Warm weather, not Stampede, leads to increase in sexual assaults: advocate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Warm weather, not Stampede, leads to increase in sexual assaults: advocate

July 10, 2016 - 7:00 AM

CALGARY - The Calgary Stampede has developed a reputation for parties, hookups and general debauchery over the years, but that doesn't equate to an increase in the number of reported sexual assaults, says a women's advocate.

"There's not really a jump in Stampede," said Danielle Aubry, executive director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse. "But since only six to eight per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported, I can't say for sure there isn't a bigger number during that time period."

The Stampede runs until July 17 in the city.

Calgary Police Insp. Leah Barber said officers on the grounds keep a close eye on any individuals leaving the bars who may appear a bit too drunk or may have had something slipped in their drink.

"Most everybody comes down here to have fun and be law abiding and even in the alcohol tents generally people are there to have fun, but there are predators everywhere and it doesn't require Stampede to bring those out," Barber said.

"I can't say it's not going to happen but I don't think it's any worse during Stampede than it is any other time of the year."

Barber said many victims never report they've been assaulted because they blame themselves. She said that could account for a low number of reported incidents.

"It's terrible and that's where the reporting is so important from our perspective. Even if it is the next day and even if you don't remember a lot about it you should be reporting it because these people shouldn't be getting away with that."

Aubry said while there is no uptick in reporting at Stampede time, there is an upswing when the weather gets warmer. Sexual assault response teams, which generally deal with complainants within 96 hours, usually respond to about 300 people each year, she said.

"There is a jump as soon as the warm weather arrives," she said.

"Typically we might have a case a day but during these times when the weather gets nicer it's not uncommon for us to see two or three a day."

Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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