The pro-life advocate who was assaulted Sunday in Toronto spoke out Thursday about her frightening experience and the growing hostility against pro-lifers everywhere.
Campaign Life Coalition Youth Coordinator Marie-Claire Bissonnette’s video of the assault went viral earlier this week, and police said they are investigating. The video shows a male abortion activist, possibly Toronto hairdresser Jordan Hunt, appearing to roundhouse kick her as she records her conversation with him.
“He kicked me in the shoulder, my phone went flying,” she told the Toronto Sun on Thursday. “I start shouting for someone to call police and before he runs away, he goes up to me and I had a ribbon on my jacket indicating the leader, he tore it off my chest.”
The 27-year-old said she has had pain in her shoulder, but her phone was not damaged.
She described the assault in more detail Thursday during the Two Way Radio Show. Around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Bissonnette said she was leading a Life Chain in Toronto with 76 other pro-lifers when the man showed up. She said they were a peaceful, prayerful group with pro-life signs, none of them graphic.
“And this guy comes and I guess he saw what was happening,” she remembered. “He was really angry about it, and so he takes out permanent markers and he starts scribbling on two of the signs. And so I warn people, shield their signs. And so he got the brilliant idea of scribbling on people’s backs. So he started vandalizing the jackets of people, five people including a 10-year-old girl.”
It was then that she decided to begin filming the man on her phone. The video, less than a minute long, shows them discussing abortion and rape before the man approaches Bissonette quickly. He appears to roundhouse kick her in the shoulder and knock her phone out of her hand. The video ends with the young woman’s voice urging someone to call police.
After the video ends, Bissonnette said the man ripped a pin off her jacket and then ran away.
“I was really shaken up. I have minor, minor shoulder pain. I’m really glad he wasn’t any bigger, or else it would have hurt a lot more,” she said.
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The police who showed up soon afterward apparently were not helpful. Bissonnette said the officers did not get out of their vehicle, so she approached them to report how she had been assaulted. She said she showed the officers the video, and they responded, “What do you want us to do about it?” The young woman said she felt shocked and discouraged and initially decided not to file a police report.
Later, however, after talking with other people about what happened, Bissonnette said she decided that she should file a police report. She said the police officers who she spoke with later were more helpful.
On Wednesday, Noble Studio 101, a hair studio in Toronto, posted a message on Instagram identifying the man in the video as Jordan Hunt, one of its former employees. The business said it fired Hunt after seeing him on the now-viral video.
The Toronto Sun reports police are investigating, and several people submitted tips on social media about the man’s possible identity. Police said they are looking into the tips but have not made an arrest yet.
Bissonnette said she plans to press charges when police arrest the man.
The young pro-life advocate also said this is not the first time she has been a target of violence.
“I’m realizing more and more that the leftist ideology, the crazy ideological warriors they’re motivated by their ideology,” she told the radio show. “They aren’t motivated by the inherent good of free speech or the inherent good of, let’s say, diversity that they claim they’re so fond of, or equality or all this virtue signaling that they do. It’s not because they believe in these virtues. It’s because they want to further their agenda.”
In an earlier interview, Bissonnette indicated that she was not the only person targeted Sunday during the Life Chains. In Mississagua, she said someone walked up to a pro-life advocate from behind and poured paint over his clothes while he was praying.
LifeNews has reported about dozens of threats, vandalism and other violence against pro-life advocates in the past year. These range from threats against prominent pro-life politicians like U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Steve Scalise to a Missouri sidewalk counselor who had a gun pointed at him. In September, a popular conservative blogger was under police protection after she received rape and death threats because of a pro-life tweet.