MPs slam RCMP for asking Indigenous teen reporting sex assault if she was ‘turned on by this at all’

Members of Parliament from both sides of the aisle did not hold back in condemning the revelations of a media report this week that found a Kelowna RCMP officer interrogating an Indigenous teen reporting a sexual assault had asked her: “Were you turned on by this at all?”

APTN News reported on Monday that it had obtained a video of the March 2012 interrogation, which the outlet described as lasting more than two hours and in which the teen said she had been sexually assaulted while in the foster care system in that province.

“Were you at all turned on during this at all? Even a little bit?” the officer said in the video, which APTN posted in its report. “You understand that when a guy tries to have sex with a female and the female is completely unwilling, it is very difficult.”

The interrogation continued, with the officer demanding to know how hard the teen had tried to fight back and why she asked her alleged rapist to wear a condom.

“Because I already knew it was going to happen, and there was no escaping it,” she said.

“What does that tell me about your level of consent and your level of denial?” the officer responded.

APTN reported that no charges were laid against the alleged rapist, and it is not clear what, if anything, happened to the officer.

That question formed the basis of demands for an answer in question period on Wednesday.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer used his first question to ask what the government was doing to find out what had happened.

“This line of questioning was appalling and insensitive to the young woman who was coming forward with her story,” he said.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who is the minister responsible for the RCMP, rose to give the response.

“What was revealed in that video was absolutely abhorrent,” he said, adding that the attitude it demonstrated is “profoundly outdated, offensive and wrong.”

“No survivor of sexual assault should ever fear that their case will not be taken seriously,” he continued.

Goodale did not say whether he has spoken with Brenda Lucki, commissioner of the RCMP, about the matter or whether any investigation will be launched.

The condemnation from both sides prompted a standing ovation from the members.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett had condemned the handling of the matter earlier in the day.

She called the incident “disgusting” and said it demonstrates the need for judicial training about sexual assault.

Rona Ambrose, former interim Conservative leader, introduced a private member’s bill to require judicial training on sexual assault after Robin Camp, then a Calgary judge, asked a sexual assault complainant during a trial why she couldn’t just keep her “knees together.”

However, that bill is stalled in the Senate, and Ambrose has cast the blame squarely at the feet of male senators.

“I know for a fact that there are people in the Senate — literally a group of old boys — who want to protect another group of old boys,” Ambrose said on CTV News last month.

“This has got to stop.”

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