OCRCC Supports Julie Lalonde

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The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) stands behind OCRCC staff Julie Lalonde, and her disclosure of her experiences with the Royal Military College (RMC).

In 2014, OCRCC staff and Campaign Manager Julie Lalonde attended Royal Military College (RMC) to offer briefings addressing sexual violence, bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention[1]. The events that occurred during and after her presentations was concerning to us at OCRCC as an employer, and as an active voice in working to prevent sexual violence in Ontario’s communities. We thank Royal Military College staffs for corresponding and meeting with us in response to these events.

As sexual assault survivor advocates, we know that there are many realistic reasons why those impacted by violence are hesitant to engage with formal reporting systems —or to share their experiences at all. Many fear reprisal or retaliation. As one Canadian paper on the military, sexual harassment and reporting processes notes: “Underreporting has been attributed to women believing that the formal reporting process will not be useful to them, [and] concerns that they would be labeled a troublemaker or whistleblower[2].

While Julie is a civilian, we acknowledge the great courage it took for her to publicly share her story about one of Canada’s reputable institutions.

For these reasons, OCRCC stands behind OCRCC staff Julie Lalonde and commends her courage in sharing her experiences.

In addition, OCRCC reaches out to others impacted by harassment at this time. If something has happened to you, there are people who will support you. You can talk to a trusted friend or family member. If you have experienced sexual violence or harassment, you can also access a sexual assault centre from any community across Ontario. All calls are free and confidential.

There are things members of the public can do. You can speak up, or step in. You can be an ally to the person who is victimized, instead of the aggressors.

Last, there are many things that anyone can do to take a stand against attitudes that inform violence and harassment:

  • Believe survivors’ experiences. Your support will make a difference. No one asks for or deserves to be harassed.
  • Resist laughing at jokes about sexual and other forms of violence
  • Ask youth in your life what they think about stories of violence or harassment in the news, and talk with them about these important issues.

OCRCC believes that education and information goes a long way toward the prevention of violence.  Together, we will make a difference.

The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) includes 26 sexual assault centres serving survivor-victims of sexual violence across Ontario. Sexual assault centres deliver free and confidential crisis, advocacy and ongoing support to survivors of sexual violence throughout all of Ontario. If you or someone you know has been affected by violence and are seeking support, please go to http://www.sexualassaultsupport.ca/support.

[1] For more information on Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres’ campaign addressing sexual violence, bystander intervention and sexual violence prevention, see Draw The Line at: www.draw-the-line.ca . This project is funded by the Ontario Women’s Directorate.

[2] Gill, R. and Angela R. Febbraro. Experiences and Perceptions of Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Forces Combat Arms. Violence Against Women 19(2) 269–287© 2013 Government of Canada: 271.

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