Social media campaign ‘unblurring’ lines of boundaries and consent
By Jenn Watt
Published May 7, 2019
Drugs or alcohol are present in at least a quarter of sexual assaults reported across Canada and a social media campaign launched this week aims to bring greater attention to the issue within the region of Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes and Northumberland.
Called Unblurring the Line, the social media campaign welcomes people to tweet or post their messages or repost those already prepared by the co-ordinating body, the Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland Drug Strategy.
“Our hope for Unblurring the Line is to have these bigger conversations about the role of alcohol and other substances in sexual assault. We’re also trying in this campaign to give people information about boundaries and consent – so, some of these foundational components. And also trying to engage people in conversations free of shame and blame,” said Megan Deyman, co-ordinator of HKLN Drug Strategy.
An example of a prepared tweet from the campaign: “Planned Parenthood describes consent as freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific. Consent cannot be given if drugs or alcohol are in your system. If you are not sober, you cannot consent. The Ontario Government’s website provides further details about how to maintain consent.”
The campaign, which runs from Monday, May 6 to Friday, May 10, is part of Sexual Assault Prevention Month.
Deyman said she hopes the campaign’s tone will open conversations and promote setting boundaries and obtaining consent.
The media toolkit produced by the HKLN Drug Strategy states that the use of drugs and alcohol impairs one’s ability to maintain healthy boundaries.
“We all get to define our own lines,” the toolkit reads. “The challenge is that some substances cause us to forget the line, and we forget the healthy boundaries that we usually have. Keeping healthy boundaries and holding our lines is respectful of oneself and of others. The line can differ from person to person and situation to situation. It is most important to communicate effectively and ALWAYS ask for consent.”
The HKLN Drug Strategy is a coalition of member organizations in the three counties served. It was formed in 2016 with three-year funding through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. They are currently seeking sustainable funding to continue with their work. The four pillars of the drug strategy are harm reduction, prevention and education, treatment, justice and enforcement.
To follow the HKLN Drug Strategy and find out more about this campaign and their other work, go to www.facebook.com/HKLNDrugStrategy or follow them on Twitter at @HKLNDrugStrat.
Nick Adams was recently hired to fill the role of media and communications worker. Part of his role is to increase connection between the regions and the strategy. For more information: hklndrugstrategy.ca.