'I don't remember anything': Alleged victim of Halifax taxi driver speaks out
The woman Halifax police say was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver last weekend is speaking out about the incident. She says she doesn’t remember, but it’s bound to change her life.
CTV News is bound by law to protect the identity of the woman, who says she was out drinking with friends last Friday night when her companions put her in a cab.
“I don't remember anything,” she told CTV News.
That includes the alleged sexual assault, which police informed her of after she awoke in a Halifax hospital.
“I think I was just in shock, just shocked,” she said.
She says she still doesn’t know what happened to her — because she’s not ready to know.
“I asked not to have any information so far, so I don't know, I don't know anything,” she said.
“I guess it's hard to deal with what may or may not have happened, and sometimes not knowing is better than knowing,” she said.
Halifax Regional Police say an officer on patrol was searching for another taxi believed to have been involved in a string of robberies when she came across a taxi parked at the corner of Atlantic and Brussels streets before 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Upon closer examination, the officer observed suspicious activity inside the vehicle that led her to investigate further,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Cst. Pierre Bourdages.
After further investigation, police determined the driver had sexually assaulted his 26-year-old passenger, police said.
The driver, 39-year-old Bassam Aladin Al-Rawi, was arrested on the scene and held in custody until a court appearance Monday morning.
Facing a charge of sexual assault, Al-Rawi was released on the condition that he not operate a taxi at night. He is scheduled to be back in court in July.
Municipal officials say Al-Rawi’s taxi license will also be suspended until further notice.
His alleged victim says “it’s scary, but not unexpected” that he has been released.
She now has an important message for other women who find themselves getting into a cab: buddy up.
“Make sure that you're not taking a taxi alone,” she said.
“As much as we want to feel like we can do what we want late at night, especially as women, there are certain things in this day and age that you just can't do safely anymore,” she said.
For her part, she says she’ll never ride in a taxi again.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell