Toronto rape victim speaks out in online video
'I wanted to scream but I couldn't get any words out'
Sarelle Sheldon says it was the worst night of her life.
"It was surreal. I had cops around me. They wanted to do tests on me. I didn't have my family around me."
The 23-year-old was recounting the night two years ago when she was raped.
The university student from Toronto was at a Montreal bar when she says someone slipped something into her drink. The rest is a blur
"The next thing I know I was in an alleyway ... I remember him holding me against the wall. I wanted to scream but I couldn't get any words out. I managed to scratch him. The next thing I knew I was in hospital."
Sheldon was found lying in the alleyway wearing only her bra.
She couldn't believe this had happened to her.
"It happens all the time and you may not know it, but it does, and we need to be more aware and we need to hear and speak about it," she said.
Hearing other people's stories prompted her to come forward.
The case of two students raping a girl in Steubenville, Ohio. Amanda Todd from B.C. who took her own life after being harassed online. And Rehtaeh Parsons, who was allegedly gang-raped by four boys in Nova Scotia, then tormented online before ending her life last month.
Sheldon decided to take to the very medium that inflicted pain on other victims — detailing her experience in an online video that's now been viewed more than 60,000 times.
"I want to do it, to speak up in honour of them, because their voice needs to be heard, my voice needs to be heard — rape is not OK."
Sexual assaults like Sheldon's are rarely reported. According to Statistics Canada, only one victim in 10 comes forward. Experts say a lack of overall support for victims is a major reason why.
"The reaction can sometimes be, 'Are you sure? Did you make it up? Or, were you asking for it?" said Anne Rochon Ford of the Canadian Women's Health Network. "If someone has the experience of not being believed or dismissed then they'll retreat even further."
That's why the father of Rehtaeh Parsons is offering his support for what Sheldon is doing.
He's sent a message of support to Sheldon who says she's only received positive feedback so far.
She hopes speaking out is the start of change.