Winnipeg woman who was beaten, robbed near U of Manitoba calls for more supports for youth
'I should be able to take a bus ... without being attacked and brutally robbed,' Carissa Chaput says
A young woman says more needs to be done to support youth and young adults who are at risk of violence and crime after she was attacked by three people near the University of Manitoba on Thursday night.
Carissa Chaput, 18, had bussed from downtown and was waiting to transfer on Chancellor Drive by the university at about 10 p.m. when she was robbed and assaulted by two women and a man she didn't know.
"I was wondering why would they do this to me? I didn't even do anything to you. I don't deserve this. I'm a kind person. I would never hurt anybody like that," she said in an interview on Saturday.
"I should be able to take a bus and transport through buses without being attacked and brutally robbed from my things."
Chaput is covered in bruises, bite and scratch marks, has a black eye and has to wear a neck brace after her neck was stomped on. Luckily nothing was broken.
She says her attackers stole her purse, headphones and phone.
Public information officer Const. Jay Murray confirmed police were called to the assault that night, and found some of the woman's belongings, but no charges have been laid in the matter at this time.
Carissa's mother, Kim Chaput, was going to bed when she received a call from a family friend that Carissa was in an ambulance headed to Victoria Hospital's emergency department — "a call that broke my heart," she said.
"As soon as I got there, she just fell in my arms and started crying. I don't wish upon any mother to go what I went through to see their child go through that. No child deserves this," Kim said.
Both mother and daughter believe more must be done to support youth to make better decisions before they hurt people.
Kim wonders if this attack was a cry for help from the three involved.
Community outreach worker, youth mentor and activist Mitch Bourbonniere agrees.
He says his heart goes out to Carissa, but also believes there must be a "measure of misery" within the three people who hurt her.
When traumatized people don't have an outlet, they can feed off each other, Bourbonniere said. What they need are pro-social activities and healthy mentors.
"It takes effort and people power ... and creativity to develop safe places for young people to go to. There's already a lot of places like this in our community, we just need more of it," he said.
Carissa, who spent some time in the foster system, said she fought hard through her own trauma, with the support of trusted adults, to be a better person.
"Youth need to realize that they're not the only ones hurting out there. There's other people hurting, too. I was in the system myself. I was beaten and I was abused," she said.
"I found potential in myself. I got a job. I'm graduating. And they need to find potential in themselves too. They can't be doing this to people and it ruins families. What if they killed me?"