Sexual Assault

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An Open Letter To The Father Of Stanford Rapist Brock Turner

In the days following a heart-breaking letter from the victim, Brock Turner, promising frat boy, now rapist, has had the public in an uproar over the disgustingly light sentence he received. It was bad enough that a judge was more worried about the life of a rapist than he was about the life of a victim, but Turner's father, Dan, made the world even more sick to their stomachs. In a statement to the court, Mr. Turner said that Brock would, "Never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile," and that a heavy punishment would not match his son's "20 minutes of action."
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Dear Blake, Woody Allen's Personal Life Should Absolutely Matter To You

I don't know what Dylan Farrow's experience has been... I can only imagine how deeply painful it would be to hear other women call him a figure of empowerment after he's spent most of her life shaming and discrediting her, while some of the biggest stars in the world fawn all over him and journalists refuse to ask him tough questions because there's some sort of unspoken moratorium on the topic.
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What Will It Take To End Sexual Assault?

There are many cases of sexual assault and harassment that never get reported, because our society normalizes them. Most women have had these experiences in a bar, in the street, in the gym, in a place of work, by a friend, by a co-worker, by a partner. Unwanted sexual touching and groping is ALWAYS sexual assault. We need to see this, name it and end it.
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Canada Is Fighting To End Sexual Violence Everywhere (But Here)

What the media -- and many Canadians -- fail to understand is that when the abuser is someone you know, sexual violence becomes especially complicated. Complex personal and emotional relationships often make cutting ties difficult, undesirable, even dangerous. Still, Canada's court system relies on an outdated understanding of sexual violence as an experience faced by a "perfect victim" at the hands of a "bad stranger."
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My Years Without Rehtaeh Taught Me That Kids Need To Know Consent

In the past three years I've learned that the most powerful tool to combat violence against women could very well be the minds of young men. I've learned that if we don't fill those minds with examples of virtue, empathy, affection, tolerance, trust, kindness, courage, and bravery, then those minds will end up being filled with ignorance, racism, sexism, hate, and anger. What would have happened to Rehtaeh Parsons if just one of the boys with her that night was informed about consent and his role in preventing sexual violence?
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I Believe Survivors: Reflections On The Ghomeshi Verdict

In Canada, we firmly believe in the presumption of innocence as it is a fundamental human right and indispensable for preventing wrongful convictions and upholding justice. However, it is the time to acknowledge that if our criminal justice system does not adapt itself to the reality of cases like the Ghomeshi trial, its legitimacy will be undermined in the eyes of Canadians. Our justice system gains its legitimacy by being effective and fair; and fairness needs to extend to both survivors and offenders.
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Ghomeshi And The Legacy Of Rape Mythology

No one will ever know whether Ghomeshi would have been convicted had his accusers been more honest and candid. All we can say is that the Crown's case would have been far stronger. Knowing that they will be judged in light of such "rape myths," it may seem sensible -- even obvious -- to a great many complainants that certain pieces of information should be managed so that they conform to the stereotype.
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As A Counsellor, Here's Why I Think We Should Believe Survivors

There is no one common reaction to sexual assaults. Survivors' behaviours following such traumatic events can vary from minimizing the incident and pretending everything is fine (e.g. kissing and cuddling in the park, or writing gushing love letters, as DuCoutere did following the assault); to suppressing the incident altogether, essentially blocking it from your memory; to blaming yourself, somehow, in an attempt to rationalize the trauma. It is not unusual in my caseload to see women, years after the fact, still believing they were somehow responsible for the incident.
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I Understand The Women Who Accused Ghomeshi, I've Been There

This is the first time I have ever spoken publicly about what happened to me. It wasn't the first time I'd had an experience like this, but I pray to God that it was the last. I have been through countless hours of therapy and am now in a very healthy relationship with the greatest human being anyone could have the pleasure of knowing, and for that, I consider myself to be very lucky. Even though I felt better, I stayed silent, but the reason why I kept my silence for so long is not because it didn't happen. I kept my silence because of what happened during the Jian Ghomeshi trial.
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Questioning Survivors Of Gender Violence Is Sadly Still A Thing

The positive effects of having supportive people around when someone decides to share their experiences cannot be underestimated. Not only does it open up the possibility of sharing at all, it encourages survivors to seek counselling and other supports, reducing levels of depression, anxiety and PTSD, and lessening the likelihood of experiencing abuse again. If someone chooses to disclose to you, the best thing you can do is believe them, avoid judgement, put their needs first and understand that everyone reacts differently to trauma. So, why is there still a public debate on whether we can believe women who share their stories of violence?