That Guy campaign

Police Scotland

On 30 September 2021, PC Wayne Couzens was sentenced for the rape and murder of Sarah Everard, sparking an outpouring of national anger and grief. Within ten days, Police Scotland’s That Guy campaign launched, seeking to change the narrative around sexual violence. It challenged young men to take responsibility for men’s violence.

That Guy has probably been the most successful UK police behaviour change campaign this century. Over 6m people watched the hero film worldwide. The campaign hashtag was used 34,000 times. 160,000 pages of web content were viewed.

The massive public engagement on social media, the widespread coverage across national and international press, together with the subsequent change in strategy from government and other UK police services, suggests it was the right message at the right time.

Driven by research, the campaign challenged the orthodoxy. Rather than educating men about consent, it focused on explaining the role male sexual entitlement plays in serious sexual crimes. Most men understand consent. They want to do the right thing but sometimes don’t. That’s down to the sexual entitlement embedded in society.

Men displaying overt sexual entitlement, even in supposedly small ways, are at significantly higher risk of sexual offending. We asked men to look in the mirror, to reflect on their own and their peers’ behaviour. We asked them to think about how it contributes to a culture that gives permission to offending and makes women feel unsafe daily. We asked men to start an honest conversation with each other.