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To: City of Victoria

Rape Culture is Real - We believe survivors

Ask City Councillor Stephen Andrew to step down immediately.

Why is this important?

On March 28th City Councillor Stephen Andrew tweeted "I do not believe there is a 'rape culture' in Victoria."

We wonder why then 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. We wonder why then it is the collective, normalized experience of women to live in fear of rape. We wonder why it is that 80% of women/girls who are sexually assaulted know the perpetrator.

Stephen Andrew's assertion that there is no "rape culture" in Victoria exposes a deeply problematic mindset that has no place on city council.

The way Stephen Andrew denied rape culture and minimized women’s voices and experiences to defend men’s behaviour is the very definition of rape culture.

What's worse is that Stephen Andrew denied the exisitenace of rape culture in response to the Survivors Story Project: https://www.instagram.com/survivorstoriesproject/
A community that have supported survivors and given them a platform to bravely come forward and share their credible stories of traumatic rape and sexual assault which have resulted in the recent termination of at least four men in the real estate industry.

These women have found some justice where other avenues have failed. Stephen Andrew undermines this community of support and the bravery of these women coming forward by referring to them, in his 'apology' tweet, as 'justice by mob' that 'isn't good enough'.

We think Stephen Andrew isn't 'good enough' to represent the City of Victoria.

Stephen Andrew doesn't seem to know or care that less than 5% of sexual assaults are reported to police or that ⅔ of survivors report NOT having confidence in the criminal justice system.

Most victims of sexualized violence, regardless of gender, do not report for fear they won't be believed. Stephen Andrews public statements further discredit and dismiss those who have the strength to come forward.

Stephen Andrew deleted his tweet ONLY because of the public backlash he faced and in an act of reputational damage control he took to the media to say HE would lead a 'task force on sexual abuse'. We are unmoved by Stephen Andrews claims that he was "awakened" in the span of 24 hours. We do not want someone who just hours before did NOT believe survivors to take a leadership role in determining the path forward.

Clearly Stephen Andrews reversal is politically calculated. Clearly Stephen Andrew doesn't not understand the damage he has done and how many will remain silent because of his words.

Stephen Andrew has proven he knows nothing of the realities women and survivors face or the prevalence of sexualized violence. He has proven that he has no understanding of the current system that absolutely deters reporting. He has proven that he has zero regard for survivors' truths.

Apologies are not enough. We are calling on him to resign.

It is long overdue that Victoria council address rape culture in our city by advancing its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan goal to "explore ways to end sexual harassment and assault in Victoria" but THEY MUST DO MORE. We don't need a task force, we need an action plan. We need it immediately and we need it to centre the voices and experiences of survivors.

We, the community, believe survivors and we NEED our city council to, too.

How it will be delivered

Once we have reached our signature goal we will send the signed petition to Mayor and Council for action.


Reasons for signing

  • Stephen Andrew believes that Victoria exists in a fairyland unaffected by the dominant social culture that objectifies women and promotes men's sexual entitlement to women's bodies. He clearly has no understanding of the experiences of women and does not care to listen.
  • Because acknowledging rape culture is a step towards putting policy together to end rape, and end all violence against women.
  • from the article - "We do not want someone who just hours before did NOT believe survivors to take a leadership role in determining the path forward."

Updates

2021-04-08 10:34:10 -0400

100 signatures reached

2021-04-02 20:04:59 -0400

50 signatures reached

2021-04-01 23:38:40 -0400

25 signatures reached

2021-04-01 21:02:20 -0400

10 signatures reached