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.

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.

Just Posted

B.C. Health Minister announces plan for new hospital in Terrace

“This means more beds, a level three trauma centre, better surgery and better care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

B.C. Family Day to move to third week in February next year

Premier John Horgan said the move is to better align the holiday with businesses and families

B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan says next increase will come in June

Sold out 1st annual nordic ski club tour

International gourmet food and beverage stations on ski trails

Andrew Wilkinson takes B.C. Liberal leadership

Dianne Watts’ first-choice lead didn’t grow enough for outsider to win

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Port of Vancouver program examines impact of marine noise on local whales

Man-made noises can interfere with orcas’ ability to hunt and communicate with other pod members

Patrick Brown enters Ontario Tory leadership race

Despite sexual misconduct allegations Brown believes he is the right choice for the PC party

Most Read