Recently, thousands of women in Quebec publicly denounced the sexual assaults they’ve suffered, for example as part of the "Aggressions not denounced", "We believe you" or "Without Yes It’s No" campaigns. Thanks to these, it is no longer acceptable to ignore that today 83% of victims are girls and women while 97% of alleged perpetrators are men, nor to question that only 10% of assaults are the subject of a complaint to the police. It should now be obvious that, far from being a series of isolated acts, sexual violence should rather be understood as a social phenomenon, produced, tolerated, and encouraged by rape culture. Public, police, legal, medical or even academic institutions participate directly, whether through inadequate responses, guilting victims, or protecting aggressors.
Feminist mobilizations have certainly made it possible to highlight the extent of rape culture, but the fact that sexual violence does not affect all women, in the same way, is still too often ignored by the general public. The rape culture is indeed interwoven with colonialism, ableism, racism, capitalism, lesbophobia, and even transphobia. Sexual assault primarily constitutes a seizure of power over women's bodies, and women who find themselves in the middle of several unequal social relations are thus more at risk of being assaulted. It is time to put an end to the invisibilization of violence experienced by lesbians, trans women, elderly women, women of color, indigenous women, women prostitutes/sex workers, or women with disabilities.
For example, 40% of women and girls living with a physical disability, intellectual disability, or mental health disorder and deaf women will experience at least one sexual assault in their lifetime. These girls and women are four times more likely to be attacked than women without disabilities. This violence takes different forms, ranging from verbal harassment to physical assault, from sterilization to forced abortion, from denial of sexuality to sexual abuse. The situations of dependency, created by the ableist civil organization, reinforce this vulnerability: almost a third of attacks are committed by the people who are supposed to assist these women. The respect of consent should be a right given to each of us.
Sexual violence is a social phenomenon, so it is not an unchanging situation! During the 12 days of action, feminists are mobilizing across Quebec to fight against violence and we invite you to review the calendar of actions and to participate extensively.