Stranger gives Halifax woman disturbing message on street
Last Sunday night, Laura Valadka was walking outside her downtown apartment when she says a man stopped her.
“Some man tapped me on the shoulder, handed me a piece of paper and said 'this is for you'. I opened it and it said some truly vile things in there,” Laura Valadka said.
The message said “rape gangs - coming to a neighbourhood near you.”
Fearing for her safety, Valadka hurried into her apartment and called police.
Officers say theincident is concerning, but there's not enough information yet.
“Distributing information itself isn't a crime, depending on the information, including the materials and the intention of it,” said Cst. John MacLeod.“However, given the earliness of the investigation, we will need to speak with this individual to make any further determination.”
Police are looking at nearby security camera footage to see if they can identify the man.
But the message also directed Valadka to a website.
Gatestone Institute is a right-wing site that publishes mainstream news stories and what some considerextreme articles. Some of those articles are critical of immigration, including from Muslim-majority countries.
And if you search “rape gangs” on the site, as the message suggested, you get articles like this one from the U.K.
Valadka says at first, she was scared.
But now, she's upset the message seems to be placing blame for rape on immigrants.
“Now, I'm just angry that someone would even think to spread that kind of hate message around and scare people like that,” Valadka said.
CTV News did reach out to several groups who work with newcomers, including Halifax Partnership, and, while no one was available to comment on our story, Halifax Partnership did confirm that the city welcomed almost 4,500 immigrants last year.
The majority of people are coming from the Phillipines, China, Syria, India, the U.K., and the United States.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.