Cornwall has been an historic area of sexual assault and abuse. Recently a case of rape found Anibal Rivera of Valleyfield Quebec guilty of fraud and sexual assault of a woman living in Cornwall for not using a condom as had been agreed to in writing, and lying to the police.
Sexual Assault is a difficult case to prosecute because in many instances it becomes a “he said, she said” situation.
As well, police in our region have a woeful record of pursuing cases of alleged rape, and the process is brutal on the actual victim, from the initiating of the case through the court proceedings.
CFN is now able to interview the victim of Rivera. Her identity is still protected.
Why did you decide to issue a complaint against Mr. Rivera?
Because what he did was wrong. I didn’t want it to happen to any other woman.
When he arrived at your home in Cornwall you were expecting to have sex with Mr. Rivera, but with protection, a condom. It had been something you clearly communicated via text. Did he ever protest prior about having to use a condemn?
No, he had agreed to it. Only during sex did he say he was clean and didn’t want to wear one.
This the question a lot of people have posted on other media. Why at that point didn’t you call the police or ask him to leave, or simply stop?
He had already our agreed terms and I was afraid of what he might do. I figured if I was meek then he wouldn’t hurt me. I was afraid that he might do something worse.
How do you feel when people hear that answer and respond that you should’ve fought him or refused him?
I was afraid of more ramifications. I was afraid he might hit me or make it worse.
Were you bullied or assaulted as a kid or growing up to come to that position?
Yes, I was bullied through school, and I was assaulted.
This story has had huge media coverage across Canada. Was the reporting accurate and is there anything you want to correct?
Yes. I would like to correct that I never agreed to him ejaculating without a condom at any point. All this media coverage essentially has me reliving this all over again.
What was the hardest thing about stepping forward and reporting this crime?
Telling my intimate details to the court. It’s difficult to go over the whole story again and again.
Which you had to do with the police investigators, and the crown, as well as face the defense lawyer (Don Johnson) at a preliminary hearing and then the trial.
Did it feel like you yourself were on trial?
Very much so. I had to relive the whole experience multiple times and had to defend my actions.
Did the defense team say things that were hurtful or not true during the hearing to you?
Yes they did, suggesting things of me which were not true, such as my intent or reasons for stepping forward.
Did you learn anything from the experience?
To be with assertive to stop the action and defend myself before I would get hurt.
Has this impacted your relationships with other people and men in particular, or changed how you feel about men?
I don’t trust them as much. I don’t believe men in their word as much as he went back on his.
What would you truly like to say to Mr. Rivera. or others like him (or her) now that this is all over?
No means no. Hope you learned your lesson. I don’t have angry words for him. We need to teach people about consent, and they need to stick to their word and listen to their partners. I am still healing from the experience with the help of my amazing counselor.
What do you have to say to other women, or men, that are, or have been sexually assaulted?
As difficult as the process is to go through trial, it is worth it in the end to keep rapists and abusers off the streets. The only way to help prevent these horrible things is to get them on the record. I still wonder how many other women Anibal Rivera may have done this to before he did it me?
CFN wishes to thank the victim for stepping forward and sharing some of her experience with our viewers for what still must be a troubling period of her life. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our hotline at 855 444 1133.