Your recent headline about Saanich Police failing to take reports of sexual assault seriously and mishandling cases brought to mind a bad memory for me.
I was a young mother in the late ’80s – yes, it seems like a long time ago but not in memory. I was pushing a stroller on Carey Road, over the train tracks down below, before it was the Galloping Goose, and saw a man fully standing, exposing himself, masturbating, trying to get anyone’s attention he could. He was wandering around, not trying to hide in broad daylight.
I was pretty shocked to see this because it had a menacing quality to it so I walked rightover to the Saanich police detachment because this was right in their front yard. When I told the officer at the desk what I saw, he got down on his elbows behind the desk leaned forward and sarcastically said, “Is that so,” like it was a big joke to him and not worth reporting and I was just going to have to put up with it. Maybe he didn’t believe me? I never figured it out.
It was like a scene in a bad movie. I will never forget it. I felt completely slimed and unsupported. He had no intention of sending someone out to deal with this. To him, I was the problem.
It’s no wonder people today aren’t getting the help they need when reporting incidents of sexual assault. This person was their mentor.
Overall, I think the police do a really good job in many difficult situations but the culture around sexualized violence – they were in way over their heads without any training.