Sexual assault victims, advocates complain of 'rude' treatment by MPs at committees

Stock image of a shallow focus of a person's eyes. (Unsplash, Luis Galvez)

Some sexual assault victims who testified at parliamentary committees in recent months say they are upset by the way they were treated, that they felt angered and, in some cases, re-victimized by the experience.
Several committees have been inviting victims of sexual assault, exploitation and trauma to share their experiences and recommendations for change, including the ethics committee, which is looking at how to protect the privacy of people who appear on pornography websites such as Pornhub.
Another study also underway by the status of women committee is looking into widespread allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Melissa Lukings, a law student with expertise in cybersecurity and lived experience as a former sex worker, says she was shocked at ``rude'' treatment by M-Ps on the ethics committee who cut short the meeting she attended last month after more than 40 minutes of partisan bickering.
Julie Lalonde, a sexual violence prevention educator, says she was disturbed by the way other women who were sharing deeply personal stories of sexual assault at the status of women committee were continually cut off for time by M-Ps during their testimony.
Questions are now are being raised about whether Canada's lawmakers jostling for the political spotlight should be trained in how to take a more trauma-informed approach to their interactions with vulnerable witnesses.