Ontario police women send a message about sexual violence

Women who serve in police services across Ontario are sending a message about sexual violence against women by flying a banner above the GTA on Wednesday after Monday’s flight was cancelled. 

An aerial banner will be flown above the GTA for a two-hour flight down the 400 series highways on Wednesday at 5 pm.

“Stop Police Violence Against Women #TarnishedBadge #MeToo” will be the message on the banner intended to start a conversation about the reported sexual assault, harassment, and reprisals perpetuated by members of several Ontario police services.

 “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,” said Constable Effy Zarabi of Toronto Police in a media release. 

Zarabi made her first report of sexual harassment to Toronto Police in 2014 and her matters remain ongoing. 

Constable Heather McWilliam recently won her six year-long sexual assault and harassment case before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against Toronto Police Service. 

“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,” said McWilliam.

The movement is being led by many different female police officers around the province most prominently Constable Angie Rivers of Waterloo Region Police who lost a lawsuit against the police service in 2018.

Rivers was one plaintiff who accused Waterloo Region Police of gender-based bullying, violence, and sexual misconduct. 

“They keep trying to silence us, but we’re just going to get louder,” said Rivers.

 “As a victim of sexual misconduct and reprisals, especially at the hands of a police institution, I will not be silenced.”

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

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