Politics

NSW Police Are Being Slammed Over A ‘Tone Deaf’ Beyoncé-Themed PSA About Sexual Assault

"Thanks for blaming women. Again."

The NSW Police Force is currently being asked to delete a Facebook status about sexual assault, with commenters calling it “victim blaming” and “tone deaf”.

The post, which went live on Wednesday, is a PSA promoting ‘safe’ behaviour for women going on Tinder dates, telling them to let a friend know their plans as a safety net. As per the trend of police social media accounts referencing memes/pop culture, the post riffs off the lyrics of Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’.

“Up on your phone, surfing apps alone/Doing your own little thing/You decided to swipe, have a super like/Now someone’s asking to meet/Keep yourself safe (safe)/Tell a friend your meeting place (place)”, it reads. “You can’t be playing with safety.”

While some commenters enjoyed the post, a large number criticised the NSW Police Force for placing the onus on women to avoid being sexually assaulted. To many, it read as condescending, insensitive and unhelpful.

“Read the room, NSW police. Stop telling women to keep themselves safe and start writing ‘witty’ songs telling men to keep their hands to themselves,” one comment reads.

“Wow thanks police,” wrote another. “I’m 100% sure “tell someone where you’re going” is brand new information for most women and definitely not something they already do. So smart.”

The post was deemed particularly tone deaf as it echoed a similar, widely criticised sentiment expressed by the Victorian Police for women to “be aware of their surroundings” following the murder of Eurydice Dixon in June.

Dixon herself had done many of the things that police recommended, prompting a push back which saw Victorian premier Daniel Andrews express frustration at how the police framed preventing sexual assault.

“Why would you post about women keeping themselves safe from strangers when there’s been an INSANE amount of women killed recently by husbands and partners and ex partners. Thanks for blaming women. Again,” wrote one commenter.

According to The Red Heart Foundation, as of writing 43 women have been murdered in Australia in 2018, with 39 of those murders allegedly perpetrated by men.

When approached for comment by the ABC, NSW Police declined to comment on whether they would remove the post. As Twitter user Annabel MacDonald notes, perhaps a more appropriate song would have been Beyoncé’s ‘If I Were A Boy’.