ALBERTA

Calgary sexual assault prevention encourages men not to be 'That Guy'

04/22/2013 02:35 EDT | Updated 06/22/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - "That guy" is the target of a campaign in Alberta's largest city aimed at raising awareness about the issue of sexual consent.

The campaign's message is aimed at men and is found on posters that read: "It's not sex ... when she's passed out" and "It's not sex ... when she's wasted."

The "Don't Be That Guy" posters will be placed on Calgary transit trains and buses and hung in bars and clubs.

"That guy is the guy who doesn't respect people's human rights and sexually assaults people. He doesn't get consent or is told 'no' and doesn't respect that. They are sex offenders," Danielle Aubry, executive director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse, said Monday.

Aubry said 85 per cent of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and it's essential that a strong message be sent.

"The messages need to be blunt and blunt in the right way, which is holding offenders accountable," she said.

"People need to give consent if they're going to have sex."

The campaign also addresses sexual consent in same-sex relationships. One poster pictures two men sitting on a bed. The text below reads: "It’s not sex … when he changes his mind."

Sexual assault campaigns are often aimed at women, who are offered advice on how to protect themselves from becoming victims. But participants felt it important that the Calgary initiative target offenders who must be responsible for changing their behaviours.

"Most men will never commit a sexual offence. However, we know that the majority of reported sexual abuse and sexual assault offences are perpetrated by men. In some studies, the percentage of reported offences committed by men is as high as 97 per cent," said Calgary police Staff Sgt. Ryan Jepson.

Jepson said it's common for people to misunderstand what sexual consent is and they need to understand it has to be voluntary and ongoing.

He said about 700 to 800 sexual assaults are reported every year in Calgary.

Joe Campbell of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse points out the campaign is not intended to offend men.

"Men have to recognize that simply not sexually assaulting someone is no longer enough. I believe the numbers of men's violence have become too huge for us to ignore anymore," Campbell said.

"Within male culture we have to stop viewing the issue of sexual violence as strictly a women's issue, because we all have a responsibility to work towards ending sexual violence."

MORE:Albertacp