Edgy Ontario ad combating sexual violence goes global

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s crusade has gone global thanks to an ad viewed more than 7 million times, which urges bystanders to step in.

Ontario’s premier announced a $41-million plan to combat sexual assault and violence and a new advertising blitz.


Premier Kathleen Wynne’s crusade against sexual violence has gone global, thanks to an edgy Ontario government ad that has been viewed more than 7 million times.

The one-minute TV spot — created by Leo Burnett Toronto and unveiled by Wynne onMarch 6 — is part of a three-year, $41-million campaign to fight sexual violence and harassment.
It has become a viral sensation around the world, with 2.48-million Facebook views inTurkey, where local activists added Turkish subtitles, and 1.42 million times in Portugal.
“This will make everyone safer. It’s very important to me that we take action,” Wynne said Monday in a statement.
The premier’s dozen Twitter posts of the ad with the hashtag #WhoWillYouHelp have been retweeted 24,000 times, potentially reaching 23.9 million people.
Embedded in tweets and posted on Facebook, YouTube, and news sites like thestar.com, the ad has been viewed 7.1 million times and depicts four disturbing vignettes of women being assaulted by men while onlookers do nothing to intervene:
A supervisor harassing an employee looks at the camera and says, "Thanks for minding your own business" - reminding bystanders that they have a role to play in preventing abuse.
GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO: A supervisor harassing an employee looks at the camera and says, “Thanks for minding your own business” – reminding bystanders that they have a role to play in preventing abuse.
  • A barely conscious drunk woman is videoed by a group of men at a party, when one turns to the screen and says: “Thanks for keeping your mouth shut.”
  • A woman working at her office computer receives a shoulder massage from a creepy looking supervisor, who looks into the camera and says: “Thanks for minding your own business.”
  • A teenage boy, showing racy photographs on his phone to his friends, whispers: “Thanks for not telling my girlfriend.”
  • A man in a crowded bar slips a date-rape drug into a woman’s drink and says: “Thanks for not telling anyone.”
“When you do nothing, you’re helping him,” intones a male announcer.
“But when you do something, you help her.”
Then, the four women look into the camera and express gratitude for helping them in the harrowing scenarios.
Wynne said she is pleased by the reception to her government’s “It’s Never Okay” action plan, sparked by Star investigations into sexual assault allegations against ex-broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi and an examination of how universities and colleges ‎handled complaints of sexual violence.
“By having this discussion as a society, we can do a much better job of increasing awareness, having an open discussion about what healthy relationships are and what appropriate behaviour is,” the premier said.
“This will make everyone safer. It’s very important to me that we take action,” she said.
“Given the number of people from around the world who have seen this ad, be it in English, French, or the international translations we’ve seen posted, we know this issue is resonating and there is an expectation that government helps enact change.”
  • The Ontario government’s new TV ad has been viewed 242,000 times on YouTube — more than double Queen’s Park’s entire monthly average of views after just 10 days.
  • Locally made Turkish and Portuguese translations have been seen 2.48 million and 1.42 million times respectively on Facebook.
  • The Ontario government’s Facebook post has reached 487,000 people, the most ever for a posting by the province.
  • Other nations where the ad has been widely seen on YouTube: the United States, Philippines, India, and France

MVP Strategies Leadership Training

MVP Strategies leadership training gives student trainees:
  • Ways to think critically about their leadership role in challenging harmful or dangerous gender and sexual norms that contribute to sexual harassment, sexual assault and relationship abuse.
  • Several options to employ in response to situations of actual or potential violence.
  • Information about the role of alcohol as a correlative factor in incidents of abuse and strategies for bystander intervention in circumstances of potential sexual assault where alcohol is involved.
  • Ideas about how to apply the bystander concept to issues of bullying, heterosexism, racism and mental health issues.
  • Support to introduce the key concepts of bystander intervention to incoming students who live on campus in both group settings and one-on-one interactions.
  • Information about on or off-campus resources they can share with students, including referrals for further information or services.
  • Handouts and other MVP curricular materials.

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