A social analysis
The action of the CALACS (Sexual Assault Help Centers) is aligned with the government orientations on sexual assault (Gouvernement du Québec, 2001), serving as the basis for action plans and government strategies: “The ultimate goal of these orientations is to eliminate power and domination relationships over women and girls, which are at the root of a large number of sexual assaults.” The CALACS recognize that power dynamics are at the root of sexual assaults. In fact, groups of women with more situations of vulnerability have higher rates of aggression.
An intersectional feminist intervention
The CALACS represent community alternatives for victims and survivors of sexual assault. Women and girls are placed at the center of their intervention as experts in their own lives. This type of intervention aims to reclaim power by following the rhythm of each person and by promoting the expression of multiple needs. CALACS workers recognize the impacts of the intersection of contexts of oppression and continually educate themselves to better tackle the relationships of domination not only between genders but also between various social groups.
A global strategy
For the CALACS, the fight against sexual assault cannot be reduced to interventions with victims and survivors: real solutions must be put in place to end violence. To carry out their mission, the CALACS undertake actions that include prevention, collective mobilization, working in partnership with various community resources, training of specialists, research and promotion of the expertise developed in the field to guide government action. Their actions revolve around three components: (1) assistance and support for victims and survivors, and their loved ones; (2) prevention, awareness campaigns and training; as well as (3) consultation, collective mobilization and rights advocacy.