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Volunteers and frontline workers from Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter gathered outside the New Westminster police station Wednesday morning to protest what they are calling the police's failure to protect women from violence. Betham said her organization was upset with the way police everywhere have been dealing with cases of rape, abuse and violence against women.
Trisha Baptie, former prostitute and cofounder of EVE - formerly Exploited Voices now Educating, was at the protest sharing her story and experiences with police. While she admitted that police response to violence against women, and prostitutes in particular, has improved, there's still a ways to go.
We can only make assumptions, which is unfair to everyone involved," she said. Baptie also added that in many cases women working in the sex trade are expected to protect themselves. We're tired of women being told they live a high-risk lifestyle and being abandoned," she added.
According to Rape Relief, they receive numerous calls from women in New West who don't even bother reporting assaults and abuse to police. This information is troubling, Kerner said, and she hopes a meeting with representatives from New Westminster's police force will shine a light on how many cases of violence against women lead to charges and convictions.
While New Westminster police declined to formally address protesters and media outside the station, Staff Sgt. Paul Hyland told The Record after the demonstration that the department was standing by the statements it made late last week.