Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton: Don't Be That Guy

Last week, the Vancouver Police Department rolled out the genius Don’t Be That Guy print campaign, originally created back in 2010 by Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (or SAVE), in bars and clubs around Van City. A series of posters, with slogans such as “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k”; “It’s not sex … when she doesn’t want it” and, my favourite, “Just because she isn’t saying no doesn’t mean she’s saying yes.”

They all have the same tagline: “sex without consent = sexual assault. Don’t be that guy.”

Pretty perfect, right? I, for one, was elated. Finally, an anti-sexual assault campaign aimed at MEN! That treats women like people! With rights! Finally, an anti-sexual assault campaign that doesn’t use icky, problematic language like, “Imagine if it was YOUR sister / mother / wife / friend / girlfriend.”

Finally, an anti-sexual assault campaign that, instead of telling women to be fearful and suggesting they deserve whatever they have coming to them based on their hemlines, actually tells MEN NOT TO RAPE.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, and I’ll put it on my tombstone: not all men are rapists, but an awful lot of rapists are men.

But, of course, because people are THE WORST, it seems a ‘Don’t Be That Girl’ campaign has popped up in Edmonton, authored by a group called Men’s Rights Edmonton.

I know. All the sighs.

Among the campaign’s most egregious slogans: “Just because you regret a one-night stand doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual” followed by the tagline “lying about sexual assault = a crime. Don’t be that girl.”

OH. FOR. FUCKS. Because, you know, coming forward about sexual assault is a SUPER EASY thing to do and LYING ABOUT IT is a means of absolving regret about a one-night stand — especially since assault victims are treated oh so well by society. Give me a fucking BREAK.

“Nobody wants to see sexual assault happen, nobody wants to see rape happen, but we have to stop thinking of this as a gender problem,” a member, who would only identify himself as Raz, told the National Post. “What posters like ‘Don’t be that guy’ do is they essentially insert that if men are told not to rape, they rape, which is completely false.”

UM, NOPE. I don’t think that’s what those posters do at all, Raz.

Again, all together now: not all men are rapists but an awful lot of rapists are men. It is a fucking gender problem. It’s a big fucking gender problem.

Some people are calling these pop-up posters ‘parody’; I call them fucking disturbing. Turning an anti-sexual assault campaign into a rape-apology campaign is horrifying. It’s yet another sickening reminder that we live in a society that loves to blame the victim and that sexual assault is always somehow the woman’s fault. Always. You know, in case you forgot.

‘Is rape culture flourishing in Edmonton?’ asks a headline in The Province.

It’s fucking flourishing EVERYWHERE.

Girl and dog