#metooboys | The new taboo #metoo

After #metoo, #metoo, here is #metoogarçons, a new wave of denunciations launched in France which releases new and particularly taboo words.

The new wave #boys

“Raped by my best friend’s father for 2 years. ” ” I was 6. My cousin, 18 years old. In the family it was omerta. » “Stop lying: there is no such thing as raped boys. » Testimonies to this effect have multiplied on “I was 11 years old. From the age of 11 to the age of 15, I was abused by my agent and other people around him,” denounced the actor, now 43 years old, on his Instagram account. If he says he complained and “sent to prison” the said attacker at the time, Aurélien Wiik also points the finger at other producers and directors. “Until I was 25, I was offered roles, drugs, in exchange for favors,” he adds, inviting all male victims to finally speak out. Without delay, well-known personalities (notably the actor Francis Renaud, who accused the director André Téchiné of assault, accusations that were immediately contested) responded to the call, which has since gone far beyond the world of cinema. Words of encouragement and solidarity multiplied just as much.

Why the taboo?

Certainly, these new denunciations are part of a particular context. Remember that this César ceremony was marked by a wave of accusations of sexual violence, launched in particular by French actress Judith Godrèche. However, few men had to date taken part so openly in the movement. Question of proportions, in particular: if it is estimated that nearly 90% of victims are women (according to INSPQ figures), only 10% would be men. But also, question of stubborn myths. “There are particular barriers for men,” analyzes Dominique M. Lavoie, doctoral student in feminist and gender studies, in connection with the social construction we have of masculinity. » For example: “A man is strong; a man cannot be attacked; we think that men also want sexuality by default,” illustrates the researcher, affiliated with the Research Chair on Sexist and Sexual Violence in Higher Education. Talk to Léophane Renaud, 53, attacked by a priest in his childhood, then repeatedly and for nearly 30 years by his partner and “friends”. In short: “Everyone asks me the question,” he said on the line. How do you get it hard? » It is for this reason that the man, supported by his children, is working these days on an autobiography, which should be entitled: My life could have been yours. “Because it’s taboo. My children tell me: if you don’t put your name, your face, no one will believe you. But this must not happen again! »

20 years before speaking

Men who were victims of sexual violence as children take an average of 20 years before speaking out about it. A time which can double in certain cases. Worse, half never say a single word about it to those around them, according to a study conducted by Natacha Godbout, professor in the department of sexology at UQAM, in 2022. She surveyed 379 men using services from an aid organization in Quebec. We also learn that 9 out of 10 men have symptoms of psychological distress and that half live with symptoms of post-traumatic stress. If few men have spoken out to date, the researcher believes that it is mainly because they did not feel that the #metoo movement was “for them”. “Because the majority are men who are the aggressors, so men have been somewhat cast in the role of the bad guy,” she says. “But the Salvail case helped many men file complaints. » She hopes that this new wave #metooboys will have the same effect of “loosening tongues.” And to facilitate reflection with loved ones.”

From words to actions

It has been almost 30 years since the sociologist of sexuality Michel Dorais published his famous It happens to boys too. At the time, people told him: “you won’t find any victims!” “, “It can’t be! “. On tour in France, he was even told: “It’s terrible, what’s happening in Quebec!” That doesn’t exist here, fortunately! » In light of what is happening these days on social networks, “there, it’s happening,” he says. “And that doesn’t surprise me!” » According to the most moderate research, underlines the prolific author, it is even estimated that one in ten men are victims of sexual assault (and one in three women). If it takes so long for them to speak, it is further linked to this ultimate myth, according to which “he who has been attacked will attack”. “It contributes a lot to the silence of the guys,” laments Michel Dorais. But that’s not true, victims don’t commit more attacks! » He welcomes this new chapter of public speaking. But that’s not enough. “Freeing speech is good, but the justice system must move! […] Because once we speak, the lid can close. But people want justice! […] This awakening must not fall into a void! »

An exhibition to “trace evils”

  • An illustration by Chaimae Khouldi, entitled Family Photos, as part of the exhibition Tracing the Evils


    An illustration by Chaimae Khouldi, titled Family photosas part of the exhibition Trace the ailments

  • Illustration by Juliette Pierre entitled You are not alone


    Illustration by Juliette Pierre titled You’re not alone

  • Layloo Lapierre signs this illustration, Don’t stop.


    Layloo Lapierre signs this illustration, Don’t stop.


The exhibition Trace the ailments offers a moving and deeply humanizing foray into the experiences of men who were victims of sexual violence in their childhood. Inspired by qualitative interviews carried out by researcher and professor in the sexology department of UQAM Natacha Godbout, authors and visual artists, including Steve Gagnon, Denis-Martin Chabot and Mickaël Bergeron, have put the unspeakable into words and images . “Childhood is not infinitely repairable and when it is not pretty, when it is ruined too soon, we spend the rest of our lives picking up pots that break and break forever… », writes Steve Gagnon. Through this interdisciplinary speech and an unprecedented use of art in the service of research, Natacha Godbout wishes to “touch people, arouse empathy and deep understanding of these men. […] I hope to bring attention to this scary topic and facilitate conversations.”

Until 1er March, metro level, in the Judith-Jasmin pavilion at UQAM

Visit the exhibition website


Were you molested as a child? Some help centers in Quebec:


CRIPHASE: Resource and intervention center for men sexually abused in childhood

Telephone: 514 529-5567

Visit the CRIPHASE website


Emphasis: Entraide Mauricie – Centre-du-Québec for men sexually assaulted in childhood

Telephone: 1 855 519-4273

Visit the Emphasis website


SHASE: Support for sexually assaulted men Estrie

Telephone: 819 933-3555

Visit the SHASE website


Autohommy: Men’s Resource Center

Telephone: 418 648-6480

Visit the Autohommie website

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