A South African television ad that uses the threat of being raped in
prison to dissaude men from drink-driving has drawn criticism from
anti-violence and prison reform groups.

The locally produced ad mimics ‘lonely hearts’ film clips, but with burly
prisoners telling viewers: “I’m looking for a special person”, “someone
who can handle heavy situations with a smile”.

“These hands will never let you go,” promises one ad, the camera panning
to a prison cell with inmates sprawled on beds and mattresses. The text
on screen reveals: “They’d love to meet you. Never drink and drive.”

The advertisement has angered prison reform and sexual violence groups,
which claim it makes light of
endemic rape in South African jails.

Rachel Jewkes, of South Africa’s Sexual Violence Research Initiative,
said sexual violence is often used by gangs to dominate inmates in South
Africa’s prisons. “The problem of prison rape is a very real and
serious one and there seems to be little political will to resolve it,”
she said. “This advertisement is not raising awareness of the problem so
much as saying that it is an extra form of punishment.”