We are here in solidarity with the Comité Pare-Chocs, speaking out against the fact that in 2016, we are still using ECT in Quebec's hospitals.
According to the numbers we obtained, 2,981 ECT treatments were administered in Montreal in 2015. Considering that women receive 60% of ECT treatments, this means that Montreal women were subjected to more than 1,788 electroshocks. At the provincial level, women received 6,517 electroshocks.
Today, we stand alongside other regional and national women's groups to address the Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, and the Minister responsible for the status of women, Lise Thériault. At the time of writing, Tables de groupes des femmes in Estrie, in Bas-St-Laurent, in the Laurentides and in Saguenay Lac-St-Jean have signed on, as well the Fédération des femmes du Québec. Other regions should be contacting their ministers as of early next week, as we want answers to our questions:
- How can use of this practice, whose effectiveness is still subject to controversy in the scientific world and whose mode of action is still unknown, still be justified? In other words, we don't know how ECT works to provide its so-called results.
- Why are nearly two-thirds of ECT treatments administered to women?
- Why are women over 65 more likely to be selected for this intervention?
- How can we ensure that the people receiving this treatment have truly given their free and informed consent?
- Why are the number of treatments increasing, despite knowledge that they can cause cognitive damage and memory problems?
In our society, where different forms of oppression continue to thrive, women's social and economic conditions can worsen existing health problems.
Nothing conclusive shows that ECT can improve women's living conditions.
Some women are confronted with additional barriers related to discrimination as a result of their origins, sexual orientation, income, health or physical condition.
The systems of oppression in our society require electroshock treatment, not women!
Speech from the Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal and the Réseau d'action des femmes en santé et services sociaux as part of the 10th Gathering Against Electroshock organized by the Comité Pare-Chocs.
The Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal is a regional feminist organization bringing together more than fifty groups. Its mission is to promote and defend women's interests and rights.
The Réseau d’action des femmes en santé et services sociaux is a regional organization of women's groups working in health and social services, especially on the issue of violence against women.