Edmonton's ongoing Don't Be That Guy campaign has been a irrefutable success, raising awareness for sex assault in the city and spawning identical efforts cities all across the country.
But the benevolent meaning behind the campaign is now being turned on its head by a counter campaign, which turns the original campaign slogan into 'Don't Be That Girl,' insinuating that women who report sex assaults are making it up because of regret.
Posters plastered at the University of Alberta campus read, "Just because you regret a one night stand doesn't mean it wasn't consensual."
An anti-feminist group called Mens Rights Edmonton claimed responsibility for the posters, the CBC reports.
Karen Smith, the executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the organization behind the Don't Be That Guy campaign, told the CBC the posters and their message are disappointing and inaccurate.
“It just doesn’t happen. Nobody would report sexual assault needlessly because it is a gruelling process to go through,” she told CBC.
The news comes the same day as the Canadian Women's Foundation released results of a survey that found one in five Canadians thinks women encourage sexual assault by being drunk.
The survey found 19 per cent of those polled believe women actually provoke sexual assault when they're intoxicated. Of those respondents, nearly 23 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 34.
“The belief that women are responsible for sexual assault because of their actions or appearance is still common in our society, and can cause women who have suffered abuse to stay silent and often feel responsible for what happened to them,” says Anu Dugal, director of violence prevention at the foundation in a statement.
“Canadians must stop questioning and blaming sexual assault victims and start asking why some men rape women.”
The message the posters are spreading is indefensible and those who plastered the posters are cowards, Edmonton city councillor and mayoral candidate Don Iveson told Global News Edmonton.
The posters, which were plastered in the university campus and around the city's downtown, were being ripped down on Wednesday, Global reported.
Social media condemned the posters, expressing disbelief, anger and irritation at the message, while others said they were glad the discussion was at least taking part in a public forum.
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Don't Be That Girl
But not everyone was in disagreement as several commentators, including two on The Huffington Post Alberta story, who believed the posters have merit.
I don't see what is wrong with these posters.
It is showing that there is a difference between a consensual one night stand with actual rape where the woman gave no consent.
I also disagree with Karen Smith as i believe some women would have and still claim rape when it was not the case in order to attack the other party.
The biggest and most high profile rape cases in the press over the years:
Duke Lacrosse players - she lied about rape.
Dominique Strauss Kahn - she lied about about rape.
Tech Crunch founder case - she lied about rape (and badly, he wasn't even in town the night of her claim)
Women definitely lie about rape, all too often - which is almost a great a tragedy as those who are actually raped.
Opponents of the posters, who on Twitter used the hash tag #victimblaming, also expressed concern regarding the danger of women falling into the "slut shaming" trap.
In April, 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons committed suicide after years of being bullied about an alleged rape that happened when she was 15 years old. According to reports, the sexual assault happened at a party and alcohol was involved.