In the wake of a scathing national report on rampant sexual harassment and assault within the RCMP, two women are coming forward publicly saying their allegations against a Vancouver Island RCMP officer have also been dismissed.
CHEK News has agreed to protect their identities but both women say the justice system and the RCMP have failed them.
One woman says she was sexually assaulted numerous times while dating the officer back in 2006, when the pair were living together on Vancouver Island.
“I don’t scare easy, I really really don’t scare easy, and I’m terrified of him,” she said.
“What he would do, is he would wait until I was asleep and then he would masturbate in my face while I was asleep.”
She says it happened at least 40 times and while she fought back the first time, she said after he came back from police training he was a different person.
In the police report she filed, she says “now he had power and he had authority, and he talked a lot about having that power and having that authority.”
She says he became controlling and, while he never physically assaulted her, she was afraid.
“I was living in a tiny community, I was isolated from my friends, and he had a weapon,” she told CHEK. “It was less scary for me to pretend it wasn’t happening then to actually deal with the reality,” the woman said.
They eventually broke up later that year.
She says it was the #MeToo movement and the birth of her child that prompted her to eventually go to police in 2018, 12 years later.
“I didn’t want my kid to look at me and think, that this had happened and I hadn’t tried to do something about it or protect other people,” she said.
The woman went to the Saanich Police Department in April 2018 to file a complaint. After an investigation that lasted months and resulted in a file that spanned 554 pages, the document says the investigating officer forwarded a recommended charge of sexual assault to Crown Counsel.
But after review, Crown said it would not move forward with the charges and the investigation was concluded.
The RCMP did conduct an internal investigation resulting in a conduct hearing but the allegations were also dismissed.
In the conduct hearing decision, the Conduct Board said it could not find the officer’s actions “breached the public’s confidence and affected the reputation of the RCMP” and that his actions “are not sufficiently related to his duties as to provide the force with a legitimate interest in disciplining him.”
“It makes me really disappointed in the RCMP, you know, in this force that is supposed to protect Canadians, that it’s just so quickly dismissed,” the woman said.
Another woman comes forward
A second woman has also since come forward saying she too filed a complaint with Saanich Police against the same RCMP officer earlier this year.
She tells CHEK News she was assaulted around the same time as the first woman, also while sleeping. She says Saanich police recommended a charge of sexual assault in her case, but again it wasn’t approved by Crown Counsel.
“There is a burden of proof placed on the survivor,” said Victoria Sexual Assault Centre executive director Elijah Zimmerman.
“We know that it’s harder to have the same type of evidence you would in other crimes, so the system is not set up to support survivors when they come forward,” Zimmerman said.
Both women say they want to see systemic change in the RCMP.
“I am contributing this statement, not solely because of what he did to me, but to speak up on behalf of the countless others in similar positions who do not feel able to do so, be it because of not having the necessary support, or feeling unsafe to speak up, or simply by not being ‘okay’ enough to confront the issue.
The ongoing condonation by the RCMP of inappropriate sexual misconduct by its own members, especially coming from its position as an entity responsible for maintaining societal well-being and safety — is wholly unacceptable. For others that have also experienced violations like I have, I want to say to them that I empathize — and that they are certainly and sadly not alone,” the second woman said.