Warning: Some details in the following story may be disturbing
A Winnipeg woman says she was sexually assaulted by a taxi driver a week and a half ago and left outside nearly naked and blocks from her home.
Michelle Hanslip said the incident happened in the early morning of Sunday, June 12. Although 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. “Is not fair.”
That Saturday night, she said she went to a family member’s house for a meeting and took a Unicity Taxi home around midnight with her ex-partner.
Hanslip said she was drunk. Some details are blurry, but she recalled a moment during the trip when the taxi driver stopped, got out and got her ex out of the vehicle before continuing to drive.
“I remember that taxi driver getting back in the front seat,” she said. “Where he took me, I don’t know.”
She says she woke up Sunday at her mother’s house. Wounded and not knowing what happened, she went to the hospital the next day and called the police.
An investigator told her that she was found by police on the blocks of her home with almost no clothes and no phone or purse, and that she mentioned to officers that morning that she had been sexually assaulted, Hanslip said.
“I fell apart because that kind of validated what I experienced was true,” she said.
She said police also said she was found around 2am – about 90 minutes after estimating her ex was removed from the vehicle. She says she can’t explain everything that happened in between, but she does remember a few things.
“I specifically remember him [the driver] grabbing me, and I was walking beside him going somewhere,” she said. “I don’t know where I was.”
Hanslip said he had location tracking enabled in the Google Maps app on his missing phone. She was able to access this 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 had received a complaint about the incident and will open an investigation immediately.
“The rental car office takes complaints seriously, and residents are reminded to contact 311 with any concerns as all complaints are investigated,” a city spokesperson said in a statement.
The city said potential disciplinary outcomes under the rental vehicle statute include reprimands, retraining, financial fines, and license suspensions and cancellations.
Manmohan Gill, manager of Unicity Taxi, said the company learned of the incident on Thursday and would investigate.
“We’re just trying to find out what exactly happened,” he said. “Nothing’s proven yet, sure, but if he’s found guilty, action will be taken.”
Pending the results of an investigation, the driver will be able to continue driving, Gill said.
“These incidents shouldn’t happen to anyone,” Gill said. “All the drivers, like, whenever they come in for training at the office, we tell them directly, like, these things are strictly prohibited.”
Hanslip says she feels let down by Unicity.
“We shouldn’t feel insecure, which is how I feel now knowing that guy is still driving,” she said.
She hopes her Google Maps location tracking data, images of the taxi in the vehicle and test results from her hospital visit will help authorities charge the driver.
Hanslip received support from loved ones who reached out after she posted about what happened on social media. Some women have shared similar stories, and she hopes sharing hers will help others come forward.
“I know it’s happening,” she said. “I don’t feel alone.”