Politicians stand against rape culture, step forward as victims

Emotional debate at Union of B.C. Municipalities on how to change 'pervasive' attitudes about women

Municipal politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention debate how to erase rape culture in society.

Municipal politicians at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention debate how to erase rape culture in society.

The pervasiveness of rape culture in society became a topic of emotional debate Thursday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, where no fewer than four municipal politicians stepped forward to stay they’d been raped in the past.

Cariboo Regional District director Margo Wagner said she did not report being raped 43 years ago because of the culture of the day.

“I have to say at the grand old age of 62, were it to happen now, if I were raped today, I still wouldn’t report it,” she said. “There is no easy way to get justice for this.”

The motion before delegates called for UBCM to support the creation of an intergovernmental task force to identify how to erase the rape culture in schools, universities, workplaces and elsewhere in Canada.

The concept is that rape victims, possibly perpetrators and others affected might testify, along the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for residential school abuse victims, to try to change societal attitudes and determine how to improve reporting, arrest and conviction rates.

Advocates cited examples of University of B.C. students singing “rape chants” and the revictimization of some sex assault victims by the circulation of photos on social media.

But View Royal Mayor David Screech took issue with the wording of the resolution and its claim the problem is “pervasive” and therefore rampant.

“I don’t believe that’s true,” he said.

More women politicians then stepped forward to reveal themselves as victims and other men and women told Screech he was wrong.

“To say that we are living in a culture that is not pervasive of rape is ridiculous,” Maple Ridge Coun. Kiersten Duncan said.

Duncan said she has worked with at-risk youth who after being date-drugged and victimized have been accused of inventing attacks.

“I have to constantly think about what I wear. Is it appropriate for me to wear something? Is that going to put me in a position where someone feels they have a right to abuse me?

“That is the society that we live in. And if you don’t think that’s real, then you obviously don’t know what it’s like to live like a woman in today’s society.”

Smithers Coun. Greg Brown said he’s witnessed too many inappropriate comments in hockey dressing rooms to think otherwise.

“Even if those comments don’t lead to an act of rape, the fact that they don’t get challenged means they’re pervasive,” Brown said.

“These ideas exist. They linger in our culture in video games, in conversations. We have boys 11 years old using the word rape not even knowing what it means.”

The resolution passed with overwhelming support.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

A fire sparked at an encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue early Thursday morning. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Residents of Pat Bay Highway encampment to be relocated after early morning fire, site secured for clean up

Eviction notice issued in 2020, not enforced to allow BC Housing to connect with campers

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read