Warning: Some details in the following story may be disturbing
A Winnipeg woman says she was sexually assaulted by a cab driver a week and a half ago and left outside mostly naked and blocks from her home.
Michelle Hanslip said the incident happened early in the morning on Sunday, June 12. Though some of her wounds have healed, she still has cuts and bruises from what happened.
“Instead of just keeping it to myself … this is just a form of healing,” she said. “It’s not fair.”
That Saturday night, she said she went to a family member’s place for a gathering and took a Unicity Taxi home around midnight with her ex-partner.
Hanslip said she was intoxicated. Some details are blurry, but she recalled a moment during the trip when the cab driver stopped, got out and removed her ex from the vehicle before continuing driving.
“I remember that cab driver getting back into his front driver’s seat,” she said. “Where he had taken me, I don’t know.”
She says she woke up Sunday at her mother’s house. Wounded and unclear of what happened, she went to the hospital the following day and called the police.
An investigator told her she was found by police blocks from her home with almost no clothes and no phone or purse, and that she mentioned to officers that morning she had been sexually assaulted, said Hanslip.
“I broke down because it just kind of validated what I had experienced was true,” she said.
She said police also told her she was found around 2 a.m. — about 90 minutes from when she estimates her ex was removed from the vehicle. She says she can’t account for everything that happened in between, but she remembers some things.
“I remember specifically him [the driver] grabbing me, and I was walking alongside him going into some place,” she said. “I don’t know where I was.”
Hanslip said she had location tracking turned on in the Google Maps app on her now-missing phone. She was able to access that data on her computer and it shows an area near her home where she suspects she was taken.
Winnipeg police confirmed to CBC News that a sexual assault report has been filed associated with this case.
The City of Winnipeg also said it received a complaint about the incident and it will be opening an investigation immediately.
“The vehicle for hire office takes complaints seriously, and residents are reminded to contact 311 to report any concerns, as all complaints are investigated,” a city spokesperson said in a statement.
The city said potential disciplinary outcomes under the vehicle for hire bylaws include reprimands, retraining, financial fines, and licence suspensions and cancellations.
Manmohan Gill, Unicity Taxi manager, said the company learned of the incident Thursday and will investigate.
“We are just trying to find out what exactly happened,” he said. “Nothing is proved yet, right, but if he is found guilty then actions will be taken.”
Pending the results of an investigation, the driver will be permitted to continue driving, Gill said.
“These incidents should not happen with anyone,” said Gill. “All the drivers, like, whenever they come for the training into the office, we tell them straightforward, like, these things are strictly not allowed at all.”
Hanslip says she feels let down by Unicity.
“We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe, which is how I do feel now knowing that that guy is still driving,” she said.
She hopes her Google Maps location-tracking data, in-vehicle footage from the taxi and test results from her hospital visit will help the authorities charge the driver.
Hanslip received support from loved ones who reached out after she posted about what happened on social media. Some women shared similar stories, and she hopes sharing hers helps others come forward.
“I know it’s happening,” she said. “I don’t feel alone.”
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