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Sue Montgomery

Sexual Assault Survivor, Journalist & Co-creator of #BeenRapedNeverReported

Sue Montgomery is an award-winning justice reporter, formerly with the Montreal Gazette and co-founder of the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported, which sparked a global conversation about sexual violence. In the wake of the sexual assault allegations against CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, and the public outcry about why the women accusing him didn’t go to police or make their names public, Montgomery wanted to show just how many women keep silent when assaulted. So she tweeted under the hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported about her own sexual abuse as a child and her rape while working as a flight attendant. Other women – and men – followed suit, until the hashtag appeared millions of times around the globe.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Presentations

The Sexual Assault Taboo: Why Can’t We Talk About it?
What prevents women – and men – from reporting sexual assault? Is the legal system failing the victims?

Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Hidden Little Secret and its Fallout
Crime, drug and alcohol addiction, depression: how much in our society is cause by sexual abuse at a young age? How can we prevent it from happening?

Haiti vs Rwanda: A Basket Case vs a Success Story
Why the difference? For decades, Haiti has been referred to as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere yet Rwanda, which was virtually destroyed during the 1994 genocide has recovered with remarkable speed. What could Haiti learn from Rwanda?

Awards

2009
Quebec Federation of Journalists | Award for Investigative Reporting
Beyond Borders Media Award

2005
Muslim Council of Montreal Media Award for Fairness in Reporting

2003
Amnesty International Media Award


  • Sue Montgomery is a force of nature, a natural born advocate and a delightful speaker. In my current and past roles at three major universities, I have promoted live talks from scientists and celebrities to premiers and prime ministers. Sue ranks among the most memorable. She is engaging. She is funny. She is real.

    - Director of communications, Advancement and Alumni, Concordia University

Summary Profile

Sue Montgomery has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She has reported from London, South Africa, Angola, Namibia and Rwanda. By chance, she ended up in the former Czechoslovakia in November 1989, just as the Velvet Revolution was unfolding. She was trapped in Haiti during the 2004 coup and was held at gunpoint. She has returned to the country several times since, covering further tragedies including the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000 people and left millions homeless. In 2013-2014 Montgomery spent several weeks in Rwanda examining the state of mental health 20 years after the genocide against the minority Tutsi. Most recently, Montgomery has worked as the justice reporter for the Montreal Gazette, giving voice to many victims of crime, especially survivors of sexual abuse. In 2008, she uncovered widespread sexual abuse at the prestigious Montreal private boys school College Notre Dame. Hundreds of victims who were students as far back as the 1950s, and who had kept their experiences secret, came forward following the publication of Montgomery’s articles and joined a class-action suit against the school’s owners, Les Frères Ste. Croix. They settled for $18 million – the biggest class-action settlement against a religious order in Canada. Recently, Montgomery covered the Luka Magnotta murder trial – one of the most gruesome trials in the history of justice in Canada. Magnotta was found guilty of killing, decapitating and dismembering Chinese student Jun Lin, then mailing his body parts to Canadian political parties and to two schools in Vancouver. While many of her subjects are serious, Montgomery approaches her work with a healthy sense of humour. She still believes in the kindness of humans and tries to practice it herself. In the past few years, Montgomery has hosted two children – one from Nepal and the other from Haiti – who came to Canada for surgery and long-term recovery at the Shriners Hospital. Before becoming a journalist, Montgomery worked as a flight attendant and prison guard – jobs she says require similar skills. Those skills, she says, have helped her more or less successfully raise two children, a boy and girl, as well as stay married for 20 years.