How can you identify a sexual predator? He’s young, lives alone, jobless, impoverished, prior criminal record and a stranger. Actually, this isn’t true. Fathi Rashid helps demonstrate how these stereotypes are misleading.
A 29 year old Toronto man named Fathi Rashid was arrested on October 27th, 2015 on account of 13 charges including:
- Four counts of sexual assault.
- Four counts of sexual interference.
- Four counts of criminal harassment.
- One count of invitation to sexual touching.
Rashid is not single, in fact he is married with two children one is eleven months and the other is four years old. He is also a stay at home dad, not your typical suspect according to stereotypes.
Rashid uses social media to lure girls with the alias’ Malik Gavin, D Sweeti, and Gavin D Sweetie. He asks girls to send him pictures over the internet and then pressures them to meet with him. He also drives around schools in the Rathburn Road and Renforth Drive area during dismissal times to target young girls between the age of 13 and 15. During his last sexual assault his eleven month baby was present in the car. Who would suspect a stay at home father of two?
Rashid isn’t a teenager, he isn’t impoverished and he doesn’t have a prior criminal record. Although Rashid is a stranger to these girls when he meets them, strangers aren’t usually predators. In actuality, a sexual predator is more likely to be someone you know such as a family member or friend because it is easier to build a relationship of trust with the victim. According to SexualAssault.ca Canadian statistics suggest:
- 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim
- half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
- 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
Many victims are scared to bring forth a case due to a lack of legal knowledge. Victims fear that they will be lost in the criminal justice system or it’s too late. Some simple legal facts to keep in mind include:
- There is no statute of limitations on sexual assault cases. This means that there is no law that requires you to file your complaint within a given time period. For instance, the incident may have occurred over a decade ago but you can still take action. Having said that, it is in the best interest of the victim to take action sooner than later as access to evidence; i.e. testimonies of witnesses (if any) is more reliable closer to the event.
- Reporting your case to the police does not require you to take action. Victims will still receive aid to help them cope with the trauma of the assault including: face-to-face counselling, legal and medical services, personal safety planning and public education.
- An unsolved case does not mean a closed case. Cases continue to proceed until there is an arrest, if more adequate evidence is brought to light at a later time an arrest can still be made.
- Officers not laying charges does not suggest that they don’t believe you. In some cases there is simply not enough evidence to lay the charge and hence criminal proceedings aren’t possible.
- A sexual assault case can range from a few months to two years due to the elaborate criminal justice system.
- A sexual assault conviction can result in a multitude of outcomes including: house arrest, probation and jail time. The conviction depends on the facts of the case.
- Victim services do not end upon the completion of the case. Victims are provided access to community support services upon completion of the case.
Source: ‘A Guide For Sexual Assault Survivors’ (Toronto Police Service, Victim Services Toronto ), ‘Dispelling The Myths About Sexual Assault’ (Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres)
It is essential to spread this information to help sexual assault victims learn about the resources available to them. Please take the time to share this piece with your loved ones. Many victims of sexual abuse choose to remain silent about their experiences to avoid stigma and judgment. Sharing this piece will allow them to get the help they need even if they choose not to reach out to others.
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