Unfounded: What it's like to report a sexual assault

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36 Reporting experiences

8 had a positive experience reporting to police
11 said they were not updated about the investigation
12 felt blamed or shamed during the police interview
25 had their allegation dismissed before going to court
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Alicia feels her anxiety disorder caused investigators to doubt her allegation.
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After giving a statement, A.M. says she heard nothing from police. Months later she phoned for an update and was told there was no report.
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Arlene was allegedly sexually assaulted by a police officer. Three senior Crown attorneys reviewed the file, but decided there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.
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Police delayed investigating the case for months and the suspect – whose identity was known – had fled the city by the time they took it up.
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Ava says she came to at a keg party to find a man raping her. The detective let the suspect go with a warning.
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B.B. says an investigator asked if she was making up her allegation so she could sue the city. Her case was closed as unfounded.
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The officer who investigated B.D.’s allegation was facing charges of insubordination, neglect of duty and deceit under the Police Act for how he handled her case – but he retired before the hearing.
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The sexual assault charge was dropped to assault in a plea deal. The suspect was later pardoned and the charge is no longer on his record.
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Police closed Candice’s case as a “he said, she said” but told her that if the suspect ever offended again, Candice could testify.
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Christina says the investigating officer suggested she was making up the story to get attention.
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E. says that during her interview, the police officer asked: “Do you want to ruin his life?”
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Emilie reported that she had been raped while intoxicated. Police told her that the suspects provided a video of her giving consent, but could not produce it when she asked.
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Although police closed the case without charges, comedian Heather Jordan Ross is glad she reported.
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Jurisdictional squabbling between RCMP units caused delays in responding to a 911 call.
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In a tale of two officers, Jenna experienced both the good and the bad reporting sexual assault.
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Justice says they felt police didn't take their allegation seriously because they work as a sex worker.
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The investigating officer said no charges would be laid because K. had “smiled at [the suspect].”
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K says her file was closed – without her knowledge – after the suspect struck a plea deal with the Crown.
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Kelly says police never told her that they closed her file. She found out a year after the fact when she was putting together a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board application.
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During her police interview, Kerra says, she was asked if she had been wearing anything that would make the suspects want to touch her.
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K.S. was raped by a man while she was so drunk she could barely stay awake. The officers who investigated her case “were great,” she said.
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After a rocky start with an initial officer, Lisa felt the police believed her – even though there were no charges laid.
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The RCMP officers who investigated L.M.’s sexual assault case seemed “kind” but unsure of how to deal with a traumatized person.
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M. was charged with filing a false report, despite a sex assault kit that showed evidence of trauma.
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Margaret says that after she reported, investigators took months to get back to her with an update.
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Mai and Rani

Cousins Mai and Rani were allegedly abused by the same man. But when one woman stepped forward to report her uncle, police didn’t question any other young women in the family.
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Marley says that an officer asked her when she would admit she was lying so that the suspect could “get back to his life.”
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Police closed her case without charges, but Melodie went public and forced Ottawa police to reconsider. Her attacker was charged and the service admitted mistakes.
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Paola said the constable who investigated her sexual assault was wonderful: “She told me what I did was very brave.”
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Police made an arrest in Shannon’s “he said, she said” case based on her credibility, without outside physical evidence or eyewitnesses.
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S.S. says two police constables struggled not to laugh when she told them she had been anally raped by her ex-boyfriend.
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The detective who interviewed Stacey suggested that, because she asked for a condom to be used during sex, the act was consensual, though Stacey says it was not.
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Key details related to Stacie’s case appear to have been lost, including a composite sketch of the accused, witness information and evidence of records.
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Taylor says the police officer told her that a “normal person” would expect something sexual to happen if they went to someone’s house late at night.
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After suffering through years of alleged domestic physical and sexual abuse, T.R. says, her encounter with the police “made [her] feel human” and safe.
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