It's Never OK
March 6, 2015 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Today, the Ontario Government released a video called #WhoWillYouHelp (TW; potentially triggering scenes in video relating to sexual assault) as part of the $41-million It's Never OK action plan to end sexual assault and harassment within the province.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the plan today. (42 minute video). Wynne explicitly said we must end "the culture of misogyny."

Coming on the heels of the new sexual health curriculum being introduced in Ontario schools, this is part of a comprehensive plan to "stop sexual violence and harassment. By focusing on the root causes of sexual violence – unhealthy attitudes and behaviours and gender inequality - we will make our province safer and more responsive to sexual violence and harassment." The plan includes information on how to intervene, how to be an ally, and new training for professionals on assisting women who have been victims of sexual assault.

If you are in crisis stemming from sexual assault or harassment here is a listing of resources in Ontario.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (14 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
That's a brilliant ad, if hard to watch. Thanks for this post.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

I am very excited about this! There's a lot of things in the plan that could be great. Just what I take out of a quick Action Plan reading, mainly on the legal side:

- Free legal advice for victims whose cases are going to criminal trial. It's not perfect: given that 33/1000 incidents get reported, I would prefer the legal side integrated with the counselling/emotional support at an earlier stage. But it's a pilot project, and certainly better than what exists.

- Mentorship for new prosecutors focused on sexual assault cases. This is a great idea, and should help a lot of the lawyers involved in avoiding stereotyped & misleading lines of inquiry. What it needs, I think, is for a similar program to be run (maybe by the Criminal Lawyers Association, funded by the gov't) for new defence lawyers - because they're the ones who would want to ask problematic questions to the victims. Again, a start, and we'll see what the program specifics look like.

- Dropping the limitations period (time after which you can't sue) for civil sexual assault claims and claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. YES.

- Allowing victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse to break leases prior to the normal 2-month period. This has definitely happened on the down-low by the Landlord & Tenant Board, but it's a
bit of a crapshoot. Good to codify it. The difficulty here will be the procedure - it'll presumably require either the (former) tenant to write about her harassment in a notice to the landlord, or to explain her actions at the LTB, which doesn't always have great procedures for confidential matters, especially in rural areas. Definitely good, wanna see how they do it.

- Requiring colleges/universities to have a sexual assault policy, renewed every 4 years, plus public reporting. Clery Act-analogue, if you know that. As we've discussed many many times, it+Title IX have their problems but are a force for good. It's notable that most universities and colleges in Canada got embarrassed a few months ago, in the light of the Dalhousie dentistry revelations, when it came out they didn't have policies on sexual harassment.

- New regs in the Occupational Health & Safety Act, clearly defining sexual harassment (it was always against the act, but codifying the definition is good), and having special inspectors trained to look into harassment. That second part is phenomenal - new laws mean nothing if there's no enforcement.

- the vast amounts of curriculum and school-based training that's happening. Which I'm not really capable of talking about, but everyone I trust is happyish with.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:32 AM on March 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

And separately, the language being used by Wynne and the government is great. As fffm's post says, she baldly uses "culture of misogyny" and similar concepts without qualifying them. Look at this!:
These norms [rape myths] prevent people from seeking help or reporting an assault. They support a rape culture, which has led to normalizing, even condoning, sexual violence and harassment.

Sexual violence is about power and control, not sexual desire. ... It is never the survivor’s fault.
Not to mention the great video ad. From the government! It's beautiful. I am really happy with Wynne right now.
I'd seen something on twitter than the Ghomeshi scandal, in which women slowly came forward talking about their experiences, pushed this whole proposal to the front burner. Interesting if true.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

Yeah, this was first floated in December; the Ghomeshi stuff (according to CBC) is what pushed this forward, announcement tied to Int'l Women's Day on Sunday.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:47 AM on March 6, 2015

Mentorship for new prosecutors focused on sexual assault cases .... Allowing victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse to break leases prior to the normal 2-month period

oh man, both of these are great ideas - although I have to admit, I don't have a huge amount of faith that the LTB will do a good job of handling such claims. Could easily turn into a painful re-victimization for claimants.

Mentorship for prosecutors is a great idea. Not sure what training criminal Crowns get now (probably ad hoc at best), but I've done a few interviews for criminal Crown positions and they always ask questions about sexual assault (would you force the woman to testify if she decides she doesn't want to go through with the trial at the last minute? stuff like that) which has always made me not actually want the job.
posted by iona at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

It looks like the CBC did a bit of investigative work on campus sexual assaults. Here's their article, which links to the tabular data. Very haphazard, which schools make the reports available vs not.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:19 PM on March 6, 2015

As frustrated as I am with the Ontario Liberals, I like Kathleen Wynne a great deal and I'm happy that she is premier. Coming on the heels of her sex ed policy, this seems to be another piece of excellent and badly needed legislation perfectly suited to prompting more insane and offensive outbursts from the Tory caucus.

So far we've got "keep the evil gay premier away from our kids", and "evolution is a lie" for the bonus round. Now we're probably one day away from the first MPP to make noise about legitimate rape. It almost makes me wonder if she is deliberately timing this for the Tory leadership race.

It seems like yesterday that the Serious People were genuinely wondering if her sexuality would be a political liability, and writing her off as a caretaker premier before the post-McGuinty shellacking everyone knew was coming.

Instead, Wynne had the wisdom to know she would never be able to win over the hateful dinosaurs of Southwestern Ontario, and has instead just given them every opportunity they could want to let their freak flag fly.

If she keeps this up, by next election, she'll have a solid record of socially progressive accomplishments to stand behind, and the Tories will be reduced to the "gay wind turbines are stealing my thoughts" rump caucus.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:47 PM on March 6, 2015 [9 favorites]

About... oh I guess twenty years ago, now, Ontario released a series of similar adds, with a very similar look and feel, aimed at addressing the problem of drinking and driving. The campaign was enormously successful, as it focused on stigmatising the act of driving drunk. Today, I'm often quite shocked when I hear people from other areas talking about drinking and driving as a venial sin; I think most Ontarians my age consider it to be a pretty heinous crime. Now, Ontario has the lowest impaired driving rate in Canada by a lot: about 60% of Quebec, 40% of Nova Scotia, and a tenth of the NWT.

I hope these adds prove similarly effective in stigmatising being a bystander to sexual assault and harassment.
posted by Dreadnought at 1:00 PM on March 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

Dreadnought: I don't remember these ads. Can you find a link?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:47 PM on March 6, 2015

Auntie Wynne is using her powers for the greater good. We don't usually see this in a politician, so I must say, I'm quite impressed. It kinda feels like she's... reflecting our values! Her timing is right, the opposition is in disarray, and if they try to criticize her about this then they just look like idiots. All she has to do now in order to be perfect is to find some crazy imaginary money somewhere to develop a 21st century transit plan for Ontario.

(The action plan website is as clunky as I would expect from the government of Ontario;)
posted by ovvl at 8:48 PM on March 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dreadnought: I don't remember these ads. Can you find a link?

I was looking, but I couldn't find any. Admittedly, not looking hard.

Here's a probably garbled memory: We're in a hospital, a person is rushed in on a gurney. Cut to a driver, in the waiting room, saying something along the lines of he just had a couple of drinks. It looks like he's crashed his car and killed a member of his family. The scene cuts out as we hear the heart-rending scream of a bereaved and frightened child... voice over: "A message from the Government of Ontario"

I seem to recall that there were several adds along these lines, all with the slightly washed out colours, naturalistic acting and difficult-to-watch sensibility of the new add linked above. The message was always made very clear: people who drink and drive are potential murderers.
posted by Dreadnought at 9:33 PM on March 6, 2015

Dreadnought - I totally remember the ad you're talking about but can't find it. I even checked the Retro Ontario PSA archive. There is, however, the Construction Association of Ontario workplace safety one called "Eye Shrapnel" that was childhood nightmare fuel. And still is.

But in terms of that flavour of anti-impaired driving ads you're talking about, the last one in the three contained in this series is particularly jarring, IMO. It seems like it's going to be a standard hectoring PSA, then goes all "OH FUCK!"

Even when I was in high school (in Ontario) in the early 90s, the consensus was that it was a heinous crime.

That was definitely in part due to the graphic PSAs that you just couldn't avoid. It says alot about the effectiveness of this stuff if you've got the dumb, drunk teenagers that were me and my teenage cohort making sure somebody's the designated driver.

Older friends of mine, and my parents, talk about how impaired driving was just a thing people did, and then there was this point at which it just became completely unacceptable. Public education played a big role in that.

Hopefully that's where these PSAs on sexual assault take things. nthing what others have said - this is an instance of Wynne using her powers for good, and timing it so that it's hitting when sexual assault and consent are being so widely discussed, and make "how could you just stand there and not do anything" the social equivalent of people watching you stumble to your car and driving away.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have been largely hibernating since my school is on strike, so I haven't seen any of this in action, but I think it's a great move on Wynne's part. I'd be delighted if sexual harassment became socially unacceptable in the same way drunk driving did.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:31 AM on March 9, 2015

Vice on the MRA pushback.

I really need to pop over there and get a picture of me giving the finger to that billboard in my feminist shirt.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:15 AM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

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