The Current

Why women go online to report sexual assault but not to police

From some women speaking out - mostly anonymously - about allegations of violent encounters involving one specific person, to a hashtag where thousands of women in several countries are, for the very first time, using their names and twitter handles to publicly speak up about their own experiences of sexual assault. We speak to journalist Antonia Zerbisias on the phenomenon...

From some women speaking out - mostly anonymously - about allegations of violent encounters involving one specific person, to a hashtag where thousands of women in several countries are, for the very first time, using their names and twitter handles to publicly speak up about their own experiences of sexual assault. We speak to journalist Antonia Zerbisias on the phenomenon she created with #BeenRapedNeverReported.


I think if anybody has been carrying a secret for a long time they're not used to being able to say it out loud and so maybe the first step for people who are really afraid to talk is just to start talking. You can start talking to yourself. You can start talking to an inanimate object. You can start talking and just get used to just hearing your story out loud and then gradually start talking to somebody who can help you direct these words to the right place.Lucy DeCoutere



Lucy DeCoutere speaks out about Jian Ghomeshi:
'From smooching to smacking... there was no build up'






Actor Lucy DeCoutere is one of nine women to speak out in the media about violent encounters with Jian Ghomeshi. And she is one of three women who have now filed a complaint against the former CBC radio host with Toronto police. A criminal investigation into allegations of assault and sexual assault is underway.

The allegations have not been proven and no charges have been laid. In a statement released before the complaints were filed with police, Jian Ghomeshi said he intends to "meet these allegations directly" and said he would not talk to the media.

The three women talking to the police in this situation are the exception when it comes to reporting sexual violence. It's tough to get exact numbers, but YWCA Canada says that for every 1,000 sexual assaults in Canada each year, just 33 are reported to the police. Charges are laid in 12, and only six go on to be prosecuted.

YWCA-assault-infographic-520.jpg

Given low reporting rates, a hashtag sprung up late last week on Twitter ... to provide a place where women can share their stories of sexual assaults publicly ... some for the first time.

  • Antonia Zerbisias started the "been raped, never reported" hashtag along with Montreal journalist Sue Montgomery. Antonia Zerbisias is a former media critic for the Toronto Star... now a freelance writer, and we reached her at her home in Toronto.

  • Sandy Garossino is a former crown prosecutor who lives in Vancouver.

  • Trish Ferguson is a Sergeant with the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section of the Ottawa Police.


With regards to the criminal investigation into Jian Ghomeshi, we should note that CBC management has said it has reached out to Toronto police and will fully cooperate with investigators. This comes after Heather Conway, CBC's Executive Vice President of English Services, last week said Mr. Ghomeshi was dismissed after CBC executives saw, "graphic evidence that (he) had caused physical injury to a woman."


What do you think of #BeenRapedNeverReported? Where should the conversation go?

Tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Or e-mail us through our website. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Liz Hoath.

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