Speaking of love and equal relationships

How do we approach the issue of sexual assault without scaring people away? How do we talk about this social issue that affects so many women, old and young, and attempt to rid ourselves of it?

By Marianne Theoret-Poupart

Special to the News

How do we approach the issue of sexual assault without scaring people away?

How do we talk about this social issue that affects so many women, old and young, and attempt to rid ourselves of it? 

Do we need to be, as a society, more severe with aggressors?

Do we need to force girls and women back into long, ankle-length robes? Or, on the other hand, isn’t it more that we need to educate our youth—guys and girls—to respect themselves and each other, so that one day we will have a society that is safe for everyone?

Healthy sexuality. Consent between partners in sexual relationships. Knowledge of proper limits. Respect of oneself and others.

In this Sexual Assault Prevention Month, let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about what we love, and what we don’t.  Let’s talk with youth. It’s better to talk about it openly than to pretend that sexuality doesn’t exist among young people, isn’t it?

In the Yukon in 2001, rates of sexual assault were three times higher than national rates according to A Cappella North study 2 by the Yukon government’s women’s directorate.

 

Delivering the message through art

 

 

“I always try to mix art with our social justice actions, to add something creative to the message,” said Jodi Proctor. “But it’s difficult to lead people to talk about ‘dark’ issues, even to believe they exist, when, right around them, no one seems to be affected.” 

Proctor works for Les EssentiElles, has worked at Kaushee’s Place and is part of the BYTE (Bringing Youth Towards Equality) facilitation team, among other roles.

BYTE has a program that allows community groups to bring facilitators to do workshops on various themes.

“I believe that I play an active role in preventing sexual violence by giving workshops on leadership and contemporary dance in the communities. It’s a concrete action!

“We must teach our youth that they are powerful when they treat others with respect and kindness. We can’t underestimate the value of workshops, programs and other mechanisms that teach self-esteem to youth, who are at a really crucial age in their personal development.”

We have to talk about love and healthy relationships.

Quite simply, we need to talk about how to treat people in a manner that is respectful and beautiful.

We don’t often see healthy relationships in the media, particularly on MTV, a channel that youth watch a lot. Women there are treated like objects.

One hundred and fifteen cases of sexual assault were reported to the RCMP in 2002 in the Yukon. Among these cases, 19 per cent were victims between 12 and 17 years old. 

Alcohol was implicated in 35 per cent of cases. 

 

 

A film to prompt discussion

 

 

On May 8, Les EssentiElles, in partnership with the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, presented the documentary Sexy Inc.: Our Children Under Influence.

The film, produced in Montreal by the National Film Board, denounces the phenomenon of hypersexualization with expert testimony and the voices of youth.

Gisele Maisonneuve works at Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre in Whitehorse. She saw the film.

“Youth are bombarded with sexualized images of women. The inherent message is of women as sexual objects, that it’s ‘normal’ to be groped and fondled and to be addressed with degrading words. Dialog around consent, although central to the issue, is lost.”

Men have an important role to play against the hypersexualization of women and that, for social change to happen, we need to sensitize children at a young age, she continues. They must know, for example, that a sexist joke is not acceptable and that they have the responsibility to speak out.

Marianne Theoret-Poupart writes for L’Aurore Boreal. This article was translated and adapted by Julianna Scramstad.

Submitted by the

Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read