Challenges of reporting rape come into the spotlight
MONTREAL – These are words from an alleged rape victim: “For three years, you’re sitting up there and you have all these lawyers and all these people telling you that you’re wrong and you wanted it and that it’s your fault. They made me feel like the bad guy.”
The 21-year-old former Concordia student said she was sexually assaulted by three McGill University football players in September 2011.
But on Monday, the sexual assault and forcible confinement charges were dropped.
The crown prosecutor said new information had come to light that called her story into question.
Quebec Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée told Global News she has confidence in Le Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP).
“They’re an independent group and they look into each file very professionally, so it’s not up to me to decide to intervene in the file if decisions were taken not to lay accusations,” she said.
The victim, on the other hand, is sticking to her story.
“I know it wasn’t consensual, I know I said ‘no’ and I know they heard me.”
WATCH: Alleged McGill rape victim speaks out
She said she now knows why so few women come forward and report incidents.
According to Statistics Canada, women aged 15 to 24 experience the highest rates of sexual violence in the country.
In 2009, women reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault to social-service providers but less than 10 per cent were reported to the police.
The coordinator of Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Center, Jennifer Drummond, said it’s not unusual for sexual assault cases to be abandoned before they get to trial because of the lack of evidence.
“They may not realize that it’s sexual assault right away, they’re not sure what they think about the situation so they often don’t go to the hospital, they don’t seek any kind of help so there’s no evidence that can be collected, unless you go right away when it’s occurred.”
Part of the solution, she said, is having a safe place for people to go to, encouraging dialogue and creating awareness.
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