Soccer team fundraising for victim of violent sex assault
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016 5:34PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 17, 2016 7:18PM PST
Ten days after a savage sexual assault on a young woman in Surrey, her soccer team is rallying around her with an online fundraiser.
The young woman, whose identity is protected by law, is a 21-year-old refugee claimant from West Africa who is studying to become a paralegal.
She has no family in Canada, but her teammates in the Surrey Football Club told CTV News they’re doing everything they can to help her.
“She’s the strongest person that we’ve met,” said Simrit Parmar, who is leading the fundraising initiative. “It’s incredible to see the outpour of support from the soccer community, our community, just everybody.”
Teammates said the young Gambian woman tried out for the team in October, not long after arriving in Canada, and immediately fit right in.
“She’s phenomenal,” Parmar said. “We were so impressed by her skills.”
But on the evening of Feb. 7, while she was on her way to a game, she was tied up, sexually assaulted, and stabbed multiple times at a Surrey apartment, allegedly by an acquaintance. Her throat was slit ear-to-ear.
“Honestly, we were shocked. Nobody knew the severity of what had happened until we went to the hospital,” Parmar said.
Somehow, the victim managed to escape into the hallway of the apartment, where she was discovered by building manager Adel Masoud.
Masoud told CTV News he found her bleeding from the neck and naked from the waist down, with her hands tied in front of her with what appeared to be skipping rope.
She’s still recovering from serious injuries at Royal Columbian Hospital, according to her teammates, and will remain there for the next month.
Though she has no family here, her team has pitched in, paying her regular visits in hospital and creating an online fundraising page on her behalf.
The team set a goal of raising $5,000 and reached it within four hours. By Wednesday afternoon, they had collected more than $13,000.
“She told us that she hadn’t cried since she’d been in the hospital, but yesterday when I showed her the [fundraiser] that was the first time she cried,” Parmar says. “She’s very happy.”
But the campaign is about more than just money. The team has a soccer game on Sunday, and teammates plan to wear a black armband with their friend’s initials and a handprint protesting violence against women.
“She’ll still be on the field with us,” Parmar said. “And she’ll be back next season, for sure.”
Mounties have arrested a 22-year-old man, Kris Kelly, in connection with the attack. Kelly has since been charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement.
For information on how to donate, contact the Surrey Football Club.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson