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Rape Prevention Ads Aim to Educate Men

October 28, 1998

Friends don't let friends take advantage of women who've had too much to drink.

That message was delivered Tuesday by officials of a national campaign to educate men about rape prevention using televised public service announcements starring actor David Schwimmer.

The two TV spots featuring Schwimmer, a star of the series "Friends," were sponsored by the Santa Monica-based Rape Treatment Center, NBC and the National Interfraternity Conference.

The idea, Schwimmer said at a UCLA news conference, is to "make guys see that it is OK to flirt, to party . . . but not OK to be silent, to be passive, to witness a drugging of drink or a rape and not intercede."

Schwimmer addresses the crime of using rape drugs like Rohypnol and GHB--odorless, tasteless drugs someone can drop into a drink, causing a person to become incapacitated.

The 30-second spots are being aired on NBC and videos are offered free to fraternity chapters nationwide, said Gail Abarbanel, director of the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

Rape prevention efforts have traditionally focused on teaching women how to avoid becoming victims, Abarbanel said. But because the crime of rape cannot be stopped by women alone, the center joined forces with NBC and the national fraternity organization in hopes of reaching large numbers of young men.

About 3,500 of the educational videos have been distributed to fraternities so far, Abarbanel said.

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