La Presse, the French-language, digital daily in Montreal, Canada, published an exclusive interview with the creators of the Victims_Voices_Circus social media group that has recently brought awareness to numerous sexual abuse cases in the circus industry. CircusTalk’s Kim Campbell, Emily Holt andFiona Bradley wrote about this movement on August 4th.
As the current La Presse article points out, the closeness and physical contact that students and artists have with their partners, coaches or directors in circus makes them particularly vulnerable. Even more so than in other forms of the performing arts.
As testimonies of sexual violence in the circus world have multiplied on social media in the past weeks, En Piste, the Canadian National Circus Arts Alliance, decided to launch on Tuesday, August 25th, with Juripop, a clinic against harassment and violence in the circus environment, a program where circus artists can seek support and demand accountability.
En Piste’s CEO Christine Bouchard states in the article that she was troubled by the testimonies she read on the Victims_Voices_Circus Instagram account. “When we saw that, we said to ourselves that something had to be done to help circus artists, to support them, to equip them, so we are working with L’Aparté, from the Juripop clinic, to help the artists, but also circus companies, which have to deal with difficult situations. “
La Presse spoke to the creators of Victims_Voices_Circus, where they have revealed their identities for the first time.
“The goal is to free artists’ words, to get them out of their isolation, and to remove a layer of shame and guilt,” Émilie Grenon-Émiroglou revealed to La Presse. Grenon-Émiroglou artistic director and acrobatic designer, who is one of the creators of the movement.
Émilie, together with circus artists, Sarah Lett and Émile Pineault, decided to disclose their identity to assure that the topic get appropriate attention this time. “The phenomenon is not marginal,” they say in the article. “On the contrary, it is much more widespread than you might think, and it is particularly observable in the workplace, but also in vocational schools, and most often by people in positions of authority.”
Read the full-length article in French at La Presse.