Rebecca Watson’s “Elevator Guy” debacle over the summer highlighted a problem women and men need to deal with, not just in atheist circles but across our communities. I just learned this week that there’s an anti-rape ad campaign going on in Canada and posters hanging up in men’s rooms of bars and other places are inadvertently following in Watson’s footsteps here. I heard about it on CBC on the drive home from work one day and a quick poke of the interwebs finds me an article about the launch of these ads in Edmonton back in November. Chloe writes for Feminsting and her source is an article that no longer exists via her link, alas.
In a series of posters, it addresses the legal reality that a woman who is extremely drunk, or even passed out, cannot consent to sex. With messages like “just because she isn’t saying no… doesn’t mean she’s saying yes ”and“ Just because you’re helping her home… doesn’t mean you get to help yourself,” the campaign targets “opportunistic offenders,” as Edmonton Police Superintendent calls them. According to the Vancouver Sun:
The three advertisements were chosen after focus-group testing showed the messages were clearly understood by, and resonated with, young men.
Campbell said she hopes the “graphic” and “blunt” messages make a real difference in educating young men and reducing sexual assaults.
A friend of mine dropped a tweet on Facebook yesterday about Saskatoon’s Premier Fine Wines, Spirits & Specialty Foods Festival going on now. Cammi noted,
Just left the wine premiere festival. great time, not sure how I feel about a rape whistle as a keepsake though.
Too bad she didn’t mention which booth provided it, or if it was something being given to women on their way in. I wonder what guys would have been getting.
I’ve never been raped. I’m starting to feel incredibly lucky because I can say that. A random check of statistics on sexual assault led me to some grim numbers.
Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
1 – 2% of “date rape” sexual assaults are reported to the police
1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
Only 2 – 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
About 50% of sex assaults occur on dates
60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
And it goes on.
I’ve certainly been in positions where, had the company been different and less respectful of my right to consent, I’d be counted in those numbers. I’ve been stupid in bars ever since I was old enough to legally be in one. That’s 19 in Saskatchewan. I’m 37 now. Maybe “lucky” doesn’t begin to cover…
Chloe thinks this campaign shows promise.
This kind of approach is the only kind that can truly end sexual assault. After all, in the words of Karen Smith of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, “as long as society directs prevention strategies at women, we all stop looking at what the real problem is – the perpetrators.”
I’m going to hold off on the applause for a bit yet. I don’t really know how ads like this will impact behaviour. Will they be taken to heart by the jerks truly in need of the lesson, or will they just freak out the inept, geeky flirters and result in a lot of lonely hearts going home defeated before they even get a chance to start a chance romance?
Over the summer, dozens of cities held SlutWalks. The events were prompted by shitty comments a police constable in Toronto made regarding victims of sexual assault. Saskatoon hosted one and some Freethinker friends and I were among the hundred or so hollering down the blocked off streets about respect and the like. One of these friends is one of those women born for cleavage, short skirts and hooker boots. She loves the style and how she looks, and her husband (and others) do as well. I almost wonder how we wound up friends, as I have my ample cleavage hidden usually and tend to keep my pants on. She’s sexually vocal, as well, not one who feels she should be ashamed of her carnal interests. I certainly admire her for that but have, on a few occasions, wondered how close she’s gotten to becoming a statistic, too. I’d hate to see her get hurt simply on account of how she’s dressed and false perceptions on the part of other people in terms of what kind of person they think she is. I think that’s badly worded, but hopefully understandable.
It is completely unfair to train girls and women into thinking that they have to hide themselves in public lest randy men lose all sense of themselves if they see a little skin or hair. Why should it be up to women alone to protect themselves from predators? Why shouldn’t guys carry more of the responsibility on their shoulders?
I don’t know. What do readers think? Can a campaign like this change much or is it more likely to be a fart in the wind?