Bold Initiative Challenges Attitudes Around Drinking and Sexual Assault

After alarming statistics revealed that 70% to 90% of sexual assaults involved alcohol, a diverse group of community organizations joined forces with the Edmonton Police to form a coalition called Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (SAVE). When results of a UK studyrevealed that 48% of 18-25 year old males didn’t consider it rape if a woman drank too much, the group launched a high profile campaign in November 2010.

The “Hey Buddy, don’t be that guy!” posters feature graphic images and messages that reinforce that sex without consent is sexual assault. The provocative campaign, which launched in November 2010, received strong print, radio and television coverage not only in Edmonton, but across Canada, and was the subject of blogs, and social media networks.
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Addressing Sexual Violence – Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives Toronto Conference June 23 and 24, 2011

In June, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, the University of Western Ontario and the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children held a bilingual conference to examine new ways of effectively educating the public concerning sexual violence.

Examples of several different campaigns being used across North America and beyond were presented. Societal norms, organizational practices, community attitudes and behaviours of potential offenders all need to change. The conference recognized that there are six parts to having an effective social marketing campaign.
1. Framing the Issue
2. Key Elements of Effective Social Marketing
3. Applying Social Norms Theory: How to Change Behaviour
4. Engaging Bystanders
5. Campaign Message Considerations
6. Campaign Messenger Considerations: Who Should Deliver the Message

Some of the organizations presenting very informative and innovative materials at the conference included:
Men Can Stop Rape (USA)
Outiller les jeunes face à l’hypersexualisation (Hyper sexualization campaign) Université du Québec à Montréal
Bringing in the Bystander, University of Windsor, Ontario
Yes Makes Sex Hot – Get Consent, University of Victoria, BC
Prevention Approaches with Men and Boys on consent and Gender Equality, White Ribbon Campaign
Consent is Sexy, Columbia University, New York City
Only Yes Means Yes, Women Abuse Working Group, Hamilton Ontario
Campaign considerations With Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults, Ontario Network of Sexual Assault Care and Women’s College Hospital
SAY SO (Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out), New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault
Enhanced AAA Sexual Assault Resistance Program, University of Windsor
I know Someone, University of Western Ontario
No Means No, Canadian Federation of University Students, York University
Riposte, Franc-parler, Instinct (Approach to reaching Francophone communities), COPA Centre Ontarien de Prevention des Aggressions
Be the Solution, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
It Starts With You. It Ends With Him, White Ribbon Campaign
Ça Commence Avec Toi. Ça Reste Avec Lui, Centre Ontarien de Prevention des Aggressions
Don’t Be That Guy, Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton
I’m Not For Sale, RCMP
Peel Regional Police Human Trafficking Campaign, Peel Regional Police
A Future. Not a Past, Juvenile Justice Fund, Atlanta, Georgia

The Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (SAVE) gave a presentation on the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign. The campaign focused on the issue of alcohol facilitated sexual assaults with a poster campaign aimed at the offender. In Edmonton there has been a recorded increase in the number of alcohol facilitated sexual assaults committed by young men between 18 and 24 and that the vast majority of victims are young women of a similar age who have some form of relationship with the perpetrator. These are not stranger assaults.

This was an excellent conference that addressed changing social norms and attitudes to bring about positive social change.

For more information, please contact the Ontario Women’s Directorate.
View presentations from the Forum on the Conference website.


May 27, 2011:

Supreme Court of Canada rules against the idea of "advance consent" to
sexual assault.

On May 27, 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision that ruled against the idea of "advance consent" to sexual assault. They concluded that there can be no consent in law when a woman is unconscious. The lengthy decision is summarized as follows:

IV. Summary

(66) The definition of consent for sexual assault requires the complainant to provide actual active consent throughout every phase of the sexual activity. It is not possible for an unconscious person to satisfy this requirement, even if she expresses her consent in advance. Any sexual activity with an individual who is incapable of consciously evaluating whether she is consenting is therefore not consensual within the meaning of the Criminal Code. Read the Full Decision

Canadians Participate in 2011 EVAW International Conference

Participants had the opportunity to listen, work and learn with highly respected experts in the field on a broad range of topics, share memories with friends and colleagues, and refuel the passion to make a difference for victims. Click here to download the conference presentations.

The representation by professional discipline was diverse:

2011 EVAW Conference participants by discipline (provided by EVAW International)

Chicago Disciplines

20 Canadians participated in the conference, including Det/Sgt. Paul Bevan from the Niagara Region Making a Difference team and Ruth Montgomery, the coordinator of Making a Difference Canada. Paul and Ruth held an informal “meet and greet” with other Canadians to promote Making a Difference Canada, exchange information on Canadian best practices, and identify opportunities to mutually support each other’s efforts.

Contact Ruth Montgomery if you would like copies of specific presentations.

June 29, 2011: Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault: what every service provider needs to know

This session, led by a recognized Canadian drug expert, was offered to augment understanding and assist service providers to respond more effectively to drug facilitated sexual assaults.

The presentation focused on:
How drugs are used and popular mixes of drugs currently favoured
Drug types and behaviours associated with their use
Practices and protocols service providers should consider to improve victim support and investigations
Building public awareness and educating the public about the problem

Contact Ruth Montgomery for a copy of the accompanying power point presentation.

April 18, 2011:The Use of Penile Swabs as an Investigative Tool in Sexual Assault Investigations

Download the presentation
For further information contact Ruth Montgomery.

A few spaces still available in Mount Royal University Forensic Studies Courses.

All study is online and self-paced with opportunities for online interaction throughout the term with other students and faculty. Courses begin Sept 12, 2011 and finish by December 20, 2011.

Courses offered this term include:
FORE 5501 Forensic issues, history and risk populations
FORE 5503 Forensic mental health and corrections
FORE 5505 Victims of violence
FORE 5509 Expert witness testimony
FORE 5513 Sexual assault examination and intervention (SANE course)

Registration space is limited but a few spaces are still open for professionals if you contact them prior to Sept 3, 2011.
For further information or to register, visit the program website or contact Rebecca Alexander, the instructional assistant, or call toll free 1-800-240-6891.

Upcoming BC Institute of Technology Forensic Health Science Courses.
bcit logo

This program, designed for health care workers involved in forensic examinations as well as for the law enforcement, legal and scientific professionals who must interact with them during a forensic investigation, focuses on the appropriate application of forensic principles as an important component of overall patient care when the patient is a victim of trauma, sexual assault, violence or crime.

Topics include collection and protection of evidence, effective communication with police and other agencies, and compliance with standards required in a forensic or legal investigation.

September start: FSCT 7810 Introduction to Forensic Health Sciences
October start: FSCT 7820 Management of Victims of Violence in October
January 2012 start: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Course  

For further information or to apply, visit the BCIT program page.

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Common Myths Header
  • MYTH 1: Most rapes are committed by strangers.
    FACT: More often than not, sexual assault is perpetrated by a family member, relative, friend or acquaintance. In fact, in 64% of reported cases the victim knew the accused.
    Read More
  • MYTH 2: People sometimes say "no", whey they really mean "yes".
    FACT: No means NO, regardless of the circumstance. Also, if someone says "yes" under duress it is not consent—consent must be given voluntarily.
    Read More
  • MYTH 3: Men can't be raped.
    FACT: Many men don't report their sexual assault, so statistics are limited. However, of the assaults that are reported, approximately 15.7% of them involve male victims.
    Read More
  • MYTH 4: She must have somehow "asked for it."
    FACT: This is often how the attacker justifies his behavior. What ‘type of woman' she is, what her occupation is, or how a woman dresses or acts, are irrelevant. No one asks to be raped.
    Read More
  • MYTH 5: Women who feel guilty or vindictive often lie about being raped.
    FACT: Rarely are false reports of sexual assault made. The truth is, sexual assault is a greatly under-reported crime, especially if the survivor knows her (or his) attacker.
    Read More
  • MYTH 6: Certain types of women are "unrapeable."
    FACT: Regardless of a woman's profession or sexual practices, she can still be sexually assaulted. If consent isn't given willingly it is rape. Rape is not about the sex, it is an act of dominance and control.
    Read More
  • MYTH 7: Women can't be assaulted by husbands or boyfriends.
    FACT: According to the law, a woman has the right to say no to her significant other. Again, it's about willing consent. If it's not given, it's sexual assault.
    Read More
  • MYTH 8: Carrying some form of protection can prevent sexual assault.
    FACT: Maybe. Maybe not. But telling someone that carrying mace or keys between their fingers, etc could prevent an attack only adds to a survivor's sense of guilt and self-blame.
    Read More
  • MYTH 9: Rape is a crime of passion.
    FACT: In over 70% of the cases, rape is a premeditated act of VIOLENCE, and has nothing to do with passion. The vast majority of rapists are motivated by power, anger, and control, not sexual gratification.
    Read More
  • MYTH 10: People who are intoxicated or on drugs are willing to participate in any kind of sexual activity.
    FACT: Drinking or taking drugs does not imply consent. In fact, alcohol and drugs can render a person incapable of consent—and no consent equals assault.
    Read More
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