Queer community member attacked at York University

TORONTO, April 8 /CNW/ - On the night of Tuesday, April 5 a woman was viciously assaulted at York University.  Valerie Bustros was beaten by three males when she attempted to use the female bathroom facilities at York University's Ab pub. The attackers questioned her gender. The University released a brief statement recognizing the assault.

Valerie Bustros was walking to the women's washroom when a man approached her. He said that she was using the wrong washroom. She explained that she is a woman, and a lesbian. On her way out of the washroom, the man questioned her gender. The incident escalated as the man pushed Valerie. He threatened her and subsequently proceeded to punch and kick her and was aided by two of his friends.

York University Security was alerted and arrived on the scene thereafter, after the assailants had left. They stayed with Valerie for a short period, but left to attend to a fire alarm. Toronto Police were called and took Valerie's statement. Toronto Police have security tapes from the incident.

This incident follows a series of several brutal cases of sexual assault on women students at York University's Keele campus. The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) released a series of recommendations last fall after students successfully pressured the administration to conduct a safety audit on campus.  "Female students do not feel safe on campus," said Valerie. "The University has been ignoring violence against women and against the queer community for too long."

"York must issue a statement condemning the incident and comply with the Toronto Police to find the assailants and sanction them. The students want to see measures in place to prevent such attacks and this includes a timeline for implementation of the METRAC recommendations" said Alastair Woods, External Coordinator for the Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gays Allies at York (TBLGAY).

"At York, there is no sense of safety or security", reinstated Bustros.

A public community meeting will be held in the TBLGAY space to address the issues of homophobic violence on Friday, April 8 at 6:30pm. A statement  has been released by TBLGAY, York Federation of Students, Glendon College Student Union and York Positive Space condemning this act of violence and can be read at www.yfs.ca.

SOURCE York Federation of Students

For further information:

Valerie Bustros, (647) 996-2847 (cell)

Alastair Woods, TBLGAY External Coordinator : (647) 378-8942 (cell)

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