Starting a public conversation in our country about the crime of sexual assault. 

CCEC Member Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is a long time champion women’s rights and fair treatment before the law. Recent court decisions and reported incidents have brought the issue to public prominence once again.  

Regardless of whether you feel the verdict in the Ghomeshi case was justified, it has prompted mainstream media to print editorials including  Time to drop the distinct crime of sexual assault and not as main stream to continue the conversation such as, Ghomeshi: a post verdict update in the Oracle.

In response to a video posted on facebook that went viral called, Your offender isn't a creep': One woman's story of reporting a sexual assault”, Louisa Russell, Spokesperson for the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter  says, “I thought she was brave to speak out about the violence committed against her in her own name. Her experience is typical of what women tell us on our crisis line. I fully agreed with what she said about not going alone to the Police.” 

She continues by saying that her organization carried out a research project on attrition rates in Canada and found that the likelihood of a case proceeding to court went up drastically if the woman took an independent women's advocate with her.  Representatives of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter stay beside a woman throughout the criminal justice process and help prepare her for what to expect. Louisa says, “We know that most women do not want to use the police but for the 30% of our callers that do we go out of our way to make sure she gets the best response possible.” 

Be sure to support the work of the Women’s Shelter in their Annual Walk on May 29.  Funds raised will help pay for the operating costs of the rape crisis centre, the help-line, the transition house including food, transportation for women to get to safety, attend support groups and legal clinics, creating sexual assault prevention materials and public education in the community.

The outcome of the recent high-profile sexual assault case in Toronto prompted Jackie Stevens, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax to say, “we want to express our deep admiration and respect for the survivors who so courageously came forward in this case. Their willingness to come forward has started a public conversation in our country about the crime of sexual assault, a conversation we hope will help create a safer environment for others to come forward.”

Sexual assault is not the survivor's fault and is a violent crime. What clothes a person wore, where they were, who they were with, or whether they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their assault is irrelevant. The only person responsible for a sexual assault is the person who commits the crime.

For more information and to support the work of Rape Relief:

Tel: 604 872 8212


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