July 16, 1998

Response to Apology by Chief Boothby

I'm here today to respond to the Police Department's apology, on behalf of Jane Doe and a coalition of women's groups from the city -- many of whom were involved in drafting this response.

We welcome Chief Boothby's apology and the acknowledgment inherent in it that systemic discrimination and stereotypes about the crime of sexual assault -- and the ways in which women respond to assault -- have guided police protocol and investigations for too long. We also welcome the opportunity to act on the evidence introduced in the Jane Doe trial and to work with our police department to effect the systemic change that is necessary to prevent the continued escalation of the crimes of rape and sexual assault.

We propose that an adequately resourced Advisory Committee from the women's community be formed immediately that will work with you to:

  1. Oversee the audit ordered by City Council

  2. Address police protocol and policies regarding the investigation of all types of sexual assault

  3. Initiate community based training for all police officers within a two year period as you have publicly promised.

  4. Design public education material for preventative work in our schools and communities, and formulate effective issuance of warnings.

These and other recommendations have been placed before you repeatedly during the past 25 years -- by other women's groups/coalitions -- which have included the women known as Jane Doe. You have received them through the Campbell Report and they are echoed in the recent inquest findings into the death of Arlene May.

Let us not continue to argue about what has been changed and what has not. Remember that just 7 months ago the Metro Police defended the balcony rapist investigation as an exemplary one, giving the impression that no changes were needed. Yes -- we now have a Sexual assault Squad. It exists however only to investigate 2nd and 3rd level sexual assaults -- that is the 25% of reported rapes committed by a stranger, a serial rapist or when a weapon is involved. The remaining 75% are investigated by rank and file officers who catch the 911 call. And yes, police receive 3-5 days of sexual assault training at the beginning of their careers -- training that is delivered by other police officers. Most importantly look at the statistics. A women is raped every 17 minutes in this country, yet only about 10% of us reported the crime to the police and fewer still enter the legal system. Clearly, women do not feel protected or safe in this system.

We know that police officers are appalled by sexual assault and want rapists caught and imprisoned. Jane Doe's case was not about individual officers but about a system of policing that needs to change. Our courts have agreed. We make these proposals to you in good faith and with a commitment to work with you to develop pro-active, community based strategies that will benefit policing, women and society in general. We hope that they are received in the same spirit. Our goal is to stand here again one year from now to celebrate our work together and our accomplishments.

So thank you Chief Boothby and the Metro Police. Your apology is accepted by Jane Doe because she believes it to be a meaningful one bound by a commitment to change. As do we all. Now let's go to work.

We wish also to remember today and to celebrate the other women we know of who were raped by the so-called Balcony rapist and the millions of women across the country -- many of whom have not survived -- good, strong, courageous women who have also had the crime of rape committed against them.

Thank you,

This statement and the recommendations are sponsored by many, many individuals and women's groups from across Ontario, including:

  • Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape and other Ontario RCC's
  • Metro Action Committee on Violence Against Women
  • WEN-DO WOMEN'S Self Defence
  • City of Toronto Status of Women Committee
  • Women's Legal Education and Action Fund
  • Barbara Schliffer Clinic
  • Assaulted Women's Helpline
  • South Asian Women's Centre
  • YWCA of greater Toronto
  • Toronto Public Health, East York Office
  • Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses
  • Staff of Woodgreen Youth Job Centre
  • City Councillors Olivia Chow, Pam McConnell, Jack Layton
  • Toronto Safe City Committee
  • The University of Toronto Sexual Assault Counselling/Education
  • Office Metro Women Abuse Council
  • White Ribbon Campaign

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: September 3, 1998
Last modified: March 12, 1999

J.D. Jane Doe, Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710
Email: janedoe@walnet.org