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Julie Lalonde (Youth Recipient), Ottawa, Ontario, Recipient, 2013, Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

Julie Lalonde (Youth Recipient), Ottawa, Ontario, Recipient, 2013, Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

I would like very much dear friends if I could express
the confident minds, not only of the five,
but of all the people who have advanced the cause of women.
My grandmother spoke out for the first time about the fact that
she was a victim of domestic violence for many years.
And my grandfather's still alive.
So to call out your abuser at 74-years-old to say
I don't want to be invisible anymore and we matter
and we're a part of this community
and we need to stop acting like victims
and survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence
are pariahs who are not part of our community,
I mean that's powerful stuff.
Julie Lalonde has made a real difference
in improving the lives of women,
girls through her work to end sexual assault harassment.
As a young professional she developed
and manages Draw the Line,
the province of Ontario's anti-sexual violence
public education campaign.
For the past seven years she has been an active volunteer
with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa.
Ms. Lalonde's dedication exemplifies how young Canadians
can be outstanding leaders in making their own communities
safer and more equitable places for women and men.
When my university threatened to sue me
because I wouldn't stop talking about sexual assault on campus
my parents responded by buying me a megaphone.
So that is what solidarity looks like.
This is what solidarity feels like
and if you don't have feminist parents
I highly recommend you invest in some because they're marvelous.
It's really easy now to say that we need women's studies
in high schools and that sexual assault survivors
deserve respect and dignity on campuses.
But that's because the work is done.
And for all the people that were there for me
when it was not popular, when it was a lonely sight,
when people were quick to judge and slow to come to help me,
those are the people I think of today.
The people who stood by me when very few people did.
And I could not do any of this stuff without them.
You are my world, I adore you and thank you so much.

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