Pro-life demonstrators held an annual "Life Chain" event across Canada on Sept. 30, but one of the peaceful protesters ended up facing violence.
Marie-Claire Bissonnette spoke to a man who she said had been defacing the participants’ signs and clothes, including scribbling on the back of a 10-year-old girl, and after she talked for a few seconds, the man roundhouse kicked her in the shoulder. He claimed to be targeting the phone she was using to record him and he soon fled the scene, according to an article she wrote for LifeSiteNews, a pro-life publication.
Her phone survived the encounter and so she has shared the video online. In it, she confronts him about destroying private property by vandalizing the protesters’ signs and clothes, which he shrugs off before arguing that abortion should be legal to help rape victims. Then, he kicks her.
"[The man] forcefully roundhouse-kicked me in the shoulder, which sent my phone flying and I yelled for someone to call the police. In defence of his violence he claimed he’d meant to kick my phone, and then, as a fellow Life Chain participant dialed 9-1-1, he yanked off the ribbon I’d been wearing on my chest and ran away, heading east," Bissonnette wrote.
She said the Canadian police were initially not helpful.
"I approached them and told them I was just assaulted and explained the situation," she wrote. "I showed them the video. They replied, ‘What do you want us to do about it?’"
She said their indifference and comment that it wasn't a "serious case of assault" kept her from filing a complaint. She had better luck later with other officers, and the police are now looking for the attacker.
"Two hours later, I started to feel pain in my shoulder where I’d been kicked and I contacted the police and filed a report with a different set of officers who were significantly more helpful, even offering a trauma support group after they visited my house and saw me still shaking with eyes red from crying. The police are still looking for my attacker and he has yet to be identified," she wrote.
Bissonette pointed out that violence directed at pro-lifers is commonplace, and this is not the first time she’s been the victim:
I’ve participated in many public pro-life activities throughout my life. This isn’t the first time I’ve been attacked. Rocks have been thrown at me. I’ve been spat upon multiple times and pushed. Men have aggressively asked how I would like it if they raped me and forced me to have an abortion. There is a media-driven narrative that pro-life activists are violent and a danger to women. This is a bald-faced lie. The only violence or aggression I’ve witnessed in my many years in the pro-life movement comes entirely from pro-abortion activists, and yet it’s rarely, if ever, reported.
Bissonnette concluded the article by expressing her sympathy for sexual assault victims and her desire to debate the abortion issue in good faith.
"It is the mark of a truly liberal society that two people with diametrically opposed views on the most important of issues concerning life, death and fundamental rights can peacefully stand beside one another expressing their respective opinions in public," she wrote.