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Police taking action against sexual assault as gov't mulls sex ed classes


In the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against well-known Quebecers this week, Montreal police have set up a telephone hotline for this wishing to make complaints.


Police are urging people who believe they have been the victim of sexual assault or a similar crime to call 514-280-2079.


That line will be staffed from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday.


People can also visit their local police station to file a complaint – and in case of emergency should always call 9-1-1.


“We want them to reach out. We needed to give them more opportunities to do so and we thought of a phone line to communicate directly with our sexual assault unit,” said Marie-Claude Dandenault of the Montreal police.


This week dozens of people have come forward to denounce TV and radio host Eric Salvail, Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon, and Quebec City radio host Gilles Parent.


The movement to denounce sexual harassment and assault is also active online with the #metoo/#moiaussi hashtags created by actress Alyssa Milano to support her former co-star Rose McGowan, who has accused movie producer Harvey Weinstein of raping her.


95% of working women affected: Quebec group


Quebec group against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace receives roughly 6,000 calls a year.


The vast majority of calls come from women, said Yvonne Seguin, who works with the group. “95 per cent of all working women will have been a victim of sexual harassment at least once during their career,” she said.

Many don’t press charges out of fear they will lose their jobs, she added, saying it’s a minimum three-year legal battle and often comes with judgment.“We sit and say, ‘Well are you sure that's what he meant? And how many times did he do it? And it wasn't that serious.’ Well I think when they come forward it's because it's serious,” she said.


Statistics show that 1 in 4 women in Quebec have been sexually harassed or abused in their lifetime.


Freelance writer and women's rights advocate Toula Drimonis was sexually harassed for the first time by a family friend when she was eight.


“I was in a room alone with him and all of a sudden he just reached over, unzipped his pants reached over grabbed my hand and put it on his penis,” she said.


Drimonis said social movements like the hashtag #metoo and #moiaussi and public cases including the recent allegations against Gilbert Rozon are giving many women the courage to break their silence.


“I think people who have possibly used their powers to abuse and to harass need to be very careful and I think they need to realize women are willing to come forward now,” she said.


The hotline is a step in the right direction, said Seguin.


“If we keep denouncing, if we’re not accepting, then our legal system has no other choice but to listen to us,” she said.


Government taking action


Meanwhile the provincial government has tapped a $1 million support fund to help victims of sexual assault.


Women's Minister Helene David and Public Security Minister Lucie Charlebois announced Thursday the short-term boost in funding for organizations that provide assistance for victims of crime.


“They can help and they can have a short waiting list because they will have more people or more services,” said David. “There's something going on in the society - and we see that in Hollywood, we see that all over the world.”


“First and foremost we have to think about the victims,” Premier Philippe Couillard added. “On specific cases I will not comment. I would just say that there should be obviously no tolerance in our society for this. People who are victims should be helped.”

Mandatory sexual education?


There are also calls for the province to re-introduce mandatory sex education courses.


Education Minister Sebastien Proulx said in the legislature that sexual education should be mandatory and begin in elementary school.

"I want the classes to be mandatory," he said. "And I will work towards that."

Quebec solidaire said the classes should be taught by educators who are properly trained to do it.


“How do you teach sexual relationships in mathematics courses? I don't know,” said Quebec solidaire MNA Monon Masse.


Pris de: https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/

Le 19 octobre 2018

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