The B.C. government has begun a campaign to combat sexual violence, it’s called #SaySomething. Though more awareness about sexualized and domestic violence is undeniably a good thing, the campaign misses the mark when it comes to engaging men.
Unfortunately it will likely fall into the category of many advocacy attempts as ‘preaching to the choir’. The value of these initiatives is obvious but the effectiveness is questionable.
Firstly, the campaign showcases text-messages as their method of choice for intervention. Not only is the intervention context always after-the-fact, it purports texting as a viable medium for hardcore emotional discourses.
Secondly, the focus is on masculinity (which is a no-brainer target audience) yet the majority of the characters are reactionary females. There is a marked lack of masculine leadership inside the messaging; this is a significant lost opportunity for modeling positive masculinity.
#SaySomething does little to address reprogramming deeply conditioned behaviors yet casually brings up addiction, race, party-culture, relationships and shame. Simplifying rape into text-messages while naively suggesting that ‘saying something’ can somehow cure judiciary failure to prosecute is preposterous.
It is a reactionary program when what is needed is preventative measures targeted at men in a fashion they can easily decode.