CHED sexual assault poll prompts YWCA to pull ads

Edmonton's YWCA has temporarily pulled its ads from radio station 630 CHED after the station poll listeners asking if victims of sexual assaults should share in any blame.

Outrage over web poll on whether sexual assault victims are to blame


Edmonton's YWCA has temporarily pulled its ads from radio station 630 CHED after the station polled listeners asking if victims of sexual assaults should share in any blame.

While early in the day the station termed the question "controversial," by noon the question was pulled and the program manager issued an apology.

"Given the same circumstances, if I just glanced down at my phone and saw a question like that in this day and age without any context, I would say why on earth would somebody ask that question," said Syd Smith.

People reacting on Twitter were outraged about the question with many saying it would discourage other sexual assault victims from coming forward out of fear of being blamed.

Nikki Bernier from the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton says society needs to change how sexual assault is discussed.  

“We need to open up the conversation further and not say ‘Are people asking for it?’ but rather say, ‘What does rape culture look like? What does it feel like?’" she said. 

Before the poll was taken down, about 35 per cent of respondents agreed that women "put themselves at risk" if they "drink too much, dress too little or walk in harm's way." 

That disgusted Justice Minister Jonathan Denis who demanded the station apologize to all sexual assault victims.

“I've met with many victims of sexual assault — male and female — over the last few years," he said.  "Not one of them ever asked to be put in that position.”

Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, an emergency room physician, finds it disrespectful for anyone to ask that kind of question. 

"I spent a lifetime looking after women who have been abused and assaulted and brutally beaten in the emergency rooms and I can tell you the fault is 100 per cent that of the perpetrator."

Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk even threatened to pull government advertising from the station. 

“These are taxpayer’s dollars and that's the only lever we really have," he said. 

No official from the radio station returned calls to the CBC.


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