Engineering student awarded $34,000 following sexual harassment
A former engineering student at Montreal's Ecole de Technologie Superieure (ETS) has been awarded $34,000 in damages for sexual harassment and discrimination.
Kimberley Marin was at a Hawaiian themed party during frosh week in 2015. Everyone there wore Hawaiian skirts, Marin told CTV News' Caroline Van Vlaardingen. At the event, a group of boys, at the prompting of their frosh leader, pulled off her skirt before running away, laughing.
"All I remember is four or five boys they came from behind, they removed my Hawaiian skirt and my butt was showing in front of everyone and they ran because they thought it was funny," Marin recalled.
When she recounted her experience to the student union, they dismissed her complaint.
"[A student union representative said] 'You were dressed as a Hawaiian. What were you expecting?'" Marin said.
So she decided to take matters into her own hands. Marin spoke with dozens of girls to find out if others had experienced sexism and harassment, as she had. Many told her they had been through similar situations. She presented a report on the situation to ETS, but again, she said her concerns weren't taken seriously.
The school, which is close to 90 per cent male, offered for one of the boys to apologize. But that response didn't satisfy Marin, so she took her case to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.
The commission found that she was a victim of discrimination. They awarded her $34,000 to be paid by the university, the student union and the students who harassed her.
Marin was adamant throughout the process that she would not sign a confidentiality clause; she wanted to be able to tell her story. She fought for university sexual violence legislation, passed in 2017, and campaigned for new training and protocols to deal with sexual harassment complaints at ETS.
"What I would like right now is for every woman to know they can make a complaint; they have rights," she said. "Of course it takes time at the government, but I had my decision. I would also like the universities to know that they have obligations towards women and students."