The Revelstoke Mountaineer began investigating the possibility of two recent sexual assaults taking place in the community after being contacted by a concerned citizen. As a result a joint media statement has been released by the Revelstoke RCMP Victim Services, Queen Victoria Hospital, Revelstoke Women’s Shelter, and Revelstoke RCMP.
The statement says information has been indirectly provided to various agencies about several sexual assaults having taken place recently. These assaults have taken place in public locations.
“Without absolute information, the multiple agencies involved have been limited in their response and police have been unable to conduct any formal investigations,” said the statement. There is currently no information available about the suspected sexual offender(s).
Revelstoke RCMP St/Sgt Kurt Grabinsky said in a phone interview this morning that he was unable to confirm or deny if the events had taken place. Grabinsky noted that often victims of sexual assault do not report to the RCMP.
“They may report to other agencies such as the women’s shelter, hospital, or community-based victims services,” said Grabinsky.
Victims of sexual assault are not required to report to RCMP and service agencies only report incidents to police if it is specifically requested by the victim.
Stephanie Melnyk, Victim Services Coordinator said sexual assault is the most under-reported crime across Canada with only about 20% of cases being reported.
Under-reporting of sexual assault is not a new phenomenon, especially when it comes to under reporting to police. A recent report released by Statistics Canada shows that a 2014 General Social Survey on Victimization shows more than 8 in 10 sexual assault incidents are not reported to police.
“This is happening here. We know it’s happening, even though it’s not being reported,” said Melnyk said in a phone interview with The Mountaineer. “Some victims of sexual assault want to report to police while others do not, but many agencies, including Victim Services, can support them in both cases. As a community we can’t be afraid to talk about sexual assault and to address the underlying biases and systematic dysfunctions. Once we start talking more openly, we can work together on approaches for prevention.”
Survivors of sexual assault can call the RCMP, Victim Services, Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society and the Queen Victoria Hospital at any time for assistance. If you, a friend or family member has been a victim of sexual assault, please contact one of these agencies for support. Reports of sexual assault can be made anonymously.
In an effort to keep people safe the RCMP recommend the following:
–Use caution when approached by or talking to strangers
–Be vigilante and mindful of surroundings.
–Avoid walking alone and stay in well lit areas
–Carrying a cell phone allows immediate access to 911 and all related emergency services.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Carmen Harder, would like to remind the public to keep safe distances when talking to strangers, ensure others know where you are when you are alone, and watch one’s drink when in the company of others
Anyone who wishes to come forward to provide information about the recent assaults can connect with any of the following agencies. Information can be provided anonymously.
Revelstoke RCMP Victim Services 250.837.9260
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society 250.837.1111
Queen Victoria Hospital 250.837.2131
Revelstoke Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477