UQAM students offer support to victims of sexual violence

Having recently launched their instructional pamphlet filled with sexual assault resources on March 26, La Clinique juridique pour les survivant(e)s d’actes à caractère sexuel (Clinique de l’AS) is working to support victims of sexual violence and harassment

Members of La Clinique juridique pour les survivant(e)s d’actes à caractère sexuel discuss plans for next year. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

On a day-to-day basis, the law students of l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) working at the clinic volunteer to provide the closest thing to legal advice they’re permitted to offer, without being full-fledged lawyers. The Clinique de l’AS team aims to provide a safe space for victims to openly discuss their needs. Members of La Clinique de l’AS take on victims of sexual assault or harassment as clients and guide them on next steps in the judicial process. They offer tools, information and resources that teach them how to take legal action against their assailant or sexual harasser.

Camille Ferland-Laurin, a law student who volunteers at the clinic, holds up the clinic’s recently launched pamphlet, filled with sexual assault resources for victims of sexual violence. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

This process begins with an assessment of each client to determine their needs, goals and whether they’d like to take legal action. Once the client’s needs have been evaluated, a member of the clinic is assigned to gather information, such as legal documents, previous judgements of a similar nature, financial and mental health support resources, and so forth. This collection of information is compiled into a sexual assault resources report, which is then delivered to the client.

Elizabeth Pouliot, a graduating law student volunteering at the clinic, conducts her research during team discussions. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

Law student Emmanuelle Charette, who works at the clinic, said “lawyers do this [report] process at first, and they’ll charge the client for this research, so we’re doing this step for them for free.” Law students at the clinic provide clients with court decisions in cases similar to theirs, providing insight into how their case might be handled in court. “It can give people the courage to see ‘Well there’s other cases like mine, so I should go ahead.’”

The clinic’s legal library serves as a helpful resource when putting sexual assault reports together. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

“It’s hard to know how to research legal decisions when you’re not in law, it all feels like a big puzzle, so this gives them basic, useful information,” said Charette. Reports put together for clients of the clinic are verified and corrected by certified lawyers, and typically include more than just legal information. “We also give other resources, so if someone comes and says they’re not feeling so well [mentally], we also have a lot of resources for other things like mental health and housing,” said Sara Arsenault, a law student who works at the clinic.

Since the clinic’s opening at the beginning of 2018, its team of law students has worked to come up with new ways to spread awareness about sexual violence. They hope to encourage victims of sexual assault and harassment to come forward with their experiences.

The reports offered by the clinic are confidential and free, which makes its services more affordable than legal advice typically offered to victims of sexual assault and harassment. “We provide a better understanding of how things work, some people have trouble distinguishing between the civil law and criminal law,” said law student volunteer Ariane Gourde-Talbot. “Most people think they have to go through the criminal system, which is really intense, and isn’t always the most desirable option.”

On March 26, La Clinique de l’AS organized an arts and poetry night to help promote their new sexual assault resources pamphlet. The clinic brought together artists in the paint, dance, poetry, theatre and music communities to display art and perform at the event, all touching on themes of sexual violence and harassment.

Taking place in a dark room lit by red and purple lights, with blankets and pillows decorating the floors, the event promoted a safe and comfortable space for all. Performances ranged from sexual violence-themed musical performances, to poetry readings and theatrical monologues, and part of the evening consisted of testimony from victims of sexual assault. Over the course of the evening, performances drew upon the emotions of audience members and performers alike.

The team aims to eventually bring their legal knowledge to high schools by offering presentations on topics of sexual violence and consent. “We rarely talk about our rights as people [in high school] and in our society, even if you’re not over 18, you still have civil rights and these are things that we tend to not know about until we’re older, and it’s all closely related to notions of consent, and what you can’t do to others,” said Charette.

La Clinique juridique pour les survivant(e)s d’actes à caractère sexuel is open to all, and students working at the clinic encourage anyone facing sexual harassment or violence to reach out. Make an appointment by phone at (514) 987-6760 or by sending an email to

Shining a neon light on the history of ink

At Tattoo Box Traditional, you’ll learn about more than just tattoo aftercare

Decked out in blown up portraits of World War I veterans and acetates dating back to the early 1900s, the walls of recently opened Tattoo Box Traditional tell a story. Artist Kate Middleton, living in France and working out of Montreal, began construction at Tattoo Box Traditional in August of last year. Originally meant to combat construction planned on Pine Ave. W., where her primary shop is located, she’s now hoping for the new location to double as a tattoo museum.

Artist Liam Lavoie tattoos his colleague on a quiet day at Tattoo Box Traditional. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

Collecting historical acetates and framed prints from artists she’s worked with over her career, Middleton has adorned the shop with bits and pieces of tattoo history. While the location only opened this summer, Owen Jensen, Sailor Jerry, Walter Torun, Zeke Owens and Jack Rudy are just a few noteworthy mentions who’s artwork can already be seen at Tattoo Box Traditional. Middleton said she’s only just getting started, “I have so much memorabilia that I have yet to get in there.”

Middleton holds up the sketchbook of renowned artist Zeke Owens, who tattooed service men and women during and pre-war. Photo by Victoria Lewin.

While residing in Avignon, France, Middleton also runs Livre and Let Die Books and Art Supplies on Pine Ave. E., as well as a small media studio out of California, her hometown. Ensuring the shop promotes a safe and open space for staff and clientele is one of Middleton’s top priorities. Being a female and lesbian tattoo artist, she said “misogyny is the biggest hurdle I’ve ever had to overcome, in myself and facing it from others. That needs to be ended before anyone or any gay woman can progress in their life.” Though the essence of Middleton’s vision is to showcase tattoo history, artwork that is traditionally misogynistic, racist, and otherwise offensive won’t make the cut in this tattoo museum.

An acetate from the early 1900s by famous American tattoo artist Paul Rogers. Photo by Victoria Lewin.
As a lesbian woman, Middleton works hard to ensure the shop maintains an open, safe space for all LGBTQ+ individuals. Photo by Victoria Lewin.
Artists work on various projects during the snowstorm in Montreal on Feb. 13. Photo by Victoria Lewin.
The shop offers free breast cancer ribbon and semicolon tattoos, symbolizing depression. Photo by Victoria Lewin.
Shop decor includes walls of art from various artists Middleton has met and worked with over the years. Photo by Victoria Lewin.


Tattoo Box Traditional is located at 1757 Amherst St. More information can be found on their website:

Photos by Victoria Lewin.


How to approach an anti-materialistic lifestyle

Taking small steps to become less dependent on our belongings goes a long way

In a world where something newer and better is almost always available for purchase, society tends to value material objects. We often seek out the latest, trendiest gadgets we can find. As consumers, we tend to forget about the importance of the natural world which exists beyond material possessions.

The value we place on our material objects is a prominent characteristic of the western world. Some people might not even realize their own materialistic habits. For the purposes of this article, I will define materialism as: “A preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than spiritual or intellectual things.”

The fact is we are currently more attached to our belongings than people ever have been. Many of us cannot imagine life without our favourite possessions, let alone without any possessions.

The best, if not the only way to combat this epidemic is to start with yourself. We can’t change the mindset of millions of people living materialistically. So instead, I’ve listed some tips to help you become less materialistic, and a little more in tune with the natural world around you.

The first step to becoming a little less materialistic is being aware of your problem. It’s unrealistic to claim that you’re not a materialistic person, especially living in today’s western society.

Unless you are practicing an anti-materialistic lifestyle, living in the woods in a house you built yourself, there is no way you don’t place too much value on your material goods. For the most part, we all do. Begin your path to a less materialistic lifestyle by acknowledging your attachment to your belongings, and admit you want to work on that.

Since many of us value our technology, such as cellphones, laptops and tablets, more than most of our other belongings, limiting the time you spend on your devices can make a difference. Start by monitoring just how much time you spend on your electronic devices, and try to periodically knock off 10 per cent of that number until you reach a point where you are happy with your typical device usage.

Another basic tip is to just spend more time outside. The power of nature is stronger than you might think. Plan an afternoon, a day or even a weekend of walking, hiking, biking or any other activity that lets you enjoy the outdoors and get back to nature. Taking notice of the natural world can do wonders for your mental health, and can be a sharp reminder that belongings are not everything.

Most importantly, get to know yourself. Sometimes, life becomes chaotic and we get lost in the sea of our to-do list. We have so much on our plates, and we tend to reward ourselves with material things. But by submitting yourself to your belongings, you might forget who you are and what you truly enjoy. Look for those pockets of time, and spend that time on you.

Finally, I’m not saying you have to get rid of everything and live an entirely new life. I’m not asking you to throw away all possessions and meditate for eight hours a day. Instead, if you feel you are too glued to your belongings, take small steps to become less attached.

The best way to change your lifestyle is to start small and work your way up. The goal of implementing a less materialistic mindset in your everyday lifestyle is to make changes in moderation. Instead of feeling addicted to buying new things, you should hope to feel like there is more to life than just your belongings. Trying out one or two of these tips is a great way to get started.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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