I really can’t say it enough times. Primary prevention rocks. I know many of you feel the same way, which is why I’m pretty sure you’re going to think that this new primary prevention campaign being implemented in Saskatoon is the bee’s knees.
An edgy new campaign in Saskatoon is targetting young men and reminding them that extremely drunk or unconscious women can’t consent to sex.
The ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ poster campaign, announced Wednesday by a coalition of groups against sexual assault, will target men ages 19 to 25 using ads posted in bar bathrooms, lounges, liquor stores, and on the University of Saskatchewan campus.
In one ad, a man is helping a woman to a black car at night, and text underneath the photo reads: “Just because you help her home … doesn’t mean you get to help yourself.” In another ad, a woman in a black dress is passed out, face down on a couch, with three liquor bottles lined up on the floor nearby. The text reads: “Just because she isn’t saying no … doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.”
The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign came out of a collaboration between the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre, the Saskatoon Police Service, and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority. The Gazette quotes Staff Sergeant Jean-Marc Voisard, who speaks at length about the disproportionate emphasis placed on risk reduction and the campaign’s role in rectifying this imbalance:
“For years we’ve been telling women it is up to them to prevent sexual assault,” he said, reading off common prevention tips. “Don’t go out at night, don’t dress a certain way, don’t leave your drink unattended. These anti-sexual assault campaigns almost always focused on the behaviour of the (women) and somehow something seemed to be missing — the other half of the equation. This campaign addresses that vacuum. It breaks the mould. It is a hard hitting message.”
Beyond the campaign’s use of primary prevention tactics, I’m refreshed by its handling of alcohol-related sexual assault. Statistics tell us that binge-drinking is an important and irrefutable predictor of sexual victimization, especially on college campuses. Unfortunately, this information is sometimes grossly misused in that administrators have been known to implement programs about alcohol abuse to address sexual assault in lieu of actual sexual-assault prevention programming. But “Don’t Be That Guy” doesn’t wag its finger at young women who’ve partied a little too hard on any given night. Instead, it reminds potential perpetrators that “sex without consent = sexual assault,” regardless of whether she’s drunk or sober.