'It's devastating': Charges not approved after young woman reports rape at UBC frat party
VANCOUVER -- Warning: This story contains disturbing content.
The mother of a young woman who reported being raped at a UBC frat party when she was just 16 years old is now devastated by a Crown decision not to lay charges in the case.
The family and advocates are calling for the decision to be reconsidered.
“It’s triggered her again, and revictimized her all over again,” said the mother. “It’s devastating...looking at my daughter, who’s so young, and truly believed she would find a way to have some justice. There is no justice.”
CTV News is not naming the mother to protect her daughter's identity.
Vancouver Rape Relief has sent a letter of complaint to the Crown over the case, in which they describe how the teen was intoxicated in October 2018 when she was attacked in a bathroom at a Halloween party by an “adult male student from another post secondary institution in the Lower Mainland."
The organization wrote the teen was left bleeding and bruised. She received medical help a few days later at a clinic, and then went to hospital, where her injuries were documented. She made a police report in June of last year.
“She did all the right things, and to be told that it wasn’t enough...what is enough?” her mother asked.
Rape crisis worker Sonam Khangura says this type of situation isn’t uncommon.
“It’s difficult enough for women to make the decision to report, and oftentimes when they do report, and this is the outcome, this just further discourages them to not report and reinforces their mistrust in the criminal justice system,” she said.
In an email to CTV News, the B.C. Prosecution Service said part of how they decide whether to approve charges is looking at whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence. They said this case did not meet that standard, but did not provide specific details as to why.
“In making a charge assessment, Crown counsel must consider the presumption of innocence, the prosecution’s burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the fact that under Canadian criminal law, a reasonable doubt can arise from the evidence, or inconsistencies in the evidence,” the email said.
The young woman’s mother said she asked to meet with Crown after hearing about their decision from police in April, but before the meeting she was told she would not be given any information about the case. She said the person she spoke to would only discuss the policies guiding the charge assessment process.
“She wouldn’t give me more information other than there were problems with statements,” she said. “And she said that’s as far that she would take it. So that leaves us with many more questions than answers.”
The woman’s mother said the decision sends a bad message, and the system needs to change. She’s still hoping Crown will reconsider.
“As hard as it would have been to go to trial, there would have been a sense of: we have done and taken this as far as we could,” she said.