B.C. Premier Christy Clark reveals personal story behind support for campus sex assault bill
'I do remember all of the sexual advances from strangers: getting flashed, groped, spied on,' she writes
Jun 09, 2016
B.C. Premier Christy Clark says her own personal experiences with sexual assault led her to support a private member's bill. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
B.C. Premier Christy Clark supported a private member's bill on sexual assault because she went through things "no person should experience" as a young girl, she reveals in a letter released to the media this morning.
"As I sat in my chair on the floor of the legislature, it struck me: I knew all too well why women stay silent. For over 35 years, I've been one of them," Clark says in the letter.
"Earlier this spring, the Greens introduced a bill that would set clear guidelines for sexual assault and misconduct at all public post-secondary institutions in B.C. I happened to be reading it during question period when I was surprised with a question about whether or not we would pass it," the letter says.
"As I got up to answer, I decided that our government would pass the legislation. I knew it was the right thing to do."
Pulled into bushes by stranger
Clark recalls growing up in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby in the days "when there were lots more kids than parents around. The days before chronic over-scheduling, when kids were allowed to waste time and wander."
But with that freedom came some dangerous encounters, the letter says.
"I don't remember everything from my youth, but I do remember all of the sexual advances from strangers: getting flashed, groped, spied on. Things that no person should experience, let alone a young girl or teenager."
In particular Clark recalls one incident when she was attacked by a stranger while walking to work when she was 13 years old.
"It was a sunny day, and I was walking to work at my first job. A man suddenly jumped out, grabbed me and pulled me out of sight into a deep copse of shrubs.
"He didn't say anything. I don't even remember what he looked like. I remember wondering where he had come from, and why I hadn't seen him. And I remember being very scared.
"Luckily, it didn't last long. When he pulled me down the little slope, it must have shifted him off balance. He loosened his grip for a moment, giving me a chance to wriggle away, clamber a few feet forward, and get out of the bush.
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