The protest was organized over the past few days by the Center Femmes d'Aujourd'hui.
Dozens of people, mostly women, gathered in front of the Quebec City courthouse to denounce the judgment of conditional discharge granted to Simon Houle, this engineer from Trois-Rivières who admitted to having sexually assaulted a woman. The Women's Center today, which led the demonstration, finds it important to denounce “such violent sexist abuses” within the justice system.
The protest was organized over the past few days by the Center Femmes d'Aujourd'hui, whose mission is to improve the quality of life of women, in particular by combating domestic violence.
“It was really our anger that motivated our action, because our justice system shows that it protects abusers more than the victims. »
— Audrée Houle, coordinator at the Women's Today Center
Simon Houle is an engineer from Trois-Rivières who sexually assaulted a woman and took pictures of her private parts. He was given a conditional discharge to allow him to travel for work. The decision is strongly denounced by organizations that support victims.
Judge Matthieu Poliquin of the Court of Quebec granted Simon Houle a conditional discharge in a decision handed down last month.
According to Ms. Houle, the women she works with on a daily basis had this need to collectivize their anger. She believes a protest like this is essential for women who may have been sexually assaulted in the past. We must demonstrate publicly that this kind of judgment has no place in 2022 and that we will not let it pass. We must shout slogans and unite among ourselves, says the coordinator of the Center Femmes d'hui.
In April 2019, Simon Houle, then a mechanical engineering student at the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières, sexually assaulted one of his friends at a party in an apartment. The woman, who is sleeping in a bedroom, is awakened by the light of a camera. She feels fingers in her vagina moving back and forth. Her camisole is up and her bra is open. Nine photos of his private parts are found in his attacker's cell phone.
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More than two years later, the engineer pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and voyeurism.
While the Crown was seeking 18 months in prison, Judge Matthieu Poliquin of the Court of Quebec instead granted him a conditional discharge in a decision handed down last month. He believes that the consequences of a criminal record would be disproportionate, since the court is convinced that the work of an engineer requires travel to other countries.
Note that Simon Houle, who has had the same employer since 2018, has never had to travel for his job.