cannot, be held responsible for the criminal behaviour of men who perpetrate violence against them," she adds.

"As long as we as a society continue to blame victims for getting raped, rather than teaching men to view women as human beings and not to rape, we will never see true progress."

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