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

15 September 2022

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.

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