Indigenous teen questioned by Mountie speaks out: 'It ruined my trust in police'
CTVNews.ca Staff , with a report from CTV's Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2019 10:06PM EDT
A young Indigenous woman who was questioned by an RCMP officer in a video that has been widely denounced by Parliamentarians has spoken out for the first time, saying she’s still coping with the incident.
The woman, now 24, spoke to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in an exclusive interview. Identified simply as “J,” she said she still lives with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from several life events, including the time she went to Kelowna RCMP as a 17-year-old to report being sexually abused.
“I absolutely was punished for reporting. It ruined my trust in police completely,” she said.
Video of the incident, first reported by APTN News, shows a police officer ask the 17-year-old girl questions such as "Were you turned on during this at all, even a little bit?" and "Physically you weren’t at all responsive to his advances? Even maybe subconsciously?"
The teenager repeatedly pushed back: “I am being honest. I didn’t consent, but I didn’t say no.”
“So you just went along with it?” the officer asked.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what else to do,” she replied.
Regardless, J said the officer didn’t believe her. She said she was accused of making a false allegation and forced to write letters of apology to her social worker, her foster parents and the RCMP constable.
It’s unclear if the accused, an older acquaintance, was ever interviewed by police. No charges were laid.
Recalling the interrogation, J said her feelings are still raw.
“And I thought it was to get justice…It’s so hard to watch because the questions are just disgusting.”
The incident had been roundly denounced on Parliament Hill. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett called the officer’s behavior “disgusting,” and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he was “shocked and horrified” by the video.
J said she feels a sense of validation by the response.
“Today, knowing that people actually believed me, what happened, and that 17-year-old me craved that so bad, and now that I have that validation, and it means a lot,” she said.
In a statement, Grand Chief Steward Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, demanded that the federal government and RCMP take “immediate action” to address the incident and, on a larger scale, “the shameful legacy of violence towards Indigenous women and girls.”
RCMP have not identified the officer involved, and officials say they cannot comment on the incident due to ongoing legal proceedings.