One of the Speaking Rights Community Action Projects, undertaken by Juste pour Elles, a group made up of girls between the ages of 12 and 16 from the Maison d’Haïti, led to the creation of an awareness booklet 100% Hers: My Choices, My Limits (100% Elles : mes choix mes limites) on various issues related to egalitarian relationships, conjugal violence, harassment, sexual assault and sexual exploitation. With Equitas’ help, the group participated in the planning of the booklet’s launch. In the format of a round-table, the event allowed youth to express their realities, their experiences and to propose solutions, exchange ideas and be heard by people in decision-making positions and the adults they work with.
Following the launch, a committee was formed in partnership with other organisations, the Committee Against Sexual Assault in Schools (Comité contre les agressions sexuelles dans les écoles). Since its creation, the committee has had a significant impact, through media coverage on their work (The Gazette, La Presse, Le Devoir, Radio-Canada) as well as through the support of Québec Solidaire, the Marie-Victorin Cegep Foundation, the Conseil des Montréalaises and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
The Committee thinks that the Quebec Education Ministry (Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur) should take measures to ensure that elementary and secondary schools create plans to eradicate sexual violence in schools. Some of their recommendations are:
- Education and awareness activities for prevention amongst youth
- Protocols and safe spaces to facilitate the process of speaking up
- Measures for long-term follow-up to accompany victims in their healing process
- Measures for abusers to help them understand the full extend of the destructive impacts of their actions and for the prevention of repeated offenses
- Obligatory training for school personnel to guide them on appropriate behaviours and actions, risk factors, etc.
Equitas agrees with the committee’s propositions and fully supports their undertakings. Equitas congratulates everyone involved in this important project, particularly the girls in the Juste pour Elle group at the Maison d’Haïti for their role in the very beginning and for bringing such important issues to the forefront. Equitas is proud to have been able to contribute by creating a space which facilitated these types of discussions, leading to the development of this important initiative.