Nunavut’s RCMP apologized Thursday for a press release issued following a sexual assault in Clyde River.
The release included a bulleted list for how females can protect themselves from unknown assailants. It suggested wearing a backpack to keep hands free for defence purposes at all times. (Read the full press release.)
“Talking on a cellphone or listening to headphones makes you an easy target for criminals,” the release said.
Iqaluit resident Janet Brewster was one of many who took to Twitter to call out the RCMP.
many survivors of sexual assault almost immediately revert to guilt, shame, self-doubt
The RCMP’s tips put the responsibility on the victim
Elisapee Sheutiapik, president of the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council, says the idea of targeting advice to women is unfortunate.
“They’re only targeting the victim being a woman, telling them what not to do so they’re not a victim again. They have to go to that next step and talk to the abuser, or potential abuser, to remind them it’s not acceptable,” Sheutiapik said.
“We should not have implied that females should be especially vigilant and take extra precautions,” the apology reads. “The suggested safety tips listed are useful for anyone, at any time.”
In an interview Wednesday, RCMP Staff Sergeant Mark Crowther told the CBC that women were singled out because they are more often victims.
“I think men, I think people in general, have an obligation to be outstanding citizens, and law abiding, but unfortunately we’re in a society where that’s not always the case,” Crowther said.
“When in situations where you’re alone… or you’re jogging, or you’re returning to your car from a workplace in a dark area there are some strategies that you can use to keep yourself safe.”
In the case of the Clyde River assault, in which details are withheld under a…