After reporting on Carrie Low‘s experience and the story of a young woman who reported she was drugged at The Dome before being sexually assaulted, we invited survivors of sexual assault to share their experiences and how the police handled their investigations. We assured them anonymity. This is one in an ongoing series. See the entire series here.

I was 16 years old when I called the town police (not Halifax police but another town police within the province) to a friend’s house I was at to report a sexual assault that had occurred. 

The assault was by my abusive ex-boyfriend at a party. I suspected I was drugged by his friend, became too intoxicated, panicked, and asked for my ex because he was familiar. People were sleeping in tents at the party, so I was carried by his friend into a tent where my ex joined me. I told him I was just having a panic attack and asked him to hold my hand. Instead, despite me telling him I was unable to move, he moved my body around to sexually assault me in various ways. He then left me in the tent, with the door open in the rain, unable to move until I was found in the morning with hypothermia. 

When I told this to the police, having worked up the courage to charge him, the officer said, “But did you say no?” I told him no, I hadn’t. But I was too intoxicated to consent and unable to move. The officer LAUGHED at me. He said something along the lines of “okay I guess we’ll just have to see what we can do,” and left. It was never followed up on whatsoever. Nothing happened. 

Months later, following further harassment from my abuser, I went to the RCMP for a peace bond. I was told over the phone it would be easiest to get if I went in and made a statement as to why I wanted it and what all had occurred, so I did. I didn’t know the RCMP worked different than the town police in with domestic cases; they charge whether the victim wants them to or not. So they did. The RCMP officer who dealt with this case was gentle with me, empathetic, and I felt 100% believed. My abuser was arrested and charged, not only for the sexual assault but all of the other abuse he had inflicted on me in our relationship, and put on conditions until court, which included the same stipulations of a peace bond.

Ultimately the case never made it to court. This is in part due to the behaviour of the first town police officer who laughed at me when he asked if I’d said “no.” I had lost my courage to go forward, coupled with the threats and bullying I received from my abuser’s friends and family. I knew what happens to victims in court. My family pressured me to drop the case, and because I couldn’t, I lied and told the RCMP officer that actually, I had consented. The case paused until he reached out to me via email months later, knowing the truth and asking if I wanted to go forward and if I had lied that day. I told him YES. However, obviously that had made me an unreliable victim. So, my abuser got away scot-free, with support to his narrative that I lied because I was a jealous ex, because the court didn’t believe me. He still tells people that story to this day, seven years later. 

If you are a survivor of sexual assault and would like to share your experiences with how the police handled your investigation, we’d be happy to hear from you. Anonymity is assured. Email

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