Ottawa
1 min

Don’t Be That Guy campaign addresses gay sexual assault

An Ottawa campaign aiming to curb alcohol-related sexual assault includes a depiction of sexual assault between gay men.

Although the majority of Don’t Be That Guy campaign posters, which appear in various locations in Ottawa, including in OC Transpo buses, highlight violence against women, one poster shows two men engaged in a struggle over the tag line “It’s not sex . . . when he changes his mind.”

Conceived by Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton (SAVE), the images are “intentionally graphic to emphasize the bottom line,” Crime Prevention Ottawa’s (CPO) website states.

“I certainly know that the Ottawa Hospital felt that it was important to include that poster because they do see cases [of sexual assault in the gay community],” CPO executive director Nancy Worsfold says. “The Edmonton folks who are generously allowing us to reproduce their art had developed it, and the Ottawa Hospital sees it as an issue they need to include. It’s important to recognize the diversity of people and therefore the diversity of sexual assault.”

Ottawa’s Don’t Be That Guy campaign launched officially in 2011 in conjunction with the Building Prevention: Sexual Violence, Youth, and Drinking conference and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Worsfold says that the majority of the feedback on the posters is positive and that many people say the images are memorable. However, two people contacted CPO to voice their concern over the message of the campaign, but no complainants objected to the gay content.  

“I’ve had a couple of complaints from people who say that girls shouldn’t get drunk, and it’s not fair to men,” Worsfold says. “From my point of view, you don’t truly change behaviour and social norms with one poster campaign, but the fact that we are sparking significant discussion is in and of itself of value.”

Worsfold encourages any LGBT organization that would like to help distribute posters to contact CPO and visit CPO’s website for more information on the campaign.

Watch the campaign video