Report on the Forum on Sexual Assault and Harassment

On December 14th, the Association for the Voice of Education in Quebec (AVEQ) participated in the forum on sexual assault and harassment that took place in the Centre des congrès in Quebec. The event allowed AVEQ to follow up on Bill 151 and to discuss solutions regarding sexual violence in the workplace, institutions, and society in general with many community and government actors.

AVEQ wishes to commend the quick organization of a forum on sexual violence, and to salute the presence of several organizations from across Quebec. However, AVEQ remains disappointed in the lack of diversity and representation on the morning panel. We would have liked to see a larger diversity (including Indigenous people, racialized people, the LGBTQ+ community, etc), as well as a larger place afforded to survivors. We are disappointed that our question regarding the police force was not answered, despite two Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers being present on the panel:

“AVEQ has been opposed, throughout the consultations on Bill 151, to the police force being considered an external resource for campuses. Victims, particularly those who are Indigenous, racialized, or part of the LGTBQ+ community, do not generally have confidence in the police, and for a good reason. Thus, what place should the police have when it comes to sexual violence? How are you planning to change the culture of the police force?,” inquired Häxan Bondu, AVEQ’s Coordinator of Sociopolitical Affairs.

Regarding the announcements made by the government at the end of the Forum on sexual assault and harassment, the atmosphere suggested that the organizations present were not completely satisfied. AVEQ doubts that the $25 million (over a period of 3 years) announced to fight against sexual violence, including $17 million allocated for organizations, will be sufficient to support victims and survivors across Quebec. AVEQ supports mandatory education on sex and consent for all primary and secondary students. However, since this new responsibility will fall into the hands of teachers and will not be a new course offered by experts, AVEQ is inclined to doubt the effectiveness of this measure.

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