Ottawa woman says police told her sexual assault was 'misunderstanding'

Ottawa police now say investigator's conclusions 'may have been premature'

Melodie Morin

Melodie Morin said police told her that the sexual assault she reported was a "misunderstanding." (Judy Trinh/CBC)


A University of Ottawa student who reported to police she was choked and raped at a party said she was told charges would not be laid because the man thought the sex was consensual.

Melodie Morin told CBC News she dropped out of her music program after consulting with doctors because of ongoing stress related to her sexual assault.

"They didn't take me seriously. I feel like it should be clear that no means no," she said. "I feel like they've made me into a victim twice."

A University of Ottawa study released this week found that only 44 per cent of women who reported a sexual assault to Ottawa police felt the first officer believed her and 37 per cent found that the officer was considerate of her feelings and opinions.

'I feel like they've made me into a victim twice.' - Melodie Morin

Morin said she went out with friends on September 25 to celebrate her recent birthday, and was later invited to a party by a fellow student at his home around 2 a.m. She said he invited her into his bedroom under the pretence of having a drink and then forced her to have sex with him.

"I said, 'no, this isn't happening.' I said, 'No, I don't want this to happen.' I definitely made it clear. I tried to pull myself away from him," she said. "There is no way that it was consensual."

Ottawa woman says police told her sexual assault was 'misunderstanding' 0:24

Morin said it was an "extremely violent" sexual assault.

"During the whole situation, I honestly thought that I was going to die because of all the choking, because of all the hitting, because of all the physical abuse," she said.

Morin said the man acted as though nothing happened and he walked her home after the attack.

"I was still in shock. I was still scared of him," she said.

Once home, she immediately called police and went through the difficult process of filing a detailed report, she said. Police then took her to the hospital to undergo a rape kit and have her injuries documented over the course of an examination that took several hours, she said.

"There were bruises," she said. "He went as far as spitting on me."

Morin said a detective called her yesterday to inform her the case was closed after the man she accused of sexual assault told police he thought it was consensual.

Morin said the detective told her it was a "misunderstanding."

"I was absolutely shocked," she said.

Her friend launched an online petition calling for Ottawa police to reopen the case. 

After sharing her story, Morin said Ottawa police contacted her today to say the case would be reviewed.

Ottawa police told CBC News in a written statement Friday evening that all investigations are reviewed by supervisors and in Morin's case, "the conclusions of the investigator may have been premature, as not all investigative avenues had been exhausted."

The statement went on to say that the Ottawa Police Service "recognizes that the investigator's findings to date – that were conveyed to the victim on November 4th – may have further impacted her sense of safety and security. We remain committed to an open dialogue."

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