SASKATOON – Posters advocating for the rights of men are appearing on Saskatoon streets just a week after similar ones sparked controversy in Edmonton.
Alison Tieman of the anti-feminist Saskatoon group A Voice for Men says members want an honest look at statistics on sexual assault.
The Edmonton posters that were put up by Men’s Rights Edmonton are a take on the widely known Don’t Be That Guy campaign against sexual assault.
They read: “Don’t Be That Girl … Just because you regret a one night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual.”
Tieman says the Don’t Be That Guy campaign, promoted by the Edmonton police department, contends all men are potential rapists.
She also says the campaign only encouraged female victims of sexual assault to come forward and does nothing to encourage male victims of sexual assault to do the same.
“Men don’t have a voice when they are vulnerable and because men are expected to be strong, when they have needs they are expected to shut up about them,” Tieman says.
Men’s Rights Edmonton had argued that reporting rape can be an act of revenge and suggested that some women lie about being raped, also saying rape is over-reported.
The Edmonton police department said only about one per cent of sexual assaults they investigate are found to have been fabricated.
The Saskatoon campaign includes posters that say “Men’s rights are human rights” and “Canada is the most frightening place to be a man.”
It’s important to shed light on all aspects of violence against people, whether that be women, men, boys or girls, said Pamela Downe, assistant professor with the gender studies department at the University of Saskatchewan.
“I don’t think that the poster campaigns, from the samples that I have seen, are advancing that cause in any particular way,” she said.
A campaign to educate people on the effects of violence, particularly on men, would make a stronger contribution than one that belittles, said Downe.
“Of course we need to be attending to the men who are victims of violence,” she said. “I don’t know anyone who says we shouldn’t be. I just think that we need to do that in a constructive way.”