MICHAELS: A better cause for public outrage - InfoNews

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MICHAELS: A better cause for public outrage

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May 16, 2019 - 4:35 PM

 


OPINION


If you’re in the market for some public outrage, direct it toward  something better than the poorly spelled barbs internet trolls aim at public figures.

While the way we comport ourselves online should be worked out, the overwrought public reaction to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran’s online strife seems misplaced, particularly in the context of this week's local news cycle.

Last week I spoke to a woman who recently gained access to 2012 video footage of her own rape complaint to RCMP. Her story gained national attention and outrage this week, but the local reaction seems tepid at best.

Let me direct your attention to one of the more galling passages from the video transcript.

“Were you turned on at all by this at all… even a little bit?” the West Kelowna RCMP officer asked, after being told she’d been raped by a guy she met while riding the bus home.

“No,” she said.

“Physically you weren’t at all responsive to his advances… even maybe subconsciously,” he asked.

“No, I was really scared,” she said.

“OK because you understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling it is very difficult,” he said.

Is it?

Is that really the current understanding of how a woman's body works? Or, as the RCMP may argue, the 2012 understanding of a woman’s response to sexual assault?

The RCMP, you see, responded to a request for comment on this footage, saying basically that they’re evolving with the times. New protocols have been implemented since that interview and more are on their way.

That's clearly good news, but  this interview wasn’t conducted in 1980. It’s not an outtake from the movie The Accused with Jodie Foster. It wasn't filmed in Alabama.

It’s from 2012 in West Kelowna.

And who knows what would have come from a real investigation, but questions like these indicate that was never going to happen.  Asking someone if they enjoyed being assaulted, even a little, says as much. It's also archaic,  wrong and about 15 steps backward for women.

Can you feel the outrage building, yet? 

Here's another bon mot from the Mountie in the spotlight.

He asked,  “Do you understand that an investigation like this costs a lot of money?”

The thing is the people who uphold the law should be better than this.

More importantly, us average Janes and Joes, as well as our public officials, should demand they be better.

We should also question whether everyone faces the same scrutiny.

This woman, who today is 24 and wears the scars of being on the fringes of society and suffering a lifetime of abuse, thinks her complaint was dealt with in this way because she was indigenous and in the care of Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“I feel angry — very angry I was mistreated. If I had a healthy parent … no parent would allow this to happen,” she said, from her home in Kelowna. “I’m still waiting for the adults who abused me to be held accountable.”

There’s good news, though.

Other people are angry, too. And maybe that means we can all get on the same page and use our collective frustration for something more purposeful than shining a spotlight on the fools who lurk in the dark corners of the inter web, we can make sure that this case of sexist, cave-man-like  policing was a one-off, from a time best left in the shadows of history.

— Kathy Michaels is an editor and reporter at iNFOnews.ca


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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