Good Night Out Vancouver to lead free anti-harassment workshop on heels of viral #MeToo movement

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      In light of the #MeToo movement that has flooded social-media feeds in recent weeks, which, in turn, has led to allegations of sexual assault in Vancouver’s own nightlife community, Good Night Out Vancouver has announced that it will host a free anti-harassment workshop at the Vogue Theatre (918 Granville Street) on Thursday (November 2).

      Adapted from a campaign of the same name in London, U.K., the anti-harassment group will lead a discussion among patrons and people involved in the local music, nightlife, and entertainment scenes about how sexual harassment and assault—and the rape culture that feeds it—can be abolished and better addressed.

      According to GNO coordinator Stacey Forrester, the team was invited to conduct the workshop by a collective of concerned industry folks after several women published accounts of alleged sexual harassment and assault leveled at male DJs and others active in Vancouver’s tight-knit nightlife community. Although the posts have since been widely circulated online, none of the claims have been proven in court.

      “This takes the conversation off the Facebook page,” Forrester tells the Straight by phone. “We now really need to start implementing strategies so that things change.”

      Titled Good Night Out 101, the complimentary session is open to people of all ages and genders. Attendees can expect to engage in an open dialogue while interacting with others in a number of activities that emphasize consent and safety. Prizes will also be available during the evening, which Forrester says will be very “conversational”.

      Good Night Out coordinators Stacey Forrester (left) and Ashtyn Bevan will lead an anti-harassment session in downtown Vancouver on Thursday (November 2).
      Rob Anderson

      “We don’t want anyone to be intimidated or uncomfortable,” she explains. “We’re trying to make it as easy [for people] as possible.”

      The two-hour workshop will serve as an extension of GNO’s day-to-day work, which includes conducting audits at local nightlife venues to ensure that they are prioritizing the security of their staff and patrons; offering harm-reduction training; and, for the past month, patrolling the Granville strip on weekends to defuse incidences of harassment. These may encompass anything from inappropriate language and catcalling to aggressive or unwanted behaviour.

      Given the millions of women who have come forward with their own stories of harassment and assault using the hashtag #MeToo—a viral campaign initiated by actress Alyssa Milano last week in the wake of accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein—Forrester hopes Vancouverites can come together to take concrete steps toward alleviating a problem that continues to thrive in all areas and industries.

      “Both sides will ideally leave [the session] with tangible things that they can implement the next time they’re at work or go out,” she says.

      Good Night Out 101 takes place on Thursday (November 2) at the Vogue Theatre. Admission is free. For more information about the event, or to RSVP, click here.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.