“Sex without consent is rape” is the message of the Province’s sexual violence prevention campaign.
The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has relaunched the “…Is Not Yes” campaign to increase awareness about sexual violence prevention and available supports for post-secondary students. Building on the 2019-20 campaign of the same name, and the student input that informed it, this campaign aims to reach more students through a larger online and on-campus presence.
“Sexual violence has no place on our campuses,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Understanding consent is one of the first steps to preventing sexual violence because only ‘yes’ means ‘yes’. The messages about sex, consent and sexual violence in this campaign are direct because students have told us loud and clear that we need to meet them in a thought-provoking and direct way.”
As nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults occur on campus during the first eight weeks of school, the campaign launched on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, and continues through October.
“Campuses must be safe places for everyone,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “By focusing the campaign on consent, our goal is to foster a culture of consent at colleges and universities, and have students feel empowered and supported to build safe, inclusive spaces both physically and virtually. To further support this important work, the Gender Equity Office is working with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to develop a provincial action plan to address gender-based violence throughout B.C., which will include actions focused on preventing sexualized violence among online users.”
Digital advertisements are scheduled to run on major social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. To further the campaign’s reach, digital ads will run in Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi and English. The campaign will run in popular student restaurants and bars to display murals and print advertisements.
“Education and awareness are essential to creating cultures of consent at our institutions,” said Anna-Elaine Rempel, a University of Victoria student and advocate. “Everyone has a responsibility to address and prevent sexualized violence, and that means being informed, actively challenging systems and beliefs that uphold gendered and sexualized violence, and ensuring that all campus community members have the tools and resources they need to support survivors. This campaign is an important step in the ongoing work that must be done to meaningfully address these critical issues.”
Shareable campaign materials are being distributed to student and faculty organizations at all of the 25 public post-secondary institutions around B.C. to help amplify the campaign message.
“Our campuses and our communities are safer when people know that sex without consent is the crime of rape, and we applaud the Province for providing these key educational resources around what is and what is not consent,” said Ninu Kang, executive director of the Ending Violence Association of BC. “Consent to sexual activity is needed every time, and must be freely given, specific, clear, coherent, enthusiastic and ongoing.”
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, contact VictimLinkBC, a toll-free, confidential, multilingual service available across B.C. and the Yukon 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling or texting 1-800-563-0808 or sending an email to VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca. You can also call your local police or 911.