Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review                                Good Night Out held two information sessions in Revelstoke last week for bar staff and servers on how to protect themselves and patrons against sexual assault.

Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review Good Night Out held two information sessions in Revelstoke last week for bar staff and servers on how to protect themselves and patrons against sexual assault.

‘It’s 2018 and we shouldn’t tolerate this anymore’: Advocacy group against sexual assault visits Revelstoke

Good Night Out says rape culture has become normalized

The organization Good Night Out Vancouver came to Revelstoke last week.

It’s part of an international initiative dedicated to raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault on nights out.

“Night life is a lively part of my life. It’s 2018 and we shouldn’t tolerate this anymore,” says Ashtyn Bevan, a regional organizer for Good Night Out Vancouver.

The organization aims to raise awareness of the links between alcohol and sexual aggression. The group was initiated from community concerns that staff and patrons in Vancouver’s nightlife could benefit from education around how to recognize, interrupt and prevent sexual harassment and assault on nights out.

The group also patrols the streets of downtown Vancouver to provide help and support the police.

“We’ve found so many women in a back alley unconscious,” says Bevan.

While based out of Vancouver, Good Night Out travels the country. Bars and clubs book them to educate staff on how to protect themselves and their patrons from sexual assault.

“Businesses should be taking on a role to keep patrons safe,” says Bevan.

One drinking establishment in Revelstoke, who did not want to be named, hired Good Night Out for two sessions last week.

“I attended a seminar [Good Night Out] last April at the BC Hotel Association Annual Function Summit in Whistler and found it very informative and educational,” wrote the manager of a drinking establishment in Revelstoke, in an email response to the Review.

“I felt it would benefit our team as guest and staff safety is our number 1 priority,” he said.

The manager says he is not aware of any sexual assaults occurring at his establishment.

Approximately 35 Food and Beverage staff members attended the Good Night Out session last week.

According to Good Night Out, sexual harassment is not simple to define.

“It can be anything that makes your customers or employees feel uncomfortable,” says Bevan.

“Context is everything.”

Examples include: unwanted whistling, leering, sexist/homophobic/transphobic slurs/sexual names, following, flashing, groping, taking photos without consent and sexual touching.

“People can always revoke consent. It’s not always as simple as yes,” says Bevan.

The Stats

As with most things, the session began with numbers.

More than 4o per cent of Canadian women have been harassed at work according to numbers provided by Good Night Out. Almost 70 per cent of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assault.

Other notable statistics include:77 per cent of stalking victims are women

21 per cent of people between 18 and 34 incorrectly believe sending an explicit photo, text or email counts as consent

45 per cent of perpetrators were identified as a casual acquaintance or friend

1,397 sexual assaults occur in Canada every day

Bevan says statistics regarding sexual assault are problematic.

“Not all people report to police.”

And so, these numbers are probably on the low end.

Another problematic aspect of dealing with sexual assault are rape myths, such as only bad people get raped, rapists are easy to identify or it’s usually men in trench coats jumping out of the bushes.

“It’s usually someone you know,” says Bevan.

READ MORE: Open house on sexual assault to be held at Community Centre

Good Night Out says rape culture is deeply embedded in Canadian culture and individuals can contribute without ever committing sexual assault.

“When I go change my outfit 25 times before going out for the night, I help contribute to rape culture,” says Bevan.

Sexual assault in Revelstoke

When researching Revelstoke prior to arrival, the two organizers say they noticed numerous media stories on drink spiking in the community.

Since 2015, the RCMP in Revelstoke say they have had 14 reported cases of sexual assault, of which two are suspected to involve drugs. So far this year, there have been five reported sexual assaults, none of which allegedly involve drugs.

“As far as drink spiking, we understand this to be occurring, we have seized GHB in Revelstoke and have multiple confirmed cases of persons consuming GHB intentionally,” wrote Staff Sergeant Kurt Brabinsky, from Revelstoke RCMP Detachment.

READ MORE: Revelstoke RCMP issue sexual assault warning

GHB is a central nervous system depressant and can cause loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, amnesia and comas. It’s commonly referred to as a “date rape” drug.

However, many drugs can be used to spike drinks, even Benadryl and Gravol.

“We rarely hear of people getting caught spiking drinks,” says Forrester.

While the RCMP say they do not have any drink spiking reports for 2018, Revelstoke Victim Services does.

“The number of incidents seems to come in waves and we’ve seen an increase in the last couple months,” says Stephanie Melnyk, from Victim Services.

“December is a difficult month because of all the partying.”

However, Revelstoke isn’t unique.

“For drink spiking, Revelstoke is on par with other communities,” says Melnyk.

“But here there are two degrees of separation.”

Interior Health further also noted that tracking drink spiking is difficult.

“Emergency Department visits are tracked by symptoms as opposed to causes and as stated earlier some may suspect their drink has been spiked but if they do not attend the ER straight away then results may not show this and its often unreported so it is very unclear as to how often it is occurring but we know that it is,” wrote Julie Lowes, site manager at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke.

“Even if people are not sure we still encourage people who think this may have happened to them to come up to the hospital immediately,” says Lowes.

If someone says they have been assaulted

It’s important to believe them says Bevan.

“At least believe they are scared enough to seek you out.”

When someone steps forwards, it’s not the time to be Judge Judy.

“Listen to them and don’t assume. This may require you to challenge your own internalized rape myths,” says Bevan.


Good Night Out says the #MeToo movement changed everything.

“When we started, businesses said they don’t have sexual assault issues. After #MeToo our bookings went up 300 per cent,” says Forrester.

“These conversations are important because it helps people acknowledge that there is a problem.”

Forester says for a long time, we have viewed sexual harassment as a part of going out for the night.

“But it’s shifting now.”


Safety tips

The RCMP would like to remind patrons of the following safety tips for drink spiking:

Keep an eye on your drink. If you leave your beverage unattended for any reason, discard it rather than consume it.

Don’t accept drinks from someone you don’t know, unless you have witnessed it being poured

Order bottle beverages and ask they be opened in your presence

avoid sharing other people’s drinks

Cover your drink with your hand or coaster

Look for obvious signs of tampering

“Party with your friends”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

Begbie View Elementary has put together a cookbook of 187 recipes from the student and staff community to help fundraise for a natural playground. (Submitted)
New Revelstoke cookbook launched to raise funds for local school

The recipe book is a fundraiser for a natural playground at Begbie View Elementary

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Police responded to W.L. Seaton Secondary after reports of young man attempting to smash car windows in the student parking lot on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Facebook)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

Member of W.L. Seaton Secondary exposure Nov. 26

Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP was called to a report of a fight at an Okanagan Landing Halloween party Saturday, Oct. 31, but issued the homeowner a ticket  under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act for having too many people at the party. (Black Press file photo)
West Kelowna man, dog rescued from carbon monoxide poisoning

The man was quickly transported to the hospital

The aftermath of the 3 a.m. fire in Keremeos. (Keremeos Fire Department)
Fire and explosion wakes Keremeos residents

A motorhome was consumed and a boat severely damaged after the 3 a.m. fire

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

The former BC Tree Fruits office building at 1473 Water Street has been sold. (Contributed)
BC Tree Fruits downtown Kelowna office sold for $7.5M

Historic building sold for 44 per cent more than the $5.2-million asking price

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

Margaret Holm
HOLM: Better Bicycle Lanes

Margaret Holm writes about solutions to global warming

Most Read