— Tough Love ❤️🧢 #Resist👉🏽DP 👉🏽Putinsgay 👉🏽🤫 (@koan4u) January 25, 2021
The text at the top read:
Billboard in Inverness, FL reminds dads not to drunkenly rape their daughters
Underneath that, a billboard for Refuge House (“Stop the Violence!”) read:
Getting drunk is never an excuse.
She’s your daughter. Not your date.
We’re calling incest out. 1-850-681-2111 refugehouse.com
The mission of Refuge House is to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to their children and families, as well as to eliminate such violence through community education and public advocacy.
A July 2016 post on RefugeHouse.com (“Refuge House launches campaign to combat incest”) alluded to a then-new campaign introduced by the organization. It linked to a Tallahassee.com article of the same date and with the same headline, which reported in part:
To combat that stigma and shed light on the pervasiveness of this problem, a few months ago Refuge House launched a public awareness campaign to encourage victims to call the agency’s hotline for help. The $20,000 for the campaign came from a federal grant distributed through the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence.
It was launched with bold, stark billboards of teen girls photographed to look vulnerable and frightened, legs drawn up, arms crossed, faces partially hidden, sleeves pulled over their hands.
“Getting drunk is never an excuse,” the signs read. “She’s your daughter. Not your date. We’re calling incest out,” they declare and provide the toll-free hotline number.
That reporting indicated the billboards were genuine, at least as of July 2016. Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, was quoted in the article as saying of incest in the context of abuse reporting:
People don’t want to talk about it. I’ve worked 30 years in this profession and it is a massive problem.
Another article linked in the text reported on backlash concerning the billboards. In the subsequent article (published two minutes after the first one), Tallahassee.com reported that “Taylor County’s economic development board … wanted the sign taken down.”
According to that reporting, an agreement was reached to allow the billboard to remain standing for “the remaining six weeks of the lease” on the sign:
“It became controversial from an economic development standpoint because of a restaurant chain looking to locate in Perry,” said Malcolm Page, a farmer and Taylor County Commissioner on whose property the billboard was located. “The economic development folks said they didn’t want to come into the county if this is the welcome sign.”
Page, whose sister-in-law sits on the board of directors, had a chat with the economic leaders, and they worked it out with Refuge House to keep the sign up for the remaining six weeks of the lease on the billboard.
Assuming that Refuge House and local economic and commerce leaders held to their agreement, the anti-incest billboard would have remained visible through late August 2016. Refuge House maintained a Facebook page and an Instagram account, neither of which highlighted its campaign about incest.
In short, a screenshot of a purported billboard in Inverness, Florida began spreading on Facebook and Twitter due to a popular tweet featuring generalized commentary about Floridian politics. Reports about the billboard campaign documented controversial July 2016 anti-incest billboards created by Refuge House. Per reporting by Tallahassee.com, the billboards were up for roughly six weeks in July and August 2016.