Sisterhood's gonna get ya....

The situation:
In August, 2009, four women were sexually assaulted by a man named Norman Walters in the Millwoods area of Edmonton, all in the span of about a week. In some cases a weapon was used and a couple of the women were hospitalized. Walters developed a relationship with each of these women over the course of several days via a social networking site in order to build trust.

The police attempted to arrest Walters on Monday August 3, but he escaped on foot. He then assaulted the fourth woman during the morning of Tuesday August 4, before being arrested later that day. The police did not issue a warning, but stated that they would have done so on Tuesday night if Walters had not been caught.  

Our response:
We can't comment on the police response specifically because we are not aware of the intimate details of the situation, but we do have some thoughts we'd like to share. What we can say with a unified voice is that there needs to be a space for critique in the media, and we are uncomfortable with the idea that someone who provides an alternative opinion would be asked for an apology. An ongoing message we'd like to hear from the police and media is that "if this has happened to you, it's not your fault and here's where you can go for support".  

From all this, we also decided that what we really want is to hear from the real experts - the community - about what you want and need from the police and from the rest of your community members when a sexual assault does occur. Have a look at the page marked "Question Campaign" for more information.

Man Met Sexual Assault Victims Online, Police Allege
August 4, 2009. CBC News.

Police Failed to Warn Women About Sex Assaults: Professor

August 5, 2009. CBC News.

Police Release Identity of Man Accused of Sexual Assaults
August 5, 2009. CTV Edmonton.