‘Scared it’s becoming commonplace’ says women’s advocate after Quebec’s potential 6th femicide this year

"I’m still angry, but I’m also very scared that it’s becoming almost commonplace," said Linda Basque of Info-Femmes, after a Sorel-Tracy woman was allegedly murdered by an ex-partner Sunday, possibly making it femicide. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

A possible femicide is being investigated in Sorel-Tracy, about 90 kilometres east of Montreal.

According to French-language station TVA, a mother was allegedly murdered by her ex-partner and lit on fire in her home late Sunday evening.

A police spokesperson said an autopsy will confirm whether the victim died in the fire or in another way.

BACKGROUND: Woman’s body found in a burned home, suspect arrested shortly after

Firefighters were called shortly before midnight for a fire in a house on Turcotte Street. Once the flames had died down, firefighters found the body of 43-year-old Audrey-Sabrina Gratton.

“When I first read about the fire and that they found a body right away, I thought, ‘that’s going to be a feminicide,’” said Linda Basque of Info-Femmes. “And I find it terrible that that’s the first thing that comes to mind.”

Gratton’s ex-partner, the suspect in the murder, had fled the scene of the fire, but was arrested by police shortly after and treated in hospital for serious burn injuries. he will be questioned when his condition permits.

Gratton would be the sixth femicide to occur in the province since the beginning of the year.

“In the past, I’ve always told you I was angry and I’m still angry,” said Basque. “But I’m also very scared that it’s becoming almost commonplace and that we might become blasé. The fact that another woman is killed simply because she’s a woman.”

Last year, Quebec recorded at least 26 women killed by their partners, the highest number seen in 13 years.

“I think that the number of women who are victims of domestic abuse, of intimate partner violence has not gone down,” said Basque. “From what I can see, it would be the opposite. So even though there may be a bit less femicides in. Really not ready to speculate on that yet. But the number of women who are victims has not gone down.”


Last week, an RCMP officer attempted to stab his wife and 17-year-old teenager to death, before authorities killed him outside his home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal.

“I can’t emphasize enough the fact that we have to stop as a society seeing women as objects, as belonging to another person, which is what allows people to mistreat and to see the other person as an equal but something that belongs to you,” said Basque.

“We have to keep talking about it. We have to, I think, do more when it comes to preventing domestic abuse. Right now, we’re simply trying to protect the women who are victims to try and help them and their children. But I think that we also have to maybe put more emphasis on prevention, and that means attacking the problem from the get-go and talking to children about what are healthy relationships, what they’re supposed to be like, talking to teenagers about the red flags.”

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault reacted to the news out of Sorel-Tracy.

“What a terrible drama,” he tweeted. “It upsets me every time. I would like to offer my condolences to the family and loved ones of the victim. Resources exist if you are in a situation of domestic violence.”

** Anyone needing help can call SOS Violence Conjugale 24/7 at 1-800-363-9010. Those fearing they may become violent towards their partner can call PRO-GAM for an appointment at 514-270-8462 **

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