April 10, 2018 11:23 pm

‘Grab another beer, not a stranger’s butt’: Vancouver campaign uses hops to fight harassment

Good Night Out wants to get people talking about sexual harassment and assault... over a beer.

Twin Sails Brewing
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There’s no lack of stories about sexual harassment or assault in which alcohol plays a prominent role.

But this year, to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month, one Vancouver non-profit group is hoping to use beer to help put an end to sexual violence.

LISTEN: fighting sexual assault one beer at a time

The group is called Good Night Out, and it’s become a well-known fixture of the Granville Entertainment District where its pink-shirted street team works with the nightlife industry to try to build capacity around preventing sexual harassment and assaults.

This year, they’ve partnered with Twin Sails Brewing in Port Moody, which produces a charity beer every year to raise awareness and funds for a cause.

Good Night Out Vancouver co-founder Stacey Forrester said choosing beer — something that’s often associated with sexual misconduct — to spread the group’s message was intentional.

“What would be a way to really normalize the idea of consent and thinking of new ways to interact with each other than somehow bringing beer into the equation in a positive way?” she said on CKNW’s Lynda Steele Show.

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READ MORE: Good Night Out campaign comes to Vancouver

Cans of Twin Sails beer have been outfitted with stickers. Under the stickers, drinkers will find one of 100 different messages or statistics about sexual violence in Canada.

“Some are ‘real talk,’ you know, dropping some knowledge about the state of sexual violence in Canada, and recognizing that one in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime,” Forrester said.

“Others are kind of sassy, so like, ‘Hey, grab another beer, not a stranger’s butt.'”

The group hopes that putting the beers into Vancouverites’ hands will break some of the taboo when it comes to talking about sexual violence, Forrester said.

“While you are hanging in the park with friends, or while you are at a patio party this spring — just put it out in conversation,” she said.

Forrester said four-packs of the 473-ml cans cost about $16.50, and can be found anywhere Twin Sails beer is sold.

WATCH: Good Night Out campaign comes to Vancouver

‘The Red Cross for drunk people’

Good Night Out launched its Vancouver street team last fall, in a bid to increase safety and reduce harassment on the Granville Strip.

Forrester said the four-person team operated through the fall, over the winter holiday and during the recent Juno Awards weekend.

“We have water, juice, we have a phone charger so if your phone is dead and you’ve become separated from your friend group and someone is supposed to pick you up we can recharge your phone, walk you to the SkyTrain or wait with you while we try to get a cab,” she said.

“If there’s a certain area that you’re a little bit nervous to walk through, our team can walk you to where you need to go in the downtown area.”

READ MORE: For some, Vancouver’s nightlife is a nightmare. Could the solution be a ‘Night Mayor?’

Forrester said Good Night Out has become a known quantity in the district, even in just a few months on the street.

Bouncers sometimes flag them down to connect them with someone in trouble, and revellers have come to know and trust them as well, she said.

“We’ve heard things like, ‘there you are! You’re the Red Cross for drunk people.'”

Forrester said the team likely won’t be back out until the summer because of funding issues.

Street team members are paid a living wage for their 11 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. shifts, and she estimated that keeping the operation running on weekends year-round would cost about $30,000.

Anyone interested in supporting Good Night Out can contact the group through its Facebook page.

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