When the opportunity to participate in Vancouver’s Fashion Week was opened up to WAVAW we knew we had to take advantage of it. As a Rape Crisis Centre that has been working to prevent and eradicate sexualized violence against women by providing direct services and conducting public education, organically we knew we wanted this campaign to be centered on the advocacy work we’ve been doing for the past 30 years. As such we developed the “It’s Fashion. Not Justification for Rape” campaign which focuses on stopping women-shaming and victim-blaming. This campaign was highly inspired by the widely popular “Not Ever” campaign developed by Rape Crisis Scotland and with their support we launched our campaign on September 18, 2012.
WAVAW’s “It’s Fashion. Not a Justification for Rape” campaign is as urgent as ever. Just this year a study* conducted in Alberta revealed that an astonishing 40% of men thought that if a woman wears “provocative” clothing, she’s putting herself at risk for rape. WAVAW supports and navigates survivors through the Criminal Justice System and we continually witness how rape myths and biased perceptions influence the way women access and obtain justice. We live in a society that upholds perceptions and attitudes that blame women for sexual assault. How many times have you heard references to women “putting themselves at risk”, “sending the wrong message”, or “asking for it”? These perceptions and attitudes are so deeply ingrained in our society that women are the ones being penalized for the sexual assault; not the perpetrators.
WAVAW’s “It’s Fashion. Not a Justification for Rape” wants to shift perceptions and attitudes, we want to challenge people’s thinking about sexual assault and encourage them to challenge their peers. Throughout Fashion Week, September 18 – 23, 2012, our “It’s Fashion. Not a Justification for Rape.” spot was featured on one giant LED screen outside and on one LCD screen inside the Vancouver Fashion Week venue, the Chinese Cultural Centre at 50 East Pender St., Vancouver. Below are some pictures from the event.