Our “Doesn’t Mean I Owe You” campaign focuses on consent and bystander intervention. Drinking establishments are one of the public spaces we place the campaign, based on what is known about the relationship between alcohol and assault. The campaign has been adopted in multiple international jurisdictions, was included in an e-book on sexual assault prevention, has been translated into three languages, and was included in the Cannes Film Festival Act Responsible program.
“… working to reduce demand through effecting societal change…”
Sexualized violence — from sexual assault to street harassment — is a symptom of how society views women and trans people. Avalon is committed to challenging these root causes of sexual assault through education, public awareness and community mobilization. Here are some of the types of campaigns and initiatives we undertook during 2017-2018 towards this strategic priority:
- along with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Avalon applied for and was granted intervenor status in R v Al-Rawi – an appeal of the acquittal of a taxi driver charged with sexually assaulting a passenger – and went on to complete that intervention later in the year. Judge Gregory Lenehan had acquitted the driver, citing a failure to prove the passenger’s lack of consent. The passenger had no recollection of the events due to her level of intoxication and therefore could offer no direct evidence. At the Crown’s appeal of the acquittal, LEAF and Avalon made submissions on how the courts should evaluate consent when a complainant has no memory of the events due to her intoxication. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and ordered a new trial.
- conducted 227 events attended by 6789 people on topics including sexual assault definitions and laws, rape culture, consent, bystander intervention, sexual harassment policy, and safe space, among others. Avalon presented training and information sessions in schools, to festivals like the Halifax Pop Explosion and Halifax Pride, for cultural organizations like the Khyber Centre for the Arts, Carbon Arc Cinema and the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative, and for community organizations like the YWCA, Lea Place, and the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia, among others.
- introduced a new series of posters to the I Don’t Owe You campaign. The campaign aims to increase understanding about consent and issues around entitlement. The posters depict scenarios identified in collaboration with youth, and are installed in schools, bars, bus stops, waiting rooms and other public social settings. Some of the scenarios include being in a relationship, sexting, and giving then withdrawing consent to sex, all with the tagline “doesn’t mean I owe you”. The series has been adopted in jurisdictions across Canada as well as five other countries, was included in an e-book on sexual assault prevention, has been translated into three languages, and was included in the Cannes Film Festival Act Reponsible program.
- responded to hundreds of media requests throughout the year on topics ranging from victim-blaming to consent to trauma-informed first responder practices. As incidents relating to sexualized violence continued to make headlines, Avalon was called upon by media from across the country to provide commentary and analysis, ultimately improving society’s understanding of factors contributing to the issues.
- continued to increase intersectionality and accessibility of resources, for example new resources for queer and trans survivors
“At the end of the workshop, we each made an agreement to do something to prevent sexual violence and support people who have experienced it.”
Youth Workshop Participant
International reach of the “I Don’t Owe You” Campaign