A reporting tool for harassment in Vancouver. It's as easy as... sending a text.
Good Night Out was the grateful recipient of the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning’s 2018 Innovation Grant. We used this fund to implement a 2 month text-reporting system for harassment in Vancouver.
Read the full report on what we did & what we heard on the Creep Off line here.
Thank you to the team at Made In Print for the assistance in printing our promo materials!
Here are some of the highlights from the Creep Off pilot:
How it works:
What is this "creep off" project?
This project is for data collection only. It is NOT a way to get help in an emergency. If you are in danger, find a place or person that is familiar, ask someone for help, or call 911. We are giving this a go for the summer to a) collect some data about the state of creepy behaviors in Vancouver and b) see if people would be open to using technology in this way. It is not a bug spray.
What do I have to do ?
Save the number into your phone: 778 800 3822. When you experience or witness harassment, text "creep off" to the number and answer the 4 questions. creep off is essential to kicking off the question chain. Keep reading this page to learn some "Do's & Donts" and more details about the questions we are asking.
What do you hope to get out of this pilot?
Well, a few things! Firstly, we are frustrated that there isn't a strong set of data to draw from that tells us the prevalence of "sub-criminal" harassment in Vancouver. It makes it hard to create indicators when we apply for grants, and hard to show others why they should take the issue of harassment seriously.
Second, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women recently released a report called "Taking Action to End Violence Against Young Women and Girls in Canada." This report notes that there are currently no formal mechanism for victims to report behaviors of a harassing, but not necessarily criminal, nature and includes a recommendation that an easy to use, private service be created.
We want to see if this technology could be the start of filling that gap!
Some Do's :
Share the facts and keep answers short (scroll down for more details about how to answer).
Make your way through all 4 questions. If you abandon the process, and then try to start again, you will confuse the system and get an error message saying it doesn't understand.
Use it when it happens to you or someone else!
Spread the word about this project. We have 8 weeks to make the most of this pilot!
Write an essay for each answer, we have a character limit that's less than a tweet!
Share people's names or home addresses. This service is designed to be anonymous (meaning your number does not show up on the other end).
Who (or what) is behind this technology?
The technology behind this service is provided ( at a generously subsided rate) by a local company called WelTel. WelTel is also currently testing a similar service with the RADAR project to report contaminated drugs and overdoses in Vancouver.
I am feeling super triggered due to street harassment - do you have some resources?
Firstly, sorry that this happened to you.
"Unfortunately, the micro-aggression of street harassment takes a different kind of detox than, say, free radicals. The repetitive trauma of being out in the world as a person who isn’t considered to be an actual person (i.e.: women, people of color, queers, folks with disabilities, poor folks, fat folks, etc.) works its way into muscles (tense shoulders, stiffened backs, tightened jaws) and patterns of being (taking different routes home, constantly checking surroundings, etc)." Read more on post-harassment self care from this article at AutoStraddle.
WAVAW provides immediate emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through a 24-Hour Crisis Line.
The toll-free, confidential Crisis Line is answered by empathetic and skilled support workers. Crisis Line support workers are there to listen, to provide non-judgmental support and if needed, to provide information on available counselling services or referrals to other community programs and organizations. WAVAW 24-Hour Crisis Line: 604-255-6344 or toll free 1-877-392-7583
We also have MANY harassment related resources over here.
Is the Creep Off Text Reporting Project only for Vancouver?
The number will work anywhere, so use whenever you want to report harassment. Our final report on the pilot will likely only focus on Vancouver, but you never know - too early to tell!
How can I spread the word about this?
The success of this pilot is as good as the data it generates. This means we need to let people know about this project! If you are into being a "Creep off" promo person at shows, read this page and then send us an email at email@example.com. We will hook you up with all you need to promo the service at events this summer!!!!
Why do I keep getting a message saying the system doesn't understand when I am trying to make a report?
The 4 questions need to be completed to finish the cycle, before it can be re-started with another harassment report. Pick up the texting by answering the previous question and working your way through with answers.
About the questions we are asking....
How specific of a location do you need?
We would love to know if you are at a certain festival, bar, or event. Please name the event, venue or concert. If you are out and about in the city, name the closest intersection, the mall, or store you are inside. We do not want people's names or other things that will identify them though. So don't say, "John Smith's house at 123 Main St." but rather, "A house in Mount Pleasant" or "A house close to Main and 2nd"
What does it mean when it asks "What is the nature of the harassment?"
Harassment is a form of power based violence, and people can be targeted for a variety of reasons, many of which intersect.
Harassment therefore can be rooted things like in sexism, ableism, racism, xenophobia, classism, homophobia, transphobia, slut shaming, body shaming islamophobia , or any variety of combinations. If you are able to pick up on the nature of the harassment, share it with any short descriptors like the ones above. You can also just put "not sure" or "general."
We are looking more for descriptors than all of the details of the incident. For example: "My girlfriend and I were walking across the street after getting pizza . We were holding hands heading to a show when someone slowed down their blue car and yelled ..." would be WAY TOO LONG for the system. Texting "sexist" and "homophobic" tells us what we need to know.
Why do you need to know my gender identity and age?
A few reasons! It generates data that is richer and gives us evidence that certain people in our community may feel unsafe in the public realms and at events in our city. With this data, we can encourage venues, city officials, festivals and other entities to step up and to do more to help foster a sense of safety for everyone.
It also helps us see what the demographics of who our users are during the pilot - to better understand who is and isn't likely to use a tool like this.
It is an opened ended question, so you can describe your gender identity in whatever way feel best. If you don't wish to share, you can type "no thanks" or "rather not."