July 4, 2013 6:29 pm
Updated: July 4, 2013 6:57 pm

Edgy ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ campaign hopes to reduce sexual violence against women

Don't Be That Guy campaign poster.

Don't Be That Guy campaign poster.

Global News / Vancouver Police
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Vancouver Police and several women’s support services have teamed up for a brash campaign aimed at reducing sexual violence against women.

The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign was launched for the second year in a row today featuring posters targeting males aged 18 to 25.

The posters feature messages such as “It’s not sex when she’s passed out” and “Just because you help her home, doesn’t mean you get to help yourself.”

The campaign is primarily aimed at heterosexual males, except for one poster aimed at gay men.

The posters will go up in the washrooms of clubs and bars in Vancouver’s entertainment districts through a partnership with Barwatch and ad agencies Newad and Zoom Media, who donated the space.

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The campaign was first launched in Edmonton in 2010.

The hard-hitting message hopes to focus attention on sexual violence and force young men to recognize the difference between consensual sex and sexual assault.

Sgt. Richard Rabinovitch from Vancouver Police Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit says the campaign shifts the focus to men’s behaviour.

“We are hoping that this campaign will bring awareness to sexual violence against women, and put the focus on men in sexual violence against women,” says Rabinovitch.

In addition the poster campaign, Rabinovitch says VPD officers will be deployed in the entertainment district to identify women who may be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and therefore vulnerable to sexual assault.

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Dayla Israel of Women Against Violence Against Women says it’s time to shift the focus from telling women to be careful to the men committing sexual assaults.

“We are incredibly encouraged that these messages are directed at the perpetrators instead of teaching women to be more careful and vigilant about their safety,” says Israel.

“We’ve done that for a really long time and it’s time to shift the responsibility to the people committing these crimes.”

Wendy Potter, who works as counsellor in sexual assault services at BC Women’s Hospital, says the campaign is necessary.

“At our program we see about 300 victims of sexual assault a year, and about 40 of those victims are coming to us with histories of being drugged or assaulted,” says Potter.

“This is a really serious problem in our city unfortunately and we really want to let men know ‘don’t be that guy’ in the bar, and don’t let your friends be ‘that guy.’”

Samantha Kearney of Battered Women’s Support Services says last year, they received 10,000 requests for information and support.

“We urge men to own their role in the solution and for other men to call upon their friends to do their part.”

The ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ campaign will run for the months of July and August.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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