B.C. government relaunches campaign against sexualized violence

News Provincial

“…Is NOT Yes” aims to raise awareness on campuses across the province

"... IS NOT Yes" graphic provided by Ministry of Advanced Education.
Graphic provided by Ministry of Advanced Education.

This article contains discussions of sexualized assault and violence.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced the relaunch of the “…Is NOT Yes” campaign to raise awareness for sexualized violence on post-secondary campuses in the province. The press release states that there have been changes from the fall 2021 campaign.

On Jan. 27, 2022, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training relaunched the “…Is NOT Yes” campaign, which is set to continue for an entire month. The original campaign was conceived in 2018, and ran during the 2019/2020 school year, as well as fall 2021.

Since the fall 2021 semester, the campaign has undergone multiple changes to foster more inclusivity in its messaging. Particularly, the language used in some of the key messages and taglines. Some of the materials associated with the campaign will also be available in Punjabi and Chinese.

The stated purpose of the relaunch of the campaign is to raise awareness “about preventing sexualized violence” and about “consent and available supports for post-secondary students, faculty, and staff.”

The campaign is especially relevant for students at UVic. On Dec. 6, 2021, there was a student walkout to demand action on gender-based violence. According to the coverage by the Martlet, students wanted the government to act on the message that they care about preventing sexualized violence. 

Though the Ministry could not provide an interview with the Martlet, they provided an email statement.

“Ministry staff meet regularly with student organizations and other key stakeholders in the sector to discuss campaign approaches and areas of opportunity,” the statement reads. “Ongoing conversations with the sector will continue to provide input on future campaigns so that content can evolve and better align with the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.”

The campaign materials provided state that two thirds of sexualized violence occurs in the first eight weeks of a semester. So, the timing of the relaunch is intended to coincide with student orientations and the return of students to campuses across B.C.

There will be physical messaging posted across B.C. campuses participating in the campaign, but there is also a heavy focus on social media awareness. The government has paid for advertisements across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for an entire month.

Groups accessing the campaign materials were also given sample social media posts intended to promote the campaign and its messaging, along with graphics and videos to share.

A new initiative by the B.C. government that aligns with the relaunch of this campaign is the Safer Campuses for Everyone. This training resource has the same goals as the campaign in that it aims to bring awareness to sexualized violence, however, the training does not focus solely on campuses, but the prevention of sexualized violence in all relationships.

It is a 75-minute online training course that can be accessed through post-secondary institutions. According to the press release, this course “focuses on a decolonized and inclusive approach to discussing sexualized violence and consent.”

Though Safer Campuses for Everyone is the most recent training resource, the statement from the Ministry says, there are many others that students have access to in B.C.

“Students are supported by government-funded sexualized violence resources such as the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Training Series, Safer Campuses for Everyone — the most recent training resource, as well as support services like Here2Talk and VictimLinkC.”

Although the campaign is set for a month, the campaign materials suggest groups continue spreading the key messages throughout the school year.