'Rape culture' common on campus, say women's groups

President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy was the victim of...

President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy was the victim of vicious online sexual harassment. She became aware of an online conversation between other student executives about her. She spoke out March 2, 2014 about the comments, which were made public Feb. 28, 2014. (JESSIE ARCHAMAULT/QMI Agency)

Danielle Bell, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Violence against women groups are discussing what can be done following a sexually explicit online attack about the University of Ottawa student body president.

"We're concerned and we're trying to make this a teaching moment," said Julie Lalonde, who works to end violence against women, among other issues.

"We want to make this a teaching moment for students to say this is completely unacceptable."

Anne-Marie Roy, Student Federation of the University of Ottawa president, was the target of the vicious online comments, where posts included "someone punish her with their shaft." Other comments suggested Roy had STDs while there was also discussion of sexual encounters in exchange for booze.

The sexually-explicit comments were alleged to have been made between four elected student representatives and another student.

The incident went public over the weekend, sparking an online page demanding resignations, that garnered thousands of likes of support.

Patrick Marquis and Alex Larochelle, both student execs, resigned Saturday in an e-mail to Roy. Two others, Michel Fournier-Simard and Alexandre Giroux, resigned Sunday.

The incident highlights a "rape culture" mentality, which has absolutely no place on campus or anywhere else, say groups.

But unfortunately, say those who work to fight against it, such sexually violent comments are not unusual.


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