To a surprise visit from Sophie Grégoire I say yes, THANK YOU!
As part of International Women’s Day, Léa Clermont-Dion, Quebec Against Sexual Violence and I am Indestructible decided joined forces to create a benefit concert in support of organizations that fight against sexual violence and celebrate the survivors.
“This is a remarkable evening because we bring together more than 800 people to celebrate the survivors, the victims of sexual assault, whether they have denounced or not. We do this because we find that we have focused a lot on the negative in the last weeks, particularly in the fall, so we want it to be positive tonight! Not only that, but we also want to give all the donations to Montreal organizations working to eliminate the problem of sexual violence. The goal is to meet and say, ‘Now what? It keeps happening…’, so we continue the initiatives today! We continue to talk about it. And today, there is a national campaign that has been launched with student associations and women’s groups. There will be a consultation of citizens across Quebec on sexual violence, but also a campaign symbolized by a yellow heart, which will be called Consensus. Because we believe there’s a consensus that that’s enough of sexual violence. We want to move forward together for the future. That’s really the goal of tonight,” said Léa Clermont-Dion a few minutes before the start of the evening.
REMOVE THE GREY AREAS FROM SEXUALITY
The Consensus evening, which took place Wednesday night at Club Soda, featured performances by Dear Criminals, Elisapie, Karim Ouellet, Bronze, Ines Talbi, Dear Denizen, Natasha Kanape Fountain, Catherine Ethier, Safia Nolin and Frannie Holder from Random Recipe: “We were happy to have Safia Nolin with us tonight, because she is a woman who stands up despite adversity. I was also really happy to have the guys here, it’s important to include them in all of this … guys are necessary allies!” added Léa.
In the wake of #metoo and #timesup the Consensus campaign wants to show that these movements are not just a flash in the pan, but that we must continue to mobilize for future generations.
“I want to take a night to look at each other and say, ‘Wow, we’re beautiful! It’s amazing what is happening now!’ Because finally, we will be able to dissociate sexuality from fucking violence, which has nothing to do with it! We can tell all those French stars that they are wrong! We are here to finally tell you that sexuality goes beyond just ‘Did you say yes, or did you say no?’ We must remove the grey areas! And that’s why we’re raising the debate now and we’re saying,‘Look, we are going to create a social consensus so that desire is now at the centre of everything’. Because as women, we have as much ‘desire’ as anyone else, but we have been put aside. We need to recognize that we are sexually free, that everyone’s sexuality, regardless of the form it takes, whether it is sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity; it is all essential. And that’s part of the palette of colours we represent around the world. And all that will finally influence and generate sexual liberation for all taboo issues. Let’s continue to be the change, let’s be indestructible! ” Said Melanie Lemay, co-founder of Quebec against sexual violence.
Later in the evening, Mitsou had the pleasure of talking more on the subject with Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau who spontaneously asked to take part in the evening. Here is their interview in the Club Soda dressing rooms right after her speech.
“It’s a beautiful message. I think that in a liberated society like ours, we still have a lot of modesty when it comes to women’s sexuality. Women have desires, fantasies. I think that sexual education is aimed too much towards the boys, forgetting that women are also rooted in their desires and needs, and I think that the more men learn about the condition of women, the more they will be satisfied, and the more they will discover a universe that is so much bigger than the one in which they are too often confined, like excessive pornography before having their first sexual encounter. Experts and psychologists say that this has a big impact on the psychology of a young person. We have to open the windows, open the doors, open the way for more fulfillment for guys and for girls.” Sophie Grégoire.
For Sophie Grégoire, it was out of the question to miss this event! A fervent activist for women’s rights, the first lady of Canada herself spoke at the event. Here is her speech:
“Back home, back to the hearth! It feels so good to be here. It touches me deeply to be here. To all the girls, to all the guys, to all the women, to all the men here tonight, thank you for understanding that the path to higher justice in a society, in a community, in a world, must automatically include respect for the one who gives life: the woman. Thank you to all men who understand that the path to higher justice includes you. We need your wisdom, your intelligence, your beauty, your anchor, your strength and your sensitivity because in all this trauma and crisis that we live with, in a city like ours, I think that we have to become truth seekers. That’s how I would like to speak to you tonight. I want to thank you for welcoming me as a truth seeker, and I want to tell you that YOU are truth seekers because when a human being, and when a society look at each other in true light, it offers us life lessons. And when we realize what we live as a society, and when we look at our truths, from there we can begin to heal, and become better as individuals, as a society, as a community, as a country, and as a world. So, to know our sisters, our cousins, our friends, our mothers, our allies, our women who suffer, who are sexually exploited, we all suffer in our own way. And if you do not feel the immediate pain, you feel it at a societal level. And it’s a big price to pay. I am standing with you, I have been standing for years, because I believe in my core, in the equality between men and women. This equality of humanity is the beginning of a future with a little more peace on this planet, but we must face our truths before our truths ruin us. We must realize what we live as a society, and all those women who suffer, the survivors, provide us with examples of courage, humility, grace, and strength; they are the fighters. They are our sisters, our friends, our moms, and I know them. You are never alone, we are here to listen to you. There is nothing that can shock us. We are ready to hear our truth, from many points of view. In our society, in the world, the time has come, people are ready, people understand. Thank you for being here, thank you for understanding, and thank you for being engaged, because I think we can only see the truth, and be ready to confront it, when we are all present; and we are. And I hope we take every step together … because everything that affects the physical and psychological safety of women, that gender equality on this planet, is not a partisan issue. It is an issue that concerns humanity, and we are all united, regardless of our religious, cultural or political backgrounds, they are absolutely nothing but noise. Because we are united in what matters, and I thank you for being here tonight. I thank you for looking the truth in the face and more so, I thank you for being brave enough to want to hear the truth, to face it, to join forces to find solutions, to help all those who suffer, and to help all those who want to open up too, because it is very difficult. To those who cause all this harm, it is important to know that the education of boys in a society matters so much! Yes! Really! And we are ready to have real conversations. We cannot put the real issues aside. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable, in our schools, in our kitchens, but you know what? It’s good if it makes us uncomfortable. Because it’s time to have those real conversations. We must continue to have them, and our boys, who are built to become wise and balanced men, both strong and tender, we will not let them learn a version of masculinity that is too narrow. They too suffer. And you know what? If we start with education (and it’s always about education), we will be able to quietly change, through the real conversations of values and ways of being. No one is born a pimp. So, we will try to protect our daughters, our women, by taking steps together as a society and as a government, and we will try to put all the tools at our disposal, both the police force and the judicial system. So, be on the lookout, because there are things coming that we will announce! ”
Pssst! The people who wear the yellow heart are committed to following these five principles:
#TimesUp, I believe the victims, and I adopt helping attitudes when I receive a disclosure of sexual assault;
#TimesUp I express my disagreement clearly when I hear words trivializing sexual violence;
#TimesUp, I will intervene immediately when I witness bullying, harassment or any other type of sexual assault;
#TimesUp I support the organizations in my region against sexual violence and support my local coalition of sexual assault centres;
#TimesUp I request quality sexuality education, valuing egalitarian relationships and diversity of experiences for all young people in Quebec.
Here are more photos of the evening. Among the recognizable faces, you will see Manon Massé, Éliane Gagnon (Female/Female) and Sarianne Cormier!
VIDEO CREDIT: SOPHIE LAMBERT