Good Night Out Vancouver seeks donations to bring date-rape drug-detecting coasters to bars and clubs

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      A local grassroots organization is seeking help from the public in order to implement its new anti-harassment initiative.

      Good Night Out (GNO) Vancouver, a feminist campaign that aims to make pubs, bars, and clubs safer for women and those who identify as LGBT, has launched a crowdfunding page on Indiegogo to raise money for posters, coasters, and other print materials that will forward its mission around the city.

      Among these items are date-rape drug-detecting coasters that change hues when exposed to GHB and ketamine, two common substances employed in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. To use the coasters, patrons place small drops of their respective drinks on two separate areas of the mat to confirm if the beverage has been spiked.

      “The coasters are, in the scheme of things that are effective at preventing sexual assault, really low,” notes Stacey Forrester, one of GNO’s coordinators, by phone. “There are a lot of other things that are more effective at preventing rape and sexual harassment, including knowing how to intervene and having staff who are knowledgeable about what consent and sexual assault look like. But the coasters are a good tool.”

      However, the organization, which operates under the Vancouver chapter of international anti–street harassment network Hollaback, notes that it’s ultimately a “meaningful culture shift and dismantling of patriarchy” that will end sexual assault and gender-based violence.

      GNO also has plans to create posters and postcard-sized print materials that share information about consent, bystander intervention, and how to best support people who may feel threatened or unsafe in a nightlife environment. Bus fare for those who need a way home and coasters featuring consent messaging and designs by local female artists are on the docket, too.

      The volunteer-driven group, which relies solely on public donations, is asking for $1,000 to cover the production, sourcing, and placement of these supplies in GNO-certified venues in Vancouver. These pubs, bars, and clubs include the Red Gate Arts Society and sites that host events by underground electronic-music collective Groundwerk, all of which have proven to prioritize the safety of its staff and patrons as indicated by audits conducted by GNO.

      Forrester and fellow GNO coordinator Ashtyn Bevan hope that the project will encourage other nightlife spots in the city, particularly those in the Granville Entertainment District, to foster safer social settings as well.

      “We are hoping that this campaign will have venue managers be more proactive in their reaching out to us,” says Bevan.

      If you’re interested in contributing to Good Night Out Vancouver’s anti-harassment initiative, you can do so here. To learn more about the organization, visit its Facebook page

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