On June 19, 2016 I was attacked from behind while walking down a street in East Van that I had walked down a million times before. I felt safe in that neighbourhood, and that night changed those feelings for the rest of my life.
It was roughly 2am and I had taken a cab to a friend’s place after being out celebrating a friend’s birthday. The cab attempted to get to the address, but couldn’t drive through due to a “traffic calmed area.” At the time I didn’t think anything of walking the block down, because like I said, I had walked around this neighbourhood before. I went to text my girlfriends that I was home safe, to find that my phone had died. I jumped out of the cab, headed in the direction I needed to, took a look at my surroundings, saw nothing, and then began fumbling for my keys in my purse. As I was walking, I saw a man walking across the street in the opposite direction. I took note, and carried on. Before I could find my keys, all I heard was feet pounding on the pavement behind me and a rush of someone pushing me a lawn. My body froze, and I tried to scream but it was like the sound just couldn’t come out. I fought and fought, but the man was able to accomplish what he was obviously set out to do in that moment. I was raped. I’m not going to refer to it as a “sexual assault” like they did in the papers, because I feel that is a very broad term (not at ALL taking away from those that have in fact been sexually assaulted in any way shape or form.) I was raped. This was also the term the detectives told me not to use when they arrived to the house that morning.
I confided in one of my closest friends at the time and she was the one that helped me come to the conclusion that I call the police. She called the police for me while I just sat there crying, feeling like I was a shell of my former self. The police came; both a female and male officer. They began with questions of “What were you wearing?” “How much did you have to drink?” “Are you sure you didn’t know this man and consented?” Questions that made me feel like somehow I had contributed to this happening to me. I finished my report, and the male officer left the room to talk to his boss. When he re-entered the room, he walked in from behind me and touched my shoulder. I almost turned around and punched him in the face; being in complete disbelief that he couldn’t put together what had JUST happened to me, and how that *maybe* could have triggered something.
The officers asked me to walk down the street of where it happened with them; down a road full of houses of people I knew. I felt like I was a walking target, and that anyone walking by would just have to know what happened to me. I pinpointed the area, and walked back to the house. Upon arriving to the house – I forget exactly how it happened- but it came up with the male officer that I had previously dated a VPD officer (my mistake). The conversation immediately took a turn from what had just happened to me, to a conversation about my previous partner (who was no longer with the VPD at this point) and funny stories of him on shift. He then told me not to worry because “we [they] take care of our own”
This was them speaking to me after I had just been RAPED about an ex-boyfriend of mine, who was very obviously an EX for a reason, and not someone I wanted to be thinking about at this point. Also, I should never be referred to as one of them, because I wasn’t.
They took all of my clothes I was wearing that night, they took swabs, and they did everything that I didn’t want to do in that very moment, but I did it because I thought something good would come out of it. I was wrong. The next few days involved receiving several phone calls from several different officers (as they did the shift change) to fill that officer on information that I had already given the other officers over and over. When they couldn’t get a hold of me (God forbid I take a moment to myself to just BE) they decided to take it upon themselves to contact my ex-boyfriend ( whom I had no contact with) to try and track me down, and without my consent, decided to let him know about the entire file. So now, I not only was I trying to handle what had just happened to me, but I now had to deal with the massive invasion of privacy and feeling vulnerable.
*Due to the triggering nature of writing down the details of her experience, Hanna (name changed) did not feel capable of going forward with her story publicly. She hopes to continue helping the 2poin9percent Project in the future when she is ready to put herself once again through the great hardship that comes with discussing a personal story of rape and sexual assault.