The Canadian Federation of Students developed the “No Means No” campaign almost twenty years ago to raise awareness and to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault, acquaintance rape, and dating violence. The “No Means No” campaign offers various resources, including research on the incidences of sexual violence in Canada, buttons, stickers, posters and postcards.
The campaign continues to be widely popular on campuses and in the greater community where thousands of materials are ordered every year and circulated across Canada. In addition, the Federation has also given permission to filmmakers and publishers to use campaign materials in their works.
No Means No has succeeded in changing the culture surrounding acquaintance rape and dating violence in Canada. It was not so long ago that the campaign launch was met by a counter-protest with men on university and college campuses carrying placards with offensive slogans like “No means Yes”.
In February 2007, the clothier Bluenotes Inc. was selling t-shirts in their stores across Canada with the slogan “NO MEANS have aNOther drink”. After being informed of this product, the Federation immediately advised the company that the slogan was morally reprehensible and violated the Federation’s long-standing trademark on the slogan “No Means No”. Five days later, Bluenotes Inc. began recalling their “NO MEANS have aNOther drink” t-shirts and, by the end of the month, all of the t-shirts had been removed from their stores. In the weeks following the removal of the t-shirt, the Federation and Bluenotes Inc. worked in collaboration to design a new t-shirt promoting the No Means No campaign, which was included in the clothier’s summer line of clothing. Seasonal profits from sale of the t-shirts were then donated to the Federation to continue its campaign against date rape and sexual assault.
Today, thanks in large part to public education provided through the No Means No campaign, people have a greater understanding of their rights and responsibilities in sexual relationships. However, date rape and dating violence continues to occur on campuses and in our communities requiring the Federation to continue promoting this campaign.