Calgary

Social media campaign aims to curb sexist behaviour at Stampede

Though 10 days of Stampede partying is supposed to be all fun and good times, there’s a dark side to all of the merriment – a spike in sexual harassment and violence.

Stampede organizers and mayor stand behind Twitter campaign

Stampede partying causes a big spike in sexual harassment, but a new social media campaign aims to curb misogyny and promote consent. (Cowboys Calgary/Facebook)

Though 10 days of Stampede partying is supposed to be all fun and good times, there's a dark side to the merriment – a spike in sexual harassment and violence.

A social media campaign with the hashtag #SafeStampede has been launched with the intention of curbing misogyny and promoting consent. The campaign is similar to one started during the hockey playoffs in Calgary, which had the trending hashtag, #saferedmile.

Victoria Bergeron says she was sexually harassed and groped at last year's Stampede. "There was almost this expectation because just the way you were dressed  . . . you were almost like kind of asking for it, you know?" said Bergeron.  

Like many other women, Bergeron will be using the #safestampede hasthtag, and she's happy that going into the Stampede this year there's a place to call out the cat-calling.

"I know thinking is hard when you're intoxicated, but at the same time, I think it needs to be instilled that cat-calling is not OK, that touching someone without their consent is not OK," Bergeron said.

Pam Krause, of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre, says this isn't just a women's issue, it's everyone's problem.

"It isn't a woman's problem, it's not a woman's fault, it's not a woman's responsibility," she said.

Stampede organizers and the mayor have embraced the hashtag #SafeStampede,  saying they stand behind the message.

"I'm glad the conversation is being continued, because it has to," says Bergeron. 

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