Women fight for rights

Don’t Be That Guy campaign takes different approach

The 31st annual Take Back the Night event happened on Sept. 22.
The 31st annual Take Back the Night event happened on Sept. 22.
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In response to sexual assault awareness campaigns geared towards potential victims, the Greater Kingston Area Safe & Sober Community Alliance launched the Don’t Be That Guy campaign in Kingston this month.

“This campaign is one of the only campaigns that target the perpetrators,” said Jennifer Byrd, counsellor with Kingston Sexual Assault Centre (SAC).

Byrd said that ads promoting the campaign have gone up in bars across the city and can be seen on the sides of city buses. Queen’s campus security and the AMS have backed the new campaign.

Campaign posters have been spotted on campus near places like the Sexual Health Resource Centre in the JDUC.

On Sept. 22, the Take Back the Night march attracted over 100 supporters, many of whom held signs promoting the campaign with phrases like, “Just because she isn’t saying no … doesn’t mean she’s saying yes,” and “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k.”

Byrd said this campaign aims to challenge longstanding views of masculinity. She added that most of the perpetrators of sexual assault are males.

Kim Graham, community education co-ordinator with SAC Kingston, said Take Back the Night was traditionally about raising awareness to promote safety in the community at night. Since the first march in 1980, new research has shown that many assaults occur during the daytime. According to Toronto-based nonprofit Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, 49 per cent of sexual assaults occur in broad daylight.

A large number of incidents seen by the SAC are the result of sexual assaults stemming from recent encounters, meeting acquaintances or dates, Graham said. Along with other universities and colleges, Queen’s is prone to an increase in the number of sexual assaults the first eight weeks of school and in January when students return from winter holidays.

“Most of it is alcohol-related,” Graham said. “We see an increase in the number of phone calls to our crisis line.”

The Sexual Assault Centre Kingston has a crisis support line open 24 hours a day. To speak with someone, call (613) 544-6424 or 1-877-544-6424.

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