Like many female personalities, the online harassment of Journal columnist Sophie Durocher often takes on a violent and sexual character.
The comments she receives are rude and often belligerent. Examples? “I hope you're going to get raped and lacerated” and “Don't give a damn about your opinion, you fat whore” set the tone well.
“Harassment has always existed,” explains Sophie Durocher. Only now, people choose to send me – in public or private – hate speech often of a sexual nature. This is what is mainly sent to women.”
Director Léa Clermont-Dion, screenwriter Kim Lévesque-Lizotte and author Martine Delvaux, women known for their feminist views, have also revealed that they regularly receive indecent messages online.
Some messages received by Sophie Durocher send shivers down your spine: “I hope you're going to have cancer”, “How does your son manage to have a mother like you?”, “Criss de conne de collabo shut your big mouth estie thick, you're a crazy criss”…
She says she experienced an outpouring of hatred “like she had rarely seen” in recent years.
< strong>Complaints to the police
The host filed a complaint with the SPVM twice for online harassment. The most recent, last August, when a man tweeted “La Durocher deserves to be slapped so hard she falls into a coma for a couple of years.”
The filing of the investigation documents with the DPCP (the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions) gave rise to formal charges of threats and criminal harassment. This “anti-vaxxer” father will have to appear in court in June to enter his plea.
“I said to myself: 'does he know where I live, where I work?” This man encouraged his community to cause me harm. I spent weeks being afraid to walk around Montreal,” she says.
Ms. Durocher also filed a complaint against ex-comedian and vlogger Gab Roy* in 2014. He had published an indecent photo montage that implicated her. She had to close her Facebook account for seven days in the face of the virulence of the rude and degrading comments of certain Internet users.
Gab Roy was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and three years probation during which he was cut off from the internet. He was also forbidden to approach his victim, in addition to having had to write a letter of apology to Mrs. Durocher.
“This case has made precedent,” she said. It was one of the first times someone had been convicted for comments on Facebook. I'm proud to have stood up. The message I wanted to send to my 15 year old son is that when someone attacks you, you have to defend yourself, but be smarter than him.
*Gab Roy was also sued in civil proceedings by actress Mariloup Wolfe in 2014 for invasion of his privacy, image, personal dignity and professional reputation. The ex-comedian had published a text describing “his perverse fantasy of having a degrading, violent and abusive sexual relationship” with the actress. The amount of the out-of-court settlement was donated to groups working against violence against women.
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