B.C. launches on-campus sexual violence prevention campaign

Fighting sexual violence

As post-secondary students return to class this fall, the province has launched an on-campus campaign fighting sexual violence.

"Sex without consent is rape" is the message.

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.

The program was started back in 2019, this year's 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."

According to Statistics Canada, nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults occur on campus during the first eight weeks of school, so the campaign launched on Wednesday 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 will run on major social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and will be run in Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi and English.

"Education and awareness are essential to creating cultures of consent at our institutions," said Anna-Elaine Rempel, a University of Victoria student and advocate.

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.

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