RCMP Credibility Questioned In Light Of Blatantly Supporting Rape Culture, Say WAVAW

VANCOUVER – Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre, a Vancouver-based rape crisis centre which has been serving the community for over 30 years, is appalled by RCMP Superintendent Maria Nickel’s statements publicized this week regarding the sexual harassment lawsuits filed against the RCMP force.

Among the shocking statements, Nickel says that RCMP female recruits need “resilience” to deal with harassment in the workplace and should use their “inner strength” to deal with sexual harassment.

These statements are alarming for numerous reasons. They put the onus on women to tolerate and stop the violence while absolving male RCMP officers of all responsibility. These statements speak to the attitudes held by the RCMP, who are mandated to “preserve the peace and uphold the law” but then dismiss sexual assault so easily and strongly.

How can they then genuinely respond to survivors of sexual assault?

“When institutions such as the RCMP tell women how to live with sexualized violence instead of telling men to stop violence against women, they are  promoting a culture that normalizes, excuses, and encourages sexual assault; that’s Rape Culture.” says Khaleda Ebrahimi, WAVAW’s Stopping the Violence Counsellor.

“It is amazing that the RCMP so willingly admit that they hold women officers responsible to deal with men officers’, potentially positioning the RCMP as part of a rape culture that blames women for men’s violence.” states Dr. Vikki Reynolds, WAVAW’s Clinical Supervisor.

The baffling statements continue with Nickel saying that sexual harassment in the force is the status quo.  WAVAW denounces any type of justification for violence against women, and we expect a taxpayer funded institution to do the same and not reference a “predominantly male environment” as rationale for harassment and assault of women.

“The RCMP should have zero tolerance for sexualized violence, with a hiring process that depicts the seriousness of this criminal offence, just as it should have zero tolerance for drug trafficking or any other behavior that is unbefitting of someone trusted to serve and protect greater society” says Darla Goodwin, WAVAW’s Coordinator of Aboriginal Women’s Services.

Of all the institutions in our society, the RCMP should be taking a lead in discouraging Rape Culture, not promoting it, said WAVAW in a press release.

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