Politicians stand against rape culture, step forward as victims

Emotional debate at Union of B.C. Municipalities on how to change 'pervasive' attitudes about women

Municipal politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention debate how to erase rape culture in society.

The pervasiveness of rape culture in society became a topic of emotional debate Thursday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, where no fewer than four municipal politicians stepped forward to stay they’d been raped in the past.

Cariboo Regional District director Margo Wagner said she did not report being raped 43 years ago because of the culture of the day.

“I have to say at the grand old age of 62, were it to happen now, if I were raped today, I still wouldn’t report it,” she said. “There is no easy way to get justice for this.”

The motion before delegates called for UBCM to support the creation of an intergovernmental task force to identify how to erase the rape culture in schools, universities, workplaces and elsewhere in Canada.

The concept is that rape victims, possibly perpetrators and others affected might testify, along the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for residential school abuse victims, to try to change societal attitudes and determine how to improve reporting, arrest and conviction rates.

Advocates cited examples of University of B.C. students singing “rape chants” and the revictimization of some sex assault victims by the circulation of photos on social media.

But View Royal Mayor David Screech took issue with the wording of the resolution and its claim the problem is “pervasive” and therefore rampant.

“I don’t believe that’s true,” he said.

More women politicians then stepped forward to reveal themselves as victims and other men and women told Screech he was wrong.

“To say that we are living in a culture that is not pervasive of rape is ridiculous,” Maple Ridge Coun. Kiersten Duncan said.

Duncan said she has worked with at-risk youth who after being date-drugged and victimized have been accused of inventing attacks.

“I have to constantly think about what I wear. Is it appropriate for me to wear something? Is that going to put me in a position where someone feels they have a right to abuse me?

“That is the society that we live in. And if you don’t think that’s real, then you obviously don’t know what it’s like to live like a woman in today’s society.”

Smithers Coun. Greg Brown said he’s witnessed too many inappropriate comments in hockey dressing rooms to think otherwise.

“Even if those comments don’t lead to an act of rape, the fact that they don’t get challenged means they’re pervasive,” Brown said.

“These ideas exist. They linger in our culture in video games, in conversations. We have boys 11 years old using the word rape not even knowing what it means.”

The resolution passed with overwhelming support.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Perfect Storm Group pushes for community-owned and operated primary care facility

Seeks proposals for development of feasibility study for ’Oceanside Campus of Healthcare’

RCMP arrest suspect after attempted break-and-enter in Parksville

Resident provides description, cops nab 46-year-old man

Berwick ‘silly walks’ to raise money during virtual walk for Alzheimer’s

Raised over $3,000 for the Oceanside IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s on May 31

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read