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  • B.C. former child rep and law professor at the University of British Colombia Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

    B.C. former child rep and law professor at the University of British Colombia Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond | Photo: York University

Published 17 May 2019

The girl in the video was allegedly assaulted while under the care of the B.C. child-welfare system. 

A video of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer interrogating an Indigenous teen in 2012, who reported that she had been sexually assaulted, is receiving widespread criticism from federal politicians.

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The old video has come to light recently as evidence in a civil suit against British Columbia's (B.C.) Ministry of Child and Family Development. The girl in the video was allegedly assaulted while under the care of the B.C. child-welfare system. 

In the video of the two-hour-long interrogation, the officer is heard asking the teen if she was "turned on... even a little bit" and that "when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling, it is very difficult."

The officer also insinuated that the teen was lying so she would not get in trouble with her then-foster parents. The minor responded by saying that the reasoning behind her report is "because I had just gotten taken advantage of and I didn't consent to it."

The interrogation has been described as "disgusting" by the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennet, who added that "no survivor of sexual assault should ever fear that his or her case will not be taken seriously or that he or she will be revictimized in the process."

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale stated that the interrogation tactics used by the officer in the video are "profoundly outdated, offense and wrong."

B.C.'s former child representative and current law professor at the University of British Colombia Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond noted that the interrogation reflects a pattern that she has seen consistently, especially for Aboriginal women.

The professor released a report in 2016 which revealed that out of the at least 109 girls who were victims of sexual assault while in government foster care, 74 of them were of Aboriginal descent.  

Turpel-Lafond concluded that there is no “easy process for young people in care or Indigenous girls and women to bring their issues forward, to be taken seriously, to be dealt with in a rapid way.”

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