In response to the report from Québec’s Expert Committee on Support for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, L’R des centres de femmes du Québec applauds the committee’s demonstrated understanding of the issues. “It is clear that survivors and victims of assault were heard, including those who offered testimony during our symposium on justice during the #MeToo era.1 This is very encouraging, and we are particularly pleased to see our recommendations echoed in this report. The document duly acknowledges the expertise of women’s centres, as well as community organizations, when it comes to issues of women and violence,” explains Valérie Létourneau, co-coordinator at L’R.
Despite the report validating the experiences of both survivors and women’s centres, a number of problems remain. “The report makes no clear commitments,” remarks Létourneau. “We appreciate the work of this advisory committee whose mandate was transpartisan and led by elected feminist officials, but no timeline is proposed, and there is no discussion about issues of funding.” L’R also appreciates the committee’s intention to use an intersectional analytic approach but points out that it was not carried out systematically. Important implications come into play when intersectional analysis is not well understood and inconsistently used as, by definition, an intersectional approach must be applied methodically across the whole of the questions at issue.
While women across Québec are still reeling from the uppercut thrown by the “justice” system on Tuesday in relation to the Gilbert Rozon affair, women’s centre workers out on the frontlines are at their wits’ end as they try, with far too few resources, to rally the efforts needed to respond to the enormity of women’s needs — a challenge only exacerbated by the pandemic but one they have contended with for years now. “We don’t need to strike an umpteenth secretariat with limited authority as the committee proposes in its report. The imperative is to create a distinct provincial ministry to address women’s issues and gender equality. Women’s groups have been demanding this for decades now,” insists Létourneau. “The events of this week shine a harsh and revealing light on the tragic gap between wishful ambitions, as exemplified by the committee’s recommendations, and the realities on the field, not least the workings of the justice system. It is high time for Québec to install a ministry that is at once accountable to the National Assembly and tasked with implementing the report’s recommendations in partnership with women’s groups.”
For more information and interview requestsÈ
Éliane Legault-Roy, public relations officer