Released November 17, 2022 in the daily LaPresse, the article by Isabelle Hachey reports that women who initially denounced comedian Julien Lacroix for sexual assault and sexual misconduct recanted for various reasons, including that of not feeling like a “victim”. Through a sensationalist tone and subjective turns of phrase, this journalistic investigation suggests that it would be a collateral damage of the “facebook court” and she would aim to pose a “critical look” at the #Metoo movement.
As a national group that has been fighting, for more than forty years, against sexual assault through prevention, defense of rights and assistance to victims and survivors, we believe that this article raises the issue of the narrative behind the discrediting of survivors.
Julien Lacroix is portrayed as a man struggling with substance abuse problems since adolescence who “still wakes up in panic, in the middle of the night (…)“suffering from a”post-traumatic stress shock and living inhermitage in the heart of Montreal” following reporting by LeDevoir in 2020 where he was the subject of allegations of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and domestic violence. He thus goes from the role of aggressor who claims to be aware of his actions to that of victim of an international movement fed up with omerta and impunity for sexual violence, #Metoo.
“I take responsibility for my actions and that I work every day to repair what I have broken in others and in myself (…) I also want to emphasize that I support the movement of denunciations1” – Julien Lacroix, Facebook post, January 2021
One of the most persistent myths regarding sexual assault is that the attackers are ‘psychopathic monsters straight out of the darkness’. However, two-thirds of sexual offenses are committed in a private residence and the majority of victims know their attacker. Victims therefore often have complex emotional relationships with their abuser, which can have an impact on the decision to disclose the abuse suffered.
Contacted by Vingt55, Julie Ouellet, director of CALACS La Passerelle, Drummondville, did not hesitate to point out that myths and prejudices relating to sexual assault die hard! This article from La Presse demonstrates the importance of continuing the discussion and above all, education on the consequences of sexual assault on the lives of women. says the director of CALACS La Passerelle
Without citing expert sources in sexual assault, the report also ignores certain key elements surrounding sexual violence and its revelations. Indeed, the risks of denouncing publicly are very real for the victims who can experience a lot of violence and re-victimization following their speaking out. The fear of not being believed is also a major obstacle to denunciations: 60% of victims of sexual assault seen in aid centers in Quebec report that they were not believed when they were first disclosed.
It is also important to note that many people who have been sexually assaulted will not consider themselves a ‘victim’ and will not be comfortable calling their experience an assault. Legally and morally, this does not deny that it could be an assault.
Sexual violence is a very real social problem that no longer needs to be proven.
1 in 3 women will experience an agression of a sexual nature during his life.
Less than 10% of complaints for sexual assault result in a conviction.
Over 96% of attackers are men and 78% of the victims are women
96.8% of attackers are known the victims
The #Metoo has been shared 53 million times in the world.
The Julien Lacroix Affair and the tenacious myths: The narrative behind the discrediting of survivors of sexual assault