Columnist accused of trivializing sexual assault

A Journal de Montreal columnist is being accused by a prominent federation of women's groups of trivializing sexual assault for a column published yesterday.
A Journal de Montreal columnist is facing criticism from a prominent women's group for an article on the FEMEN Quebec protest at the national assembly on Tues, Oct. 1. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

A Journal de Montreal columnist is being accused by some women's groups of trivializing sexual assault in a column published yesterday.

Michel Beaudry’s column in the Oct. 3 edition of the newspaper made light of the topless protest earlier this week by FEMEN, a women’s group opposed to the crucifix hanging in the national assembly.

Beaudry described the protesters’ breasts as “natural, well-rounded and firm” and said he would have restrained the women by “firmly yet gently placing my two hands on their breasts” had he been a security guard that day.

“You know very well how exciting it is to be behind a woman and to hold her two nice breasts in your hands,” he wrote.

The column is no longer posted on the Journal de Montreal’s website.

Beaudry defended the column as humour and told the radio station 98.5 that many women readers wrote to him to say they found it funny.

'Neither funny nor subversive,' FFQ says

The provincial federation of women’s groups, la Fédération des Femmes du Québec, was not among them.

In a statement posted on the federation’s website, the FFQ said it saw no humour in Beaudry’s description of actions that would qualify as criminal.

“Mr. Beaudry goes beyond the limits of free expression and trivializes sexual assault,” the statement reads.

“Mr. Beaudry’s text is neither funny nor subversive. It is simply unacceptable.”

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