Anti-rape demonstrations draw thousands province-wide

In cities across Quebec, thousands of women spoke with one voice: that rape and sexual assault cannot be tolerated any longer.

Demonstrations were held in major cities around the province, with large attendances in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Chicoutimi and Gatineau.  Here in Montreal, a rally was held at Place-Emilie-Gamelin before demonstrators began a march through the city's downtown core.  Officials were excited with the higher-than-expected turnout, as many as 2,000 people were in attendance at the rally.

Sue Montgomery was one of the women to speak at the event, and the only one to do so in English.  She is the co-creator of the popular social media hashtag #beenrapedneverreported.  She described sexual assault as "an epidemic" in Canada, where as many as 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life.  In her address to the rally, Montgomery quipped, "if that were one in three men, you can be sure our government would be reacting."

One common refrain from the various speakers at the rally was a demand for all levels of government to do more to help sexual-assault survivors and to prevent rape from happening at such a high rate to women.

Organizers are hoping this will become the first in a tradition of anti-rape demonstrations to rally women across Quebec.