WATCH: You may soon be able to add ‘consent captain’ to things you might expect to see at your favourite Vancouver Island nightclub. April Lawrence explains.
It’s the site of many artsy and edgy events in Victoria, and now the Victoria Event Centre is on the cutting edge once again.
Tanille Geib has been hired here as a consent captain. Her job is to start the conversation about consent with the goal of stamping out sexual harassment and assault.
“If they are feeling uncomfortable in any way they can come and talk to me and I can support them in whatever way they think feels best,” said Geib.
On the weekends the centre often operates as a nightclub, packed with young people. And like most clubs, the drinks are flowing and that can lead to uncomfortable and even dangerous situations.
“Even the other night I went out and got catcalled and groped this is not new news, it’s happening and it’s part of our behaviours,” said Geib, who has been studying human sexuality for 10 years and works as a sexual health educator.
Those who run the Victoria Event Centre say they came up with the idea in response to the #metoo movement.
“Inappropriate touching, catcalling, sexual harassment is definitely something that is still out there despite how our dialogue might have shifted,” said Victoria Event Centre Booking Coordinator Chris Fretwell.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre says that sexual assault is a problem in the nightlife scene that requires a cultural shift. They say what they’re doing at the Victoria Event Centre is a step in the right direction and they’re hoping other venues will follow suit.
Geib will be at the venue every weekend, listening to those feeling harassed, and approaching those who are doing it. But she insists she’ll be educating rather than policing.
“All of this grey area around nuance around what consent is, is confusing and a lot of people are nervous about well I can’t even flirt anymore, but it’s not about that,” she said.
“If we just ask people to leave they’re going to go to the next nightclub and continue that behaviour so I would rather start having those conversations with folks here in this space and keep them in the community.”
She says she’s willing to hold workshops if other clubs want to jump on board and make consent captains a city-wide service.