“Someone got raped. Are you happy about that? That someone was raped there.” – Emily’s story

My sister, her friend and I were out for a couple hours on a girls night. We made a late start to it since they were working so we didn’t get out until about¬†12:30. We had great time in the Market, a couple drinks and decided to head home, after last call. We missed the 95 so we decided to go to McDonald’s on Rideau to spend the rest of the 45 minute wait. The line ups were long as usual, so my sister asked about using the bathroom quickly while we waited. The cashier said it was for customer’s only and she said that’s fine we were ordering anyway.
She headed to the bathroom to see the wait there. “Out of Order For Customer Use Only” was on the door of the women’s washroom. She came back and ordered her food but asked to be able to go to the bathroom. The cashier then said “A woman got raped there last week so we don’t allow entry to the women’s washroom by themselves.” She was blown away by this, but it didn’t make much sense that we couldn’t use it. By this time, it’s been almost 30 minutes and she’s really feeling it, so I step in and say, I will escort her to the washroom, she really needs to use it. Another person, who may or may not have been the supervisor steps in and says “We don’t allow access to the women’s washroom at peak periods because someone got raped there last week.” I say “Ok, but she really needs to go, there is nowhere else for her to go and we have a 30 minute bus ride that we are still waiting for.” He responds with, “We aren’t letting anyone in. Someone got raped. Are you happy about that? That someone was raped there.”
I was blown away that he said that to me. “Of course, I’m not happy about that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use the washroom, not even escorted? It sounds like you just don’t want to handle the crowds.” We argued about it for about 1 minute, where he repeated at least twice “Are you happy someone got raped?” until my sister starts getting upset. Who would we be happy someone got raped? Why would you ask us that?
Even if we were drunk, we don’t deserve to have that thrown in our face or being told what’s best for us. As a survivor, I find it particularly triggering. We leave and try the convenience store next door, the gentleman says “Absolutely not.” We try the Cash Money, who said because they are like a bank they can’t let us in. “Try McDonald’s.” These are the only 24 hour places we could find there.
We head back in to the Market, my sister is absolutely sure she won’t last the bus ride and we still have about a 10 minute wait.
Desperate, she ducks in to an alley and has to go there. Her friend and I stood guard for her. What would have happened had she been alone? If she had to go to the alley by herself, or if she absolutely couldn’t find somewhere to go? We’ve been out a ton of times in the Market and this is the first time this has even happened to us.


2 responses to ““Someone got raped. Are you happy about that? That someone was raped there.” – Emily’s story

  1. The ladies could have used the bathroom at the Rideau centre. It is also possible since there was a rape at McDonald’s that they had to close off the bathroom to keep it clear for the police to investigate. They have to collect evidence somehow.

  2. In Ottawa a public restaurant is not allowed to restrict access to a washroom to customers only. Doesnt mean some don’t do it but they can be fined and loose their business licence…call the city and file a complaint. Consider that even homeless people need to use facilities and if everyone said no they would do it in the street…its discrimination.

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