Nfld. & Labrador

Sexual assault not just a women's problem, says protest organizer following Snelgrove verdict

Following protests in response to the not guilty verdict in Const. Doug Snelgrove's sexual assault trial, an organizer of another protest says the decision affects everyone.

Protesters want Doug Snelgrove, now suspended, removed from his position with RNC

Signs remained outside the doors of the Supreme Court in St. John's after protests against Const. Doug Snelgrove's not guilty verdict Friday. (Submitted Photo)

Following protests in response to the not guilty verdict in Const. Doug Snelgrove's sexual assault trial, an organizer of another protest says the decision affects everyone, and more needs to be done.

Jen Daniels is one of several organizers of a protest planned for Monday outside the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary headquarters in St. John's. Daniels said the protest is about keeping communities safe.

"It's just a show of participatory democracy and collectively forcing a conversation around what we want," she said. 

"We want safety, we want to feel safe in our communities, and if you can't trust the people that are supposed to protect you – that we pay for them to protect us – I think that's a pretty sad statement."

Daniels said the protest is also meant to encourage the RNC to further discipline Snelgrove. 

"He doesn't need to be held criminally responsible in this case, although we are disappointed with that result, but he doesn't need to be held criminally responsible to be removed from his position," she said. 

Jen Daniels says the protest, called "Hell no Snelgrove!" is planned for 12 p.m. Monday outside the RNC headquarters. (CBC)

'A human problem'

Daniels said instances of sexual assault affect everyone, not just women.

"It's not just an issue that should be shouldered by women's groups, like the Women's Centre or the Sexual Assault Crisis Prevention Centre and feminist groups," she said.

"This is not a women's problem, this is a human problem."

This is not a women's problem, this is a human problem.- Jen Daniels

She said the issue needs to be taken more seriously by those in positions of power.

"To have this meaningful conversation and build adequate public policy, these conversations need to be shouldered by everyone, not just these groups doing women's work."

'Deeply angry'

Daniels said she anticipates a peaceful demonstration, but she understands why people are frustrated with the result of the trial.

"I believe in peaceful protest, I believe in finding justice through peaceful means but I can understand why people are angry, why people are deeply angry that they're not getting justice," she said.

"I think this unrest and feeling of anger and graffiti and destruction of public property comes from a place of feeling angry and feeling oppressed by violence." 

The protest is planned for the headquarters of the RNC at 12 p.m. Monday. 

Following the jury's not guilty verdict on Friday, the Crown has 30 days to file an appeal.

Snelgrove has been suspended without pay since charges were laid in 2015, and the RNC said his discipline process will be finalized after the legal proceedings. 

About the Author

Lukas Wall

CBC News

Lukas Wall is a journalist with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.