A new study by Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)'s department of Sexology has found that one in three people have experienced some form of sexual violence in Quebec's college system.

The study, spearheaded by UQAM professor Dr. Manon Bergeron, also found that an overwhelming majority — 93.5% of students and school workers — did not report their respective incidents to the school. 

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How was the study conducted?

A total of 6,006 people, made up of both students and employees of five Quebec CEGEPs, responded to an online survey form in November 2019.

The five CEGEPs were Collège Montmorency, Cégep de Sainte-Foy, Cégep de Jonquière, Collège Ahuntsic and Cégep de l’Outaouais.

The survey distinguished three types of "sexual violence":

  • Sexual harassment: verbal or nonverbal behaviour which isn't aimed at sexual cooperation, but which results in hostile and degrading attitudes;

  • Unwanted sexual behaviour: verbal and nonverbal behaviour of a sexual nature that is offensive, unwanted or non-reciprocal. This criteria covers sexual assault and attempted rape;

  • Sexual coercion: blackmail in return for future opportunities related to employment or education.

For questions related to sexual violence, respondents specified whether they had experienced the aggression since the start of their time at the CEGEP or in the 12 months preceding their responses.

How did women compare to men?

Since starting at the CEGEP, 44.8% of women said they had experienced sexual violence affiliated with their CEGEP, compared to 24.4% of men.

In the 12 months prior to the survey, 37.5% of women said they had experienced some form of sexual violence in line with the survey's criteria, compared to 20% of male respondents.

Overall, the student respondents said 79.7% of the sexual harassment offences that occurred since the start of their time at CEGEP were committed by men.

The figure is almost double the sexual harassment offences by women in the same period, which totalled 41.3 percent.

How were marginalized groups affected?

In terms of sexual harassment, 40.4% of LGBTQ2+ respondents said they had experienced an offence since the start of their time in CEGEP, compared to 31.4% of heterosexual respondents.

Both visible minorities and participants who were not visible minorities experienced similar rates of sexual harassment — 32.1% and 32.7% respectively.

For Indigenous respondents, in particular, 37.9% said they experienced sexual violence in the previous 12 months, compared to 32.9% of other minorities and 29.4% non-minorities.

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