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“Don’t Be That Guy” Campaign: Scotland Police are Leading the Way in Conversations about Male Sexual Violence

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“Help find better ways to be a man”

The brutal murders of the young women of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa earlier this year have sparked national outcry from women about their safety, especially when discussing sexual violence and harassment. From the aftermath of these horrific incidents, Scotland Police have released a new campaign titled “Don’t Be That Guy” with the aim to reduce sexual assault and harassment by having conversations with men about sexual entitlement. The video, which was released on 13th October 2021, has already been retweeted 26,400 times and liked 51,300 times, suggesting the popularity and need for such an honest conversation. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon expressed that the campaign was “powerful and important”. The campaign itself highlights behaviours from men that women may find intimidating such as being called “doll” and being whistled at in the streets. It also addresses the issue of men buying women drinks or dinner resulting in the belief that they are owed something, or pressuring a woman into sex and then leaving feeling like a “lad”- the stereotypical male ego-booster which is usually associated with successfully having sex.

The website running the campaign, That Guy, states that the campaign itself is about wanting “women to feel safer” and “to be free to live their lives without having to worry about what men say or do” through men looking at their behaviours and the way they interact at home, work and socialising with mates. It’s asking men to “look in the mirror” at where the root of the problems relating to sexual harassment and violence lie and is asking men to “find ways to be a better man”. The website states that men need to “stop contributing to a culture that targets, minimises, demeans and brutalises women”. Too often when discussing sexual violence and harassment, it is the women who are asked to change their behaviour by not to wearing certain clothes, not going out alone in the dark, not wearing headphones, or not getting drunk, as to prevent themselves from becoming victims of sexual violence or harassment. It highlights a culture where women cannot go out with their friends, wear what they want, or have a drink without attracting unwanted attention and then it ultimately being their fault for ‘allowing’ this harassment to happen. This victim-blaming is one of the reasons why horrific incidents keep happening. The focus is not and should not be on the women, it should be on the men committing these acts and the people around them allowing it to happen unscathed. Something as small as pointing out an inappropriate word that your friend called a woman is going to start a domino effect that can begin to change the mentality men have towards entitlement and women. All men should watch this thirty second film to begin to tackle behaviours that they themselves may correlate with, or have someone in their immediate circles who might. As Nicola Sturgeon said “then encourage your sons, fathers, brothers and friends” to watch it too.

“Too often we see violence against women framed as an issue women are burdened with solving, by adapting our behaviours to keep ourselves safe.”

Andres Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition

The campaign is one that should be praised, albeit one that shouldn’t have to be made. The lack of conversations between men about these matters and the absence of speaking out when a comment is made or action committed towards a woman that isn’t right needs to be more regular. Men are scared to call out their friends’ inappropriate actions in fear of being ostracised and yet, this ultimately leads to the belief that the privilege men assume they have over women is righteous and accurate. As the campaign highlights “sexual violence starts long before you think it does”; targeting this behaviour early and having more open and frank conversations with men – between men about their behaviour means, hopefully, that women need to no longer fear leaving their houses.

I commend Scotland Police on this prominent and realistic campaign, which hopefully is going to start the addressing of certain male behaviours and with the hope that it leads the way for more campaigns and conversations surrounding the element of sexual violence and harassment towards women, and what can be done by men to combat it.

Share it, quote it, retweet it, like it. “Don’t Be That Guy”.

I'm a postgraduate student studying LLM Human Rights Law at the University of Bristol, having studied my undergraduate degree in Politics and International Relations at the University of Northampton. I'm a student journalist with key interests in travelling, politics, human rights, style and music.
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