Sexual Assault Survivor's Superior Court of Justice Fund

Sexual Assault Survivor's Superior Court of Justice Fund

From Ariana Markle

I filed a landmark civil lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as a plaintiff. I am raising funds to retain expert witnesses as part of the litigation process, who will help make impactful recommendations.

Support this campaign

Subscribe to follow campaign updates!

More Info

I am a student in the department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering at York University. On October 24th, 2015 I was sexually assaulted and suffered rape trauma syndrome following the event. I called up emergency medical services directly after the sexual assault and was transported to the hospital to undergo an Ontario Sexual Assault Evidence Kit collection process. Despite the medical evidence and diagnosis of rape I received, the assailant was released without charges or any safety provisions put in place for the purpose of protection. Considering this person had threatened my life and even continued to harass me following the sexual assault, stalking and attending my place of residence uninvited to bash on my windows and doors demanding entry, I don't take this lightly. As a mass shooting homicide survivor, this is alarming to say the least.

Furthermore, since there was no female investigator available when I came back from the hospital where I underwent a series of medical tests to confirm the sexual assault diagnosis, I declined to complete an impact statement in its totality. I was pressed on by the male investigators to give additional evidence until I broke down crying. Police contacted me multiple times over several months to complete a testimony, however I repeatedly told them I did not want to go through a court ordeal, I just wanted a restraining order to prevent further violence. Despite this verbal request for some form of protection, in a politically-motivated and misogynistic response to my earnest appeal to not undergo further re-traumatization through a trial process, police decided to default to charging me since the man that was found fleeing my residence had tried to claim the violent rape was consensual.

Six months after the event they had not been able to get me to come in to complete a victim impact statement with a female investigator; as such, they defaulted to the pro-rape narrative of the statement they had from the individual that sexually assaulted me who complained that there was a superficial scratch on his arm. I too had scratches on my arm and these were sustained while I attempted to resist and escape the sexual assault. Despite my desire to avoid a drawn out court ordeal altogether by simply requesting safety provisions be instituted by police, I was forced to go through an agonizing court process against my will. I was effectively punished for being sexually assaulted and requesting emergency medical care in the aftermath. As a result of intermittent medical incapacity and because of the ongoing trauma and post-traumatic stress arising from the sexual assault, I missed some court dates in those proceedings.

The court proceedings were ultimately withdrawn unconditionally due to the medical evidence and I was told that the rape case against the man could be re-opened once I was willing to provide additional testimony, however my frequent absence from court while I was initially unrepresented caused the police to "hunt" me down. On one such occasion, I was arrested by police and forced to attend court. During this arrest, I was brutalized by police and sustained significant injuries, including a basal skull fracture. I was slammed to the ground, asphyxiated, my head was smashed into a wall multiple times, and I was powerfully punched in the face. Even after I lost consciousness from the final blow to my head, I was denied medical attention despite its urgency. I was later informed by a neurosurgeon that I could have died either directly after the assaults or within the month following.

This matter is now before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as a breach of the the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982(UK), 1982 c 11). Specifically, we have made a declaration that my rights and freedoms guaranteed by s. 7, 8, 10(b), 12 and 15 have been breached. Furthermore, we make the ground-breaking assertion that defendants in this case, University of Toronto Campus Police and others "breached Ms. Markle's right to equality under s.15 of the Charter. Ms. Markle is a sexual assault survivor living with trauma as a result of the sexual violence. That condition is analogous to a ‘disability’ under s.15 of the Charter."

We thus make the landmark categorization of rape trauma syndrome as a form of disability, which would have far-reaching implications for women across Canada and would radically alter and transform the discourse on Unfounded sexual assault cases across the provinces. We are seeking to raise $5,000 to retain expert witnesses that can help illuminate the culture of sexual violence in the police force that allowed and enabled this type of brass. Furthermore, these expert witnesses will make recommendations to prevent lethal force from ever being used against a vulnerable complainant or a similarly situated person at 52 Division or on U of T campus and the surrounding vicinity ever again.

I would like to conclude with some statements from Doe v. Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) Commissioners of Police: "Certainly those persons engaged in the various fields of endeavour that would cause them to come into contact with survivors of sexual assault would have been aware of the Rape Trauma Syndrome and Rape Mythology from as early as the mid- 1970s. All of the investigative police personnel called to give evidence in this proceeding were aware of these matters in 1986 and earlier. Every police officer who testified in this proceeding repeated the mantra that sexual assault was a very serious crime second only to homicide"

You can read more about my story, which went viral in 2016 here.

There is also a video interview from the York University student newspaper The Excalibur here.

The first fundraiser I did has even more details here. The first fundraiser was successful and we were able to garner support from the Canadian Federation of Students as well as several other unions. All raised money for this first round of fundraising was used to retain the award-winning advocate Vilko Zbogar.

This second fundraiser will assist in securing expert witnesses as we prepare to enter Discovery. They will help to make suitable recommendations to ensure transgressions like this are averted and never occur again in the future. Thank you kindly for reading, donating and supporting this campaign!

Campaign Wall

Join the Conversation

Sign in with your Facebook account or

Help Ariana raise $5,000 by making a donation.