Warning: This article and a video included below contains descriptions of sexual assault, which may be difficult for some people. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, call the Assaulted Women's Helpline at 1(866)863-0511 or find them online here.
Since May 15, 2019, the entire nation has been reacting to a Kelowna RCMP sexual assault interrogation video where an officer inappropriately questioned a young Indigenous female who had been sexually assaulted.
A 48-second clip of the almost two-hour long interrogation was posted online for the world to see. Since then, fellow Canadians, including politicians, have been coming forward to express their necessary, emotional, and thought-provoking reactions to the video as well as the Canadian police system.
The video, which was originally published by APTN National News, shows a Kelowna RCMP officer interrogating an Indigenous youth who had said she was the victim of a sexual assault while in foster care in British Columbia.
In the video, the RCMP officer is heard asking the female, who has not been identified, a series of what seems to be inappropriate questions – such as asking if the female was turned on, if she said no or made any effort to stop it, and if she was responsive to her attacker's sexual advances.
Due to the widespread public outcry, MPs in the House of Commons met the same day the video was released to openly discuss what they saw.
According to CTV, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, was the first to express disdain towards what she was seeing. On her way out of the building, she allegedly told reporters and CTV staff that it was “totally inappropriate.” She also stated that she didn’t know “where people get that kind of right to re-victimize somebody, it's disgusting.”
During the meeting, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale what steps would be taken to ensure that this behaviour never happened again.
Scheer also stated that he was speaking on behalf of all MPs when he said he was shocked and horrified by the video. He said that this type of questioning is appalling and insensitive to a victim that is coming forward.
MPs and politicians didn’t keep this manner behind the closed doors of the House of Commons. Many politicians and public figures took their disdain to social media to demonstrate the severity of the issue.
BC NDP MP Nathan Cullen tweeted out that he did not understand how this could happen.
Public figures are also speaking up. Patricia Arquette, actress and equality advocate, saw the video and publicly called out the RCMP unit to fire the officer and re-train police.
People in the comment section of the original video are also tagging public figures, police officers, and RCMP units to ensure that they also see this video.
The general consensus among the commenters is that this behaviour at the hands of the RCMP officer is beyond acceptable. Many people are calling for the cop to be identified and fired as a result.
Some people are also commenting about the victim, stating that they cannot believe that she had to endure this. While the victim remained anonymous, it seems as though she has growing support around her through sentimental commentators.
Others are concerned and aware that things like this happen way too often – which can lead to victims of sexual assault not coming forward.
The video, which was taken in 2012, was released to the public recently due to a current lawsuit that is underway. The lawsuit is allegedly against the Ministry of Child and Family Development as well as the social worker and supervisor who were responsible for the victim's wellbeing while in foster care.
According to APTN, no charges were laid against the alleged perpetrator of the assault. APTN has reported that court documents show the social workers and the teen’s foster family accused the youth of “falsifying the incident for an excuse for using drugs.”
Narcity has reached out to the BC RCMP as well as the Kelowna RCMP for a comment.