The Envision Counselling and Support Centre has launched a new poster campaign in southeast Saskatchewan, in an effort to curb sexual violence.
The campaign, named Don't be That Guy, speaks directly to young men on the issue of drug-facilitated sexual assault, specifically alcohol. The campaign was launched in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Week from May 5 to 11, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in May.
Posters that target young people between the ages of 19 and 25 will be placed in men's washrooms at bars and lounges in Estevan and Weyburn, and eventually they will spread to rural communities. The posters will also be in liquor stores.
"Every bar owner has been great," said Envision executive director Patt Lenover-Adams. "They've said 'Sure, put it up.'"
Images in the posters are graphic by design, said Envision counsellor Tyler MacPherson. Among the images used is a woman passed out on a couch. Foul language is contained in another poster.
"The message is clear: don't be that guy," said MacPherson. "Don't be that guy who doesn't take responsibility. Don’t be that guy who looks the other way instead of stopping his buddy. Don't be that guy who doesn't make sure his partner is consenting.
"Don't be that guy who uses alcohol as an excuse. Don't be that guy who sexually assaults a young woman too drunk to consent to sex. Don't be that guy who believes it is not rape."
Someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs cannot give consent, and sex without consent is sexual assault, he said.
According to Envision, alcohol is by far the most common drug used in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. In most cases, the perpetrator is known to the victim.
Reported sexual assaults rose by 156 per cent in Estevan and Weyburn from 2008 to 2012, MacPherson said. And the presence of date rape drugs – often dropped into drinks in bars – has also increased.
Historically, sexual assault campaigns have been aimed at women. They have offered advice on how to protect themselves from becoming a victim.
"The idea of this campaign … is to move away from the stance of victim blaming, and to encourage that accountability, responsibility and prevention be placed on the perpetrators of this violent crime," said MacPherson.
The campaign has already been seen in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and other communities in the province. It originated in Edmonton in 2010, in response to increasing reports of alcohol-related sexual assaults. It won a crime prevention award, and has been deployed elsewhere nationally and internationally.
"Posters really resonated with that demographic that was targeted," said MacPherson.
Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming and Captive Audience Advertising are partners with Envision for the Don't be That Guy campaign.