A 20-year-old Victoria woman was the victim of a disturbing sexual assault Friday night.
Saanich police say the woman was walking with friends from one party to another near the corner of Cedar Hill and Cedar Hill Cross roads between 10 and 10:30 p.m. She became separated from her friends and was approached by a man. He forced her into a vehicle with three other men inside where she was sexually assaulted for hours.
“It looks like she was driven around, they maybe parked in a couple different places, and she was assaulted multiple times – not just sexually,” Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.
The woman was dropped off near the Save-On Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria early Saturday morning.
The woman suffered minor physical injuries and was deeply traumatized by the incident, Jantzen said. The Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre is providing support.
“We’re looking for witnesses to this incident,” Jantzen said. “It’s a very specific time frame (between 10 and 10:30 p.m.) on Cedar Hill Cross. It likely would’ve looked like a boyfriend and girlfriend having a dispute on the road, with a car waiting nearby.”
Police interviewed the woman Sunday morning and say her recollection of the entirety of the incident isn’t clear.
“This is, often times, an issue in situations like this, when someone’s out partying. We’re often dealing with victims who are under the influence of some sort, and that puts us at a disadvantage,” Jantzen said. He added, though, that tests haven’t yet determined whether the victim had consumed any drugs or alcohol.
Stephanie Capyk, direct client services manager with the Women’s Sexual Assault Centre, said reporting the incident to police is an admirable first step in the victim’s recovery.
“Perpetrators rely on the social norm that says women somehow invite sexualized violence. There are all kinds of messages, blunt and subtle, that say the integrity of (women’s) sexual being is not their own, they, in some way, contributed to it,” she said. “The last thing she wants is more judgment or criticism. It’s not about us changing how people know about the response, it’s about society changing the messages that women receive, and the message that perps are receiving about their actions.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call Saanich police at 250-475-4321.
Editor’s note– This article has been edited online:
A quote from Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen was printed out of context and was misconstrued by readers.
“Perpetrators of crimes look for opportunities to victimize. That is just the sad reality,” Jantzen clarified. “The cautions we put out are meant to mitigate your risk for exposing yourself – regardless of gender – to any type of crime.”