Flirting doesn’t mean ‘yes’.
It’s a simple message and part of a campaign to raise awareness about sexual abuse and harassment across Tasmania.
Laurel House, the Sexual Assault Support Service, and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association have joined forces to deliver a clear message; when negotiating sex, the only thing that means yes is yes.
A series of posters have been created, and will be displayed in pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues across the state, each delivering a key message about sexual harassment, abuse and consent.
SASS chief executive Jill Maxwell said the posters were about creating discussion and changing the normalisation of sexual harassment.
During The Examiner’sHands Off campaign, which was launched in response to alleged sexual assaults at music festivals, Ms Maxwell was surprised to see the amount of victim-blaming and the nature of community conversations.
“The campaign was launched to address some of those sexual abuse and sexual harassment behaviours that seemed to be embedded into our behaviours and attitudes, particularly out and about at different venues,” she said.
“I was a little bit shocked it was so prevalent, and this campaign is about confronting that, and it is saying to potential victims that these behaviours aren’t OK and to potential perpetrators that these behaviours won’t be tolerated.”
Ms Maxwell said both men and women had spoken out, saying when you go out with your friends at night being groped was “just the way it is.”
“It’s a busy time of year when people are out, having a few drinks with their friends and enjoying the warmer weather and the festive season, and there is quite spike in sexual assaults and sexual violence,” she said.
“I wanted to confront that and say that we don’t have to accept that and if it does happen you can report it.”
There must also be more education and conversations about what consent actually looks like, Ms Maxwell said.
“Quite often the myth is that if someone doesn’t say ‘no’ then you have consent, whereas we say the only way that you can ensure consent is when you have got a ‘yes’,” she said.
“There aren’t many people out there talking to our young people about what consent is and how to navigate consent in an intimate relationship, so we feel that it is really important that we take the lead in that and start talking to people.”
If you are interested in having posters at your business or venue you can contact SASS on 6231 0044 or Laurel House on 6334 2740.
- If you need help contact SASS 24/7 crisis line on 1800 697 877