There is nothing to celebrate about the decrease of sexual assault reports to police in British Columbia. Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, the oldest rape crisis center in Canada has had the opposite experience. In its 39 years, the crisis line has consistently answered an increasing number of calls from women victims of rape and sexual assault. In 2011 alone, Rape Relief received 1,400 reports of male violence against women.
It is clear that while women trust women’s services to assist them after being attacked, they obviously do not trust the state agent that is responsible to protect women from male violence, the police. Just in the past few weeks we learned about a police officer creating pornographic images that sexualize horrifying acts of violence against women. At the same time, the RCMP’s top recruiter in our province expects female officers to endure sexual harassment. The allegations of sexual harassment are being adamantly denied and instead, the women who dared to come forward are being trashed. How can women trust an organization that exhibits such sexism?
The bottom line is that the decrease of sexist violence reported to the police is not a sign of success but rather strong and shameful evidence to police failure.
for the Collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter