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LETTER: Article on Saanich Police not taking sexual assault seriously brings back bad memories

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.

Martha Kaltenbach

Saanich