Warning: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
The mother of a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly assaulted at a Port Coquitlam middle school is criticizing the RCMP over the handling of the investigation, saying officers are blaming her daughter for what happened.
The mother’s account of the alleged incident has gone viral on social media, prompting a police investigation and the arrest of a 13-year-old boy.
In an interview with Global News, the mother and daughter — whose names have been withheld to protect the girl’s identity — both stuck with the facts as laid out in that post: that the girl was confronted by four boys who taunted and yelled sexualized comments at her.
After she slipped on some ice and stumbled into one of the boys, she says he called her a “bitch” and got into her face.
“I shoved him out of my face because he was really close to me,” the girl said. “Then he shoved me back really hard, and I stumbled a bit. Then I went back to him and shoved him again.
“Then his friend came and sprayed Febreze in my face. I think he grabbed my neck, and he punched me to the ground. I remember him threatening me after that, like, ‘I dare you to tough my friend again,’ and I heard laughter.”
The girl says she blacked out after hitting the ground. She was sent to the hospital with gashes on her face.
But when RCMP sat down with the mother and daughter after speaking to witnesses and reviewing video, it appeared a different story had emerged.
According to the mother, police told her it appeared her daughter had instigated the sexual comments by undressing herself in front of the boys, unzipping her hoodie to reveal nothing but a bra.
The officer also told her video shows the girl pushing the boys first, appearing to label her as the primary aggressor.
The girl was horrified to hear the allegations against her and denies she ever undressed herself in public.
“I cried a lot and I was really upset that people were blaming the situation on me,” the girl said.
The mother says when she asked the officer who those witnesses were who gave that version of events, the officer said it was the other boys allegedly involved in the incident.
“To hear that they’re considering the group of boys … as the witnesses is ridiculous,” she said.
“Go to the school and get the other kids who were there, and the ones who are not part of this group who were there. Ask them what happened.”
The girl had been picking up her two younger sisters near the front of the building, adding other students and parents were present at the time.
She said none of those parents stopped to help during the incident.
“I felt like I didn’t exist,” the girl said. “There were so many parents, they looked at me and they saw what happened but they just walked past like nothing even happened at all.”
The mother and girl says other students did come to her aid after the boys ran off, but it doesn’t appear police have talked to those kids.
The mother says police have offered both families to go through the restorative justice program.
According to the mom, the officer who met with the family said if the girl’s family decided to pursue criminal charges against the arrested boy, the girl would also face charges of assault and would be arrested.
“That was terrifying to hear, and I could tell when I looked at her … she was crying the whole time she was there,” the mother said.
“To have a police officer come into her home and say, ‘Well, this happened, the boys say this happened and you provoked these sexual comments and gave them a reason to do that’ — it was so hard to hear.”
RCMP have not provided any additional comment on the investigation.
The 13-year-old boy, who hails from Maple Ridge, has been released with conditions on a promise to appear in Port Coquitlam provincial court.
The mother is calling on police to interview her daughter properly, accusing them of a lack of sensitivity towards her and the family.
“She really felt like she was doing something wrong,” she said.
“It’s the police who are making her believe this. The police made her feel that way.”
—With files from Grace Ke