Regina – Today YWCA Regina’s Advocacy Committee is launching its third annual Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign, Blamé. 21 local establishments will serve customers beverages on Not Asking for It coasters and display informative posters for the public to view in conjunction with Saskatchewan’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week.
“When someone is raped, they carry the burden of their experience and the subsequent judgements of others with them for the rest of their life,” says Hillary Aitken, Senior Director of Housing at YWCA Regina. “The goal of this campaign is to shine on a light on the stigma attached to sexual assault–and ultimately eliminate sexual violence altogether–so that survivors and victims aren’t responsible for educating their community that what happened to them wasn’t their fault.”
In Regina, 2018 saw 38.6 per cent more sexual assaults reported to police than in 2017, meanwhile Saskatchewan’s rate of sexual assault is double the national average. It is worth noting that when someone is intoxicated, they cannot legally consent to sex and sex without consent is sexual assault.
“We need to shift the stigma of sexual assault so it falls on the attacker, not the person who has been assaulted”, says Chantelle Kraushaar, Victoria’s Tavern General Manager. “I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to get informed, to demand consent and respect for all people in their daily lives, and to take action together in building a more caring community.”
Staff at participating Regina businesses have access to information on the realities of sexual assault in our province and why victim-blaming is harmful, so that they can carry out informed discussions with customers. Customers are then asked to share photos of themselves with Blamé coasters on social media using the hashtags #NotAskingForIt and #YWCARegina along with what they have learned about sexual assault.
Participating establishments in Regina include O’Hanlons Irish Pub, Crave Kitchen & Wine Bar, Victoria’s Tavern, Leopold’s Tavern OG, Leopold’s Tavern North, Leopold’s Tavern East, Malty National, Cathedral Social Hall, Shannon’s Irish Pub, Bushwakker Brewpub, Rebellion, the Fat Badger, The Capitol, Lancaster Taphouse, The Cure, Bodega Tapas Bar, Has Beans, Beer Brothers, The Willow on Wascana, Lot Regina, and Tommy’s Speakeatery.