B.C. premier sheds personal silence to help fight sexual violence

By The Canadian Press
June 9, 2016 - 10:09am

VANCOUVER — British Columbia Premier Christy Clark revealed an intensely personal story today while explaining why her Liberal government is backing a private members bill on sexual assault.

Clark says in an op-ed article published by the Vancouver Sun that for 35 years she has not spoken of being attacked when she was 13 when an unknown man tried to pull her into some bushes but she was able to struggle free.

Clark says she has always wondered if, due to her silence, the man kept going until he caught a girl who could not get away.

Clark says supporting the bill proposed by the Green party's leader is the right thing to do and she is privileged to back the legislation as B.C.'s first elected female premier.

The bill requires post-secondary institutions to implement stand-alone policies to respond to sexual violence.

Clark says even though she didn't have the courage to speak about assault at the age of 13, she does now.

"I remember all of the sexual advances from strangers: getting flashed, groped, spied on," Clark writes.

Since coming forward with her own experience, she says almost every female colleague and friend has shared a similar tale, and none has spoken up.

"I want women who have never said anything about sexual violence in their lives to know they are not alone," says the premier, while urging institutions where women live, work and study to understand the breadth of the problem.

"Let's get to work on addressing it."

The Canadian Press

©2016 The Canadian Press

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