Two female students were recently victimized on their way to Greenwood College, a private high school in Toronto. A man harassed them and looked up their skirts, forcing the students to complain to the police.
The police then advised the school's principal that the female school uniform was the source of the problem. The principal apparently agreed, and according to CNews, emailed this comment to concerned parents:
"This person was looking up the girls' skirts ... so the advice is given ... if they had, for example, jeans or sweatpants on, it wouldn't be an issue."
This is another disgusting example of victim blaming. Unsurprising, though, because the Toronto Police Service has a history of blaming victims. Earlier this year, a male police officer told students at York University that women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like "sluts".
Let's send a strong message to the Toronto Police Service that their hurtful victim-blaming "advice" needs to end.
Two female students at Greenwood College were recently victimized by a male who harassed them and looked up their skirts on their way to school. We wish to condemn in the strongest terms the recent advice given to the principal at Greenwood College, which essentially blamed the two female students for the crime simply because they were wearing their uniforms.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person's determination to exercise power over another. Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behavior are invitations for unwanted sexual activity. Toronto police officers should know this, as they are public servants in charge of protecting city residents from sexual assault and harassment.
Please tell the officers of the Toronto Police Service that victim blaming is extremely hurtful, and does nothing to help end sexual assault. The Toronto Police Service has a history of blaming victims, and so it is imperative you educate the police officers about these myths. You are in a position to do so as the police chief. Thank you.
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