Horrified by sexual assault allegations arising online about fellow Greater Victoria real estate agents, one agent started a GoFundMe to support survivors.
Dean Bayles explained that agents in the region have a Facebook page where they post upcoming listings and discuss the market. Last week, after four agents were accused of sexual assault, Realtor Tricia Keller posted to the group asking if anyone was going to address the elephant in the room.
Bayles said a flurry of discussion followed, but nothing was actually being done. So, after discussing it with Keller, he launched a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $250,000 for the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre.
“I’m a fairly sensitive guy and I didn’t like what I was seeing,” Bayles said. “I don’t want my daughters growing up in a world with this kind of stuff happening.”
Bayles noted that he’s never seen anything that would suggest sexual assault and harassment are a common occurrence within the real estate community, but that showing support for survivors is what is important now.
“It’s time that we let these women speak,” he said.
The allegations have been emerging from a social media page intended to give people a space to anonymously report sexualized and domestic violence. It is the same page where allegations emerged earlier this year against employees of Chuck’s Burger Bar and E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar, who have since been fired.
None of the allegations have been tested in court.
Anyone who wishes to report an incident or has information about an incident can call the VicPD report desk at 250-995-7654 ext. 1.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers counselling, victim services and a sexual assault response team. The centre can be reached 24/7 at 250-383-3232.
The GoFundMe, Victoria Real Estate Professionals, can be found at gofundme.com.
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