Earlier this month, social media was abuzz with the alleged report that a young woman visiting from Mexico was violently assaulted near the Princeton Pub on Powell.
Rumours started flying, a GoFundMe was set up to help the alleged victim, and many people were left feeling scared and uncertain thanks to a lack of concrete facts.
Our own detailed piece explored the unsettling feeling that the situation left residents with, as well as the potential dangers of sharing unverified information.
Today, the Vancouver Police Department announced it has closed its investigation—with the conclusion that no assault of any kind was committed.
“After more than three weeks of reviewing security video, interviewing witnesses, and collecting medical information, we have confirmed that this was a case of misadventure—not a violent crime,” says Sergeant Steve Addison in a statement. “There was never a risk of harm to the public as a result of this incident, and the fear was spread wide by people who unknowingly shared information that was not accurate.”
The VPD is quick to mention that the woman involved was not responsible for the misinformation, which spread like wildfire among local social media users.
Here’s what really happened, according to the VPD release:
“Police now know the injured woman was out with friends in the early hours of November 4, when she left the pub around closing time. The woman flagged down a passerby on an electric scooter and hitched a ride on the front, but quickly fell off and struck her face on the pavement. The injured woman left the area, contacted a friend for help, and was taken to hospital for medical treatment. Police believe injuries sustained during her fall from the scooter may have contributed to some memory loss or confusion.”
As for the GoFundMe, which raised over $15,000 to help Amor pay for her medical bills, an update from the orgaizer on November 22 outlines that the fundraising platform was holding the money until proof of assault could be given. Where that money goes now remains up in the air.
Regardless of what happened to Amor, the threat of assault is a scary reality for many people—especially marginalized women—living in Vancouver. All cases of alleged assault, the VPD stresses, are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
“We believe victims, we take all allegations of sexual assault seriously,” says Addison, “and we encourage anyone who believes they have been the victim of a crime to come forward.
At the same time, this whole situation is a stark reminder that clicking a “share” button on social media shouldn’t be taken lightly. Misinformation has its own risks.