Summer of Respect

Summer of Respect is a summer-long anti-sexual violence campaign, designed and run by WCHM and the Canberra Rape Crises Centre. The campaign begins in late October and continues until International Women’s Day on March 8. Summer of Respect is an opportunity—unique to and within the ACT—to deliver innovative anti-sexual violence initiatives sustained over five months of the year.

The overall aims of Summer of Respect are to:

  • Challenge rape-supportive attitudes or misperceptions about sexual violence in the community
  • Raise awareness about sexual violence
  • Provide individuals with practical information about supporting themselves or others if they have experienced sexual violence
  • Demonstrate what respectful behaviour looks like
  • Challenge men’s attitudes of entitlement to sex
  • Emphasise men’s responsibility for their own behaviour
  • Challenge attitudes that prevention of sexual violence is women’s responsibility through restricting their own behaviour
  • Mobilise men as bystanders to take safe action to challenge sexual violence and sexist/rape supportive attitudes
  • Affect perceptions of sexual violence and who is seen as responsible for its prevention
  • Increase the visibility of sexual violence as an issue in the ACT

These aims are pursued in different ways and with different audiences each summer.

WCHM and CRCC has collaborated with local artist Helani Laisk and social change marketing firm Agency to develop key awareness raising resources, including:

To meet these objectives we collaborated with local artist Helani Laisk and social change marketing firm Agency to develop four key initiatives, including:

The animation S**t guys say when they need to say something (contains explicit language)

A set of three posters to be displayed in men’s toilets in licensed venues and university residential colleges, a call to not be a passive bystander to sexual violence:

A simple website www.whattosay.org.au. This website is designed to give individuals the information they need to identify sexual violence and empower them to call it out. It includes advice on some safe ways to intervene when you witness and experience sexual violence. It also provides advice on how to support a friend who tells you they’ve experienced sexual violence. The website now includes two new sections: what to say for women and what to say for the workplace. Each new section incorporates information about responding to sexual violence and will include regular blog posts over the summer about issues like sexual harassment, dating, work parties and nights out.

The Summer of Respect received a Certificate of Merit in the November 2014 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

Summer of Respect does not receive funding, but has been able to be sustained through one-off grants from the ACT Office for Women and the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate. If you are interested in supporting Summer of Respect please follow us at www.facebook.com/summerofrespect.

Image: Josey Carnovale