BU student from sexual assault prevention video.Hothouse Productions

A student-made video being promoted by Boston Police this week takes aim at jokes about rape and offers advice for college kids on preventing sexual assault.

The edgy six-minute cinematic public service announcement, called “What Happens After a Girl Walks into a Bar?”, came from students with Boston University’s Hothouse Productions. It leads with clips of bits from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and TV cartoons Family Guy and South Park that mention assault for laughs.

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"The word ‘rape’ is not comedic,” says Lt. Det. George Juliano of Boston Police’s sexual assault unit in the video. “When college students go out and they drink, they can find themselves in real danger of sexual assault and rape.”


The short film includes calls for young people to look out for their friends by making sure they get home safe after nights out, not leaving drinks unattended and monitoring whether they or others are over-consuming alcohol, which can add to the risk of having an unwanted sexual encounter.

Trivializing rape by laughing about it can have real consequences, said Meg Bossong of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center in the video. If a group of people appears to be taking sexual assault lightly, she said in the video, potential assailants can pick up on those cues.

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“An attitude toward rape jokes is actually a pretty good diagnostic about how that environment is going to take actual boundary crossing,” Bossong said.

Police have been using the video in public safety presentations since it was released in 2012, after police suggested it to video production students, BPD Officer James Kenneally said Sunday. Police decided to promote the video online for the first time this year as students return to school this semester, he said.

“When kids go out, they need to be aware of their surroundings and the people they’re with at all times,” Kelleally told Metro. “If they see someone in trouble, whether that’s someone who’s had too much to drink or appears to be in a vulnerable state, we want them to step in and help out.”


Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center: (617) 492-8306

Boston Police sexual assault unit: (617) 343-4400

Or get in touch with on-campus resources or university police.

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