Outrage over two-week sentence handed to teen in nightclub sex assault
“No means no. It doesn’t mean maybe.”
That was the message from demonstrators on Saturday, dozens of whom gathered in front of British Columbia’s provincial youth court in downtown Vancouver to protest the punishment recently doled out to a young North Vancouver man convicted in a violent sex assault nearly three years ago.
“Two weeks… sent a clear message to all of us like we didn’t matter,” said rally organizer Yalda Kazemi.
“Two weeks is like, nothing compared to the effect on the victim,” added another female protester.
The teen sex assault survivor’s mother also attended the rally to add her voice to what she perceives as a lack of justice.
“It just gives you no faith in our judicial system. It’s an absolute mockery,” said the woman, who cannot be named as a court ordered publication ban protects the identity of her daughter.
On Feb. 28, 2016, the woman’s 17-year-old daughter was attending a private grad party at the Encore nightclub on Granville Street in Vancouver when she was brutally attacked in the women’s washroom.
The teen was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital, allegedly covered in blood.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested outside the no-booze, all-ages event.
WATCH: Teenage boy charged after sex assault at Vancouver nightclub
One day after the incident, the teen’s sister spoke out, telling Global News her sibling’s life was changed forever.
“A young man made the decision to harm her in the most violating and violent way possible, something that no one should ever have to experience,” said the young woman who also cannot be identified.
“We ask that this young man receive the strictest enforcement of the law as he, too, should have to bear the burden of consequences that result from his own selfish and horrific behaviour.”
After an investigation by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) sex offence squad, the 16-year-old boy, whose identity remains protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement.
“It’s not something we see a lot in Vancouver,” said VPD Const. Brian Montague at a March 1, 2016 press conference.
“We do have, unfortunately, a large number of sexual assaults… they don’t often get to this level of violence.”
WATCH: Nightclub sex assault victim’s family speaks out
The teen boy was eventually convicted of aggravated sexual assault and in October 2018, he was handed a three-year sentence with two weeks to be spent in custody and the rest of his time to be served in the community.
“I was so disgusted on the last day of court when he handed a two-week sentence down, feeling sorry for the criminal,” said the survivor’s mother on the provincial court judge’s ruling.
Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the maximum sentence for a serious indictable offence is three years in custody.
The sex assault survivor’s mother told Global News her daughter is moving on with her life, but that her PTSD will never go away.
“The criminal gets away with a slap on the wrist and the victim suffers for a lifetime.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.