Project SoundCheck™ was launched in 2015 to address sexual assault and harassment at large events/festivals. It is a project that trains event volunteers and staff in bystander intervention.
What is Project SoundCheck™?
Simply, we are a project dedicated to supporting festivals and large events in preventing sexual violence. You may be asking why we would need to do this, and that is a very good question. The Sexual Assault Network and the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women developed Project SoundCheck™ in 2015, after research from The Ottawa Hospital’s Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program found that large events had particularly high rates of sexual violence. The research noted that approximately 25% of the sexual assault cases they saw in 2013 occurred at large events. Out of these cases, the majority tended to be young women, and less than 1/3 knew the person who had assaulted them.
Do you know about bystander apathy?
Here’s what you need to know; bystander apathy is seen in large groups. We think that at large events we are safer, but this is false. Why is it false you ask? When we have larger groups of people, we do not feel the same responsibility to act because we think someone else will intervene. At Project SoundCheck™ we focus on #breakingthesocialcontract to ignore a situation and encourage folks to intervene or disrupt problematic behaviour.
Our work with event staff and volunteers has shown us that people are willing to talk about the prevalence of sexual violence and feel empowered to intervene after our trainings. We have also worked with multiple festivals and large events to continue to make our work meet the needs of artists, survivors, volunteers, security, and event staff.
Project SoundCheck™ is quickly becoming regarded as the Canadian gold standard when it comes to prevention at large events. We are known for our ability to work with festivals to develop individual prevention plans, and we pride ourselves on being collaborative and innovative.
Want to hear what our festival partners have to say about Project SoundCheck™ ? Go to: https://www.projectsoundcheck.ca/ or @projsoundcheck
We would like to thank Crime Prevention Ottawa (crimepreventionottawa.ca) for funding the 2015/2016 year of this project. As well, we would like to thank Wolfworks (www.worlfworks.ca) for their design work and printing of our material. Finally, this project would not have happened without the engagement from festivals, we would like to thank you all: RBC Bluesfest/Cityfolk, Hope Volleyball, Ottawa Capital Pride, Glowfair, Ottawa Explosion Weekend, Westfest, Fringe Festival, OH Canada, Media Styles, House of Paint, Animation Festival, Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls.