Ontario Police Women Fight Back

Guelph, ON (CNW) Police women in Ontario are taking their frustration to the skies. An aerial banner will be flown across the GTA at 5pm Monday and again on Wednesday (weather permitting), reading “Stop Police Sexual Violence Against Women #Tarnishedbadge #MeToo.”

This message is in response to reported sexual assault, harassment, and reprisals perpetrated by members of several Ontario Police Services.

Constable Effy Zarabi, of Toronto Police “We are fighting for women everywhere, and there’s nothing we won’t do to fight against sexual violence. We want them to see we’re not intimidated by retaliation and reprisals anymore, and we will not remain silent.” Zarabi made her first report of sexual harassment to Toronto Police in 2014, and her matters remain ongoing.

The #Tarnishedbadge is a twitter campaign, named after an episode of CTV’s W5 which featured several female officers from across Canada.

Constable Heather McWilliam, recently won a 6 year-long sexual assault and harassment case before The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against Toronto Police Service. Her plight for equality began in 2012.  “The acts, and subsequent cover-ups of sexual violence in policing has been occurring for decades. We’re bringing awareness to sexual violence in police culture.”

The 2-hour flight will trace the 400 series highways on Monday, and will circulate the downtown Toronto area for another 2 hours on Tuesday.

“They keep trying to silence us, but we’re just going to get louder.” says Constable Angie Rivers, of Waterloo Regional Police. “As a victim of sexual misconduct and reprisals, especially at the hands of a police institution, I will not be silenced.” Rivers was a plaintiff in a proposed class action against Waterloo, which went up to the Supreme Court of Canada. It was dismissed, due to jurisdictional issues.

Constable Amy Matthijsse, of Cobourg Police Service, found herself suspended and charged with 19 counts of misconduct under the Police Services Act, after reporting sexual harassment to her employer. “We’re doing this, so women don’t have to experience what we did, including women in the community.” Matthijsse’s PSA charges were later dropped.

“If we don’t talk about this, nothing will change, and we will continue to lose our careers and health.” Zarabi says. “Women and girls in the community will not be safe until sexual assault and harassment within policing is addressed.”

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