Last week McGill University student Sarelle Sheldon made the brave decision to get in front of a camera and speak about a rape that had happened to her two years ago.
She recorded an interview with her friend and TV McGill journalist Spencer Macnaughton and spoke about the rape, how the police were slow to investigate her case and why so many people choose to stay quiet about sexual assaults.
"I really feel like silence has that rusty taste of shame. It’s not something I want to hide. I didn’t do something wrong." Sheldon said in the video."I want to speak up because I want other people to speak up about the big things and the little things and because they all matter and they all shouldn’t happen."
Sheldon, who was raped after a drug was slipped into her drink, also called out the police for not taking her case seriously and dragging their feet in the investigation.
"I didn’t feel like they were there to try to find someone. I felt like they were looking for ways that it might’ve been something I did wrong," she said.
“I vividly remember sitting in my bed (the day after) and calling the cops and it was like a joke to them,” she told the Montreal Gazette. The rape also forced Sheldon to drop out of McGill for a semester and Sheldon said she had difficulty speaking about the experience to many of her friends.
"I was lying to half the people that I was still in school," Sheldon explained in the video. "I didn’t want to seem like a victim or a survivor to everybody," she said.
But Sheldon said it was the recent suicide of teenager Rehtaeh Parsons, who was allegedly raped by a group of classmates, that compelled her to speak out. "“I chose to speak up because Rehtaeh Parsons was one death too many,” Sheldon also said to the Gazette. “I want to be able to give a voice to rape survivors.”
Sheldon's moving interview seems to have caught some attention on the internet. Canada.com reported that the video has more than 11,000 views on Tuesday.
Also on HuffPost:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/rehtaeh-parsons-girl-dies-suicide-rape-canada_n_3045033.html" target="_blank">Rehtaeh Parsons</a>, 17, committed suicide last week after she was allegedly raped when she was 15. The boys took a photo of her and then spread the photo to students at her school. Months of bullying followed. Police investigated the case but never pressed charges.
ON THE BLOG: Rehtaeh Parsons Was My Daughter
ON THE BLOG: What All Boys Should Be Told About Rehtaeh Parsons
B.C. teen <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/amanda-todd" target="_blank">Amanda Todd</a> took her life in 2012 after months of online bullying over an explicit photo of her was sent to students at her school. <P> Todd posted a moving YouTube clip chronicling the bullying she faced. Her death sparked greater awareness of bullying in B.C. and across Canada.
ON THE BLOG: Will the Law Listen to Amanda Todd's Story?
ON THE BLOG: The One Thing I Know Bullies Cannot Take Away
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/29/mitchell-wilson-suicide-disabled-bullying_n_987070.html" target="_blank">Mitchell Wilson</a>, 11, was bullied and mugged because of his muscular dystrophy, a condition that made it hard for Mitchell to walk and perform physical activity. The Pickering, Ont. boy continued to be tormented and committed suicide in the fall of 2011, shortly before he was to testify at the trial of the boy who allegedly attacked him. (The boy was acquitted).
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/17/hubley-ottawa-teen-suicide-bullying_n_1016828.html" target="_blank">Jamie Hubley</a>, 15, was the son of an Ottawa city councillor who had been suffering from depression but was also being bullied for being gay. He took his life in 2011. Jamie was a talented figure skater and musician, his father said.
Rick Mercer On Jamie Hubley's Suicide
Comedian Rick Mercer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/26/jamie-hubley-suicide-rick-mercer-rant_n_1032750.html" target="_blank">dedicated one of his 'rants' to Hubley's suicide.</a> "He was gay alright. He was a great big goofy gay kid singing Lady Gaga on the Internet. And as an adult, you look at that and you go, you know what? That kid's going places. But for some reason, some kids, they looked at that and they attacked and now he's gone," he said.
ON THE BLOG: Cyber-Bullying Hits Home
An aspiring musician, 15-year-old Jenna Bowers-Bryanton took her life in January, 2011, after clips of her performances were criticized by bullies at school and online. <P>"They told her she had no talent, that she was ugly, that she may as well go kill herself," <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/03/28/ns-jenna-cyberbullying.html" target="_blank">Marsha Milner, a family friend told the CBC. </a>"The things that were said to her and the way she was bullied pushed her over the brink."
Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Resources Across Canada
Vancouver poet Shane Koyczan and animators from around this world <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/20/to-this-day-shane-koyczan-anti-bullying_n_2727057.html" target="_blank">created this beautiful tribute to those who have been bullied. </a>We've also provided links to a number of anti-bullying resources below: <a href="http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx" target="_blank"><strong>Kid's Help Phone</strong></a> <a href="http://www.stopabully.ca/" target="_blank"><strong>Stop A Bully.Ca</strong></a> <a href="http://bullyingcanada.ca/index.php" target="_blank"><strong>Bullying Canada</strong></a> <a href="http://www.pinkshirtday.ca/" target="_blank"><strong>PinkShirtDay.ca</strong></a>