In Our Own Words: Towards a Survivor-Informed Response to Sexual Harm
As a result of both the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the ongoing violence inflicted upon Black individuals and communities by law enforcement in Canada and the United States, the prospect of abolishing or defunding law enforcement has entered public discourse as a tangible policy option. One common comment that upholds the legitimacy of law enforcement amidst the demand they be abolished is the question of interpersonal harm: without the police, who or what will protect survivors of harm? Given that only 3 in 1000 instances of sexual harm result in a conviction in Canada, law enforcement is actually a policy response to sexual harm that is underutilized and limited in its capacity to provide survivors with access to due process, justice, safety and healing following sexual harm. This qualitative inquiry seeks to amplify the perspectives of survivors themselves regarding their perceptions of and experiences with law enforcement, as well as what policy responses would have constituted adequate support following their experience(s) of sexual harm.