Monday, November 23, 2015


A friend and I were talking today about the assaults at UBC, and how we need a coherent sort of policy/procedure for dealing with sexual assault in our department. I asked her whether she'd know what to do/who to approach if she were assaulted by someone at school; she was pretty quick in saying that she'd go to the police. And on one level, that makes sense, because that's what we're taught to do. But to the best of my knowledge, many (all?) the UBC women didn't approach the police, initially. As an assault survivor, that makes more sense to me. 

With other crimes, when you talk to the police, you are a plaintiff, a witness, and so forth. In rape cases, your body becomes a crime scene, disembodied from the rest of you. That's where the trouble is, to me, in going to the police: I didn't go, because I didn't want the terrifying scrutiny of every inch of skin that reporting would entail, when I had already been so violated. I didn't want to be a patchwork of pieces of forensic evidence, didn't want photos taken of everything that was bleeding and torn. Because once those pictures exist, you become bleeding and torn, in the eyes of the law, and yet are also scrutinized as a potential liar, with your body being what they use to judge your character and the veracity of your claims. 

It's supposed to be criminal justice, but it just feels like an extension of the crime.

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