TAKING A STAND – A rally against sexual assault was held in City Hall Park last week where members of the community

Local rally held to raise awareness against sexual violence

  • Nov. 19, 2014 4:19 p.m.

The paths of City Hall Park were lined with 800 cards dawning the tweets of people from across the world last week who have used the #BeenRapedNeverReported hash tag since sexual assault allegations came forth regarding former CBC journalist Jian Ghomeshi.

The card lined paths were part of the Rally Against Sexual Violence, organized by Matt McKellar, who himself was a victim of sexual abuse.

McKellar said he felt compelled to make a local movement after the firing of Ghomeshi from CBC brought forth a large volume of admittance from those who have been sexually assaulted.

The hash tag began trending shortly after the Ghomeshi scandal and has brought sexual violence to the forefronts of Canadian’s minds. Over eight million tweets from around the world were registered with Twitter in the first four days of the hash tag’s usage.

“It has demonstrated to us that as a society, our perception and reality of sexual violence is worlds apart,” said McKellar.

“One in six men and one in four women in Canada will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. These numbers triple if you are Aboriginal. Being the father of an Aboriginal daughter, it horrifies me that there is a 75 per cent chance my daughter will experience something like this in her life and I want to do everything I can to make sure it never will.”

McKellar stated the organizing of the rally was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting for him as it drew up many old feelings primarily of anger towards his assailant, as he felt no justice was ever served in his case.

He believes the lack of justice in most sexual assault cases stems from the 21-year-old sexual assault laws in Canada, as it provides little to no protection to the victims and results in very few convictions.

According to 2012 data from YWCA Canada, there are 460,000 sexual assaults in the country every year. Out of every 1,000 – 33 are reported to the police, 29 are recorded as a crime, 12 have charges laid, six are prosecuted, three lead to convictions and 997 assailants walk free.

For more information on sexual assault resources visit or call the Central Alberta Assault Support Centre at www.casasc.ca or call their 24-hour support and information line at 1-866-956-1099.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

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