Fighting to end sexual violence

We consider that sexual assault is not only a problem of individual behaviour, but rather one that is rooted in a social context which generally makes women more vulnerable to assault. Rape culture is damaging and social responses to sexual assault, including the justice system, are still flawed.

As a feminist group, CALAS denounces, demands, protests and mobilizes in order to achieve lasting social changes for greater social justice, so that true equality between women and men can be achieved. Through our actions and mobilization, awareness and denunciation, we want to remind people that “the personal is political”, that sexual assault is not a shame for the victim, and that it must be everyone’s business. To put an end to it, all of society must change.

As an advocacy group for sexually assaulted women, we are continually confronted with the shortcomings of the justice system in dealing with sexual assault cases.

While there have been improvements in the justice system over the years, the fact remains that the victim often feels they bear the brunt of the judgments and stereotypes of the actors in the system. Investigations often rely on the credibility of the victim, the evidence, the discrediting of the victims by the defense, or lenient sentences, which are all facets of the justice system that contributes to oppressing women. The increasing delays encountered by victims in filing complaints, the low retention rate of complaints, and the lack of preparation for testimony are other examples of the shortcomings of this system.

The World March of Women is an international movement of feminist actions led by women from around the globe who come together around common values, established by the Women’s Global Charter for Humanity.

Instead of separating ourselves, we, women of diverse ethnic, cultural, religious, political, class, age and sexual orientation backgrounds, are united by this diversity in a more global solidarity. From the beginning of the movement in 1995 with the Marche Du pain et des roses in Québec City to the World March of Women’s 5th action in 2021, CALAS activists are engaged in regional, national, and international actions and carry their demands.

For more information (French):

For more information on the WMW (French) :

International Women’s Rights Day, celebrated on March 8, has its roots in the early 19th century in America and Europe where pioneer women protested to gain recognition for certain rights, including universal suffrage. This day is celebrated by various organizations in the region every year.

For more information:

This campaign takes place throughout Quebec from November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to December 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Throughout Quebec, groups are calling on citizens in various ways to denounce the obstacles to the elimination of this violence. In the Outaouais region, the 12 Days of Activism campaign will conclude with a public rally on December 6 at Parc Mémoire d’Elles in Gatineau to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Polytechnique massacre and the ongoing feminicide.

The 12 Days of Action campaign:

The culture of hypersexualization and sexist advertising are closely linked to the problem of sexual assault. This sexist social representation accentuates gender inequality and trivializes violence against women and girls.

Whether through magazines, advertisements, the Internet, music videos or other media, the stereotypical sexualized image of women and girls feeds the idea of the female as an object. This phenomenon, largely inspired by the world of pornography, is fundamentally sexist: it uses the bodies of women and girls, and promotes a culture of toxic masculinity.

For more information and how to respond to hypersexualization:

CALACS de Rimouski’s practical information and action guide on hypersexualization (French):

How to denounce sexist advertisement or message: htpps://

Various tools are also available on the site : Help youth fight against hypersexualization

We believe that a new world is possible: a world free of prostitution and all forms of sexual exploitation. CALAS stands in solidarity with all sexually exploited people and fights for the decriminalization of those exploited, but not of clients or pimps.

Several years ago, CALACS took a position on the issue of prostitution. For us, prostitution is a form of violence resulting from different oppressive systems that combine patriarchy, sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, transphobia and heterosexism. Prostitution has many consequences both individually and socially. Our work consists in helping women to overcome them. 

Thus, we are part of the abolitionist movement. This movement advocates measures to fight more effectively against the system of prostitution, namely the criminalization of clients and pimps, but the decriminalization of sexually exploited people. CALAS supports women in prostitution and those who have been involved in prostitution and fights for the decriminalization of those exploited, but not of clients or pimps.

We must emphasize the importance we attach to the decriminalization of prostitutes, since they are victims of sexual exploitation. These people, mostly women, have the right to  receive help to leave prostitution, without judgment or discrimination. The government should offer them real alternatives to meet their needs, including by implementing concrete measures to fight poverty.

At the social level, prostitution perpetuates the inequalities between men and women; men are mostly clients and women are mostly exploited. All women are affected by this reality by living in a society where pornography and prostitution are banalized, even encouraged.  Women’s experience shows us that most people enter prostitution by lack of choice and often at a very young age. “According to estimates, the average age of those who begin prostitution before the age of 18 is 13 or 14 and it tends to decrease” (Yolande Geadah, La prostitution, un métier comme un autre?, 2003).  Several studies also show that the vast majority of women in prostitution want to get out (Élaine Audet, Prostitution, perspectives féministes, 2005).

In solidarity with all regions of Quebec, especially under the banner of the “Engagez-Vous pour le communautaire” campaign, we demand that the government adequately supports autonomous community action (ACA) by increasing its funding for its mission and respecting its autonomy, while achieving social justice by reinvesting massively in public services and social programs.

Commit to “Engagez-Vous pour le communautaire” website (French):

To learn about the criteria for autonomous community action: QU’EST-CE QUE L’ACA? – Table régionale des organismes communautaires autonome de l’Outaouais (

To find out about actions in the Outaouais:

Other campaigns

We watch for other feminist mobilization from an intersectional perspective.

We keep ourselves informed and mobilize our activists around different struggles, such as:

May: Pro-choice presence at the “March for Life” in Ottawa (

May 17: International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (

September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation / Orange Shirt Day (

October 4: National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (

November 20: National Child Day (

Activism at CALAS

At CALAS de l’Outaouais, we don’t talk about volunteering, but rather activism. Thus, women who wish to get involved at CALAS rise up to put an end to sexual violence against women.

There are several places where CALAS activism takes place: within the Collective, at the “La rue, la nuit, femmes sans peur” march, on December 6, during the activities of March 8, for targeted struggles, in the organization of the reception areas, in the finance and in selection committees, as well as in various other actions.

To become a CALAS activist, you must first take activist training. This training lasts a day and a half (usually on Friday evening and Saturday all day) and provides an overview of the analysis of sexual violence to which CALAS adheres, the philosophy of the center, its history, etc.

To join the waiting list for the next activist training, fill out this form.

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right”

– Rosa Park