Author: rqc_admin_gb

Survivors are out of breath: The CALACS present “Aching to be heard”  

Montreal, september 15th 2023 – The Regroupement québécois des Centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS) and its members (CALACS) are launching their campaign « Aching to be heard » as part of the 42nd Day of action against sexual violence against women. 

Each year, anchored in the activist tradition of the CALACS, this day aims to raise awareness among the population concerning the issues related to sexual violence (SV). For this occasion, participating CALACS are organizing walks, exhibitions, and many other activities across Quebec. 

“Aching to be heard” is a call for mobilization, action, and solidarity. This campaign embodies the alarming reality of women who have suffered SV and who see their voices silenced and their suffering minimized. 

“Sexual violence is an omnipresent and destructive reality that affects 1 in 3 women in Quebec. Unfortunately, many of these women feel exhausted from screaming about the abuse they have suffered, without having their voices truly be heard. Stigma, lack of support and inappropriate reactions from society make their fight for justice even more difficult” explains the CALACS of Trois-Rivières. 

Committing collectively to act against sexual violence means recognizing their experiences and helping to create an environment where they are heard, supported and where the prevention of sexual assault is a real priority. 

Organizations and individuals wishing to participate in the distribution of the “Aching to be heard” campaign material are invited to contact RQCALACS to receive the visual tools in printed and digital formats, produced with the financial contribution of the Department of Justice Canada. 

Day of Action on Sexual Violence against Women: The CALACS Network Launches a Campaign on Consent

Montreal, september 2022 – As the Day of Action on Sexual Violence against Women draws nearer, the Regroupement québécois des Centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS) is launching its campaign “Learning to talk about it: Towards a culture of consent.”

To mark the occasion, CALACS centres across the province will be holding marches, workshops and many other activities. You can insert your own activites here.

For over forty years, the RQCALACS and the 26 centres that form its membership have fought against rape culture through their prevention and advocacy work, in addition to providing support for victims and survivors of sexual assaults. With this new awareness campaign, CALACS centres are inviting the population to look to the future and move towards a culture of consent. This would look like encouraging healthy and egalitarian attitudes towards sexuality and taking all forms of violence seriously.

In order to get there, consent must be at the foundation of our relationships and be considered a serious issue by society. The campaign’s theme, “Learning to talk about it: Towards a culture of consent,” shines a light on these two dimensions.

We must first learn to talk about it and listen to ourselves, and then talk about it with our partners to verify consent in sexual situations. Consent must be informed, enthusiastic and freely given for each sexual act and can be removed at any time.

“Bringing about a culture of consent means that we also need to talk about it as a society and deconstruct the taboos, myths and prejudices around consent. We do this on a daily basis in the CALACS network,” explained Camille Souza, from the CALACS de Trois-Rivières.

“The only way this works is by fighting inequality,” added Karoleanne Thériault, from the CALACS L’espoir des Îles. “Sexual assaults are one part of the larger issue of violence against women, which intersects with other contexts of oppression, discrimination and exclusion.”

The history of the Day of Action on Sexual Violence against Women dates back to the Take Back the Night marches that began in the 1970s as an international feminist movement that sought to condemn acts of violence and reclaim public spaces.

“The CALACS are proud to participate in keeping this tradition alive every year on the third Friday in September, as we have since 1981,” stated Isabelle Corbin, from the CALACS des Rivières Haute-Yamaska Brome-Missisquoi.

Individuals or organizations wishing to help disseminate the “Learning to talk about it: Towards a culture of consent” campaign can contact the RQCALACS to obtain visual supports, both in printed and digital format, developed with financial support from the Department of Justice of Canada.

“Brave any way… our way!” 39th Day of Action on Sexual Violence against Women

Montreal, September 8th 2020 – Le Regroupement québécois des Centres d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (RQCALACS) and its members will celebrate the Day of Action on Sexual Violence against Women (DASVW) on Friday September 18th for its 39th edition, launching a public campaign under the theme “Brave any way… our way!”.

The recent wave of denounciations against sexual violence and harassment in July, brought to light the important issue of sexual violence and the urgency to prioritize the needs of survivors. Although many survivors have shared their stories publicly or privately, it is important to note that most of the publicized testimonials came from people of the white and francophone majority. Thus, resulting in a trivialisation of some experiences and homogenization of others. The challenges that survivors face are plural and multifaceted, yet some are still perceived as less valid. Although this is not the first uprising against sexual assaults and rape culture, the collective mind is still influenced by the perfect victim myth which is rooted in various systems of oppression. These stereotypes tend to erase the experiences of marginalised communities – First Nations, racialized, disabled, LGBTQIA2+, survivors with a precarious migratory status, survivors of incest, etc- creating additional barriers in the search for support, services or justice. The Day of Action on Sexulal Violence agains Women campaign’s goal is to recognize and celebrate the survivors and their journeys, whichever they may be. In order to stay true to their needs and realities, the survivors’ journeys have to be filled with bravery that was not chosen, but imposed.

“I am brave when I decide to prioritize myself

I am brave when I don’t let my pain define me

I am brave when things from the past come up and I have the strength to overcome them”

Respecting public health COVID19 guidelines, CALACS across the province will organize activities to mark the DASVW for the next ten days. The goal of this campaign is to be massively broadcasted. Citizens, groups and organizations are welcome to contact RQCALACS to receive information and visual tools to share in their communities.