The first instance occurred on a post-secondary campus. An investigation was launched after 11 night break-ins were reported at a student residence at Université Laval. Four of the break-ins were being considered cases of sexual assault.
Secondly, a Member of the National Assembly (MNA), Gerry Sklavounos, was forced to remove himself from the Liberal caucus to sit as an independent after a woman came forward with accusations of sexual assault. Predictably, the media focused their questions on the woman’s arguments in an attempt to discredit her claims and story.
Finally, 41 police officers have sued Radio-Canada in Val d’Or after the public broadcaster ran a story about widespread sexual assaults of Indigenous women in the northern community. This story shocked the public last May when it first came to light by the reputable investigative reporting show Enquête. However, the police force has taken the position that the damaged reputation of 41 young white officers is more important than the lives of Indigenous women living with the consequences of violence by the so-called authorities.
Like many before, these cases have highlighted the lack of support for women navigating the judicial system in cases of sexual assault and rape. While many voices have vocally supported the women involved, the stories have instigated widespread victim-blaming, denial, and hate over the province’s airwaves.
Last week, more than 2,000 rallied against rape culture in Montreal, as well as Québec, Sherbrooke, Saguenay, and Gatineau. The rallies have opened up media space to talk about consent, respect, and other basic principles that are always broken when violence against women is at play.