Sexual Assault

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5 Things I've Learned From Being A Survivor Of Rape

As I suspect is the case with many other people across the country, I am closely watching the Jian Ghomeshi trial. There were times yesterday when I found myself holding my breath, wishing that this very public trial might be a pivotal moment in our society -- one in which we can finally begin to openly and honestly address the prevalence of sexual violence in our communities.
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The Jian Ghomeshi Trial: Understanding The Burden Of Proof

The criminal trial is concerned with determining whether a trier of fact (either a judge or jury) can be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of an accused's guilt as charged. The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is intended to avoid wrongful convictions and is related to the fundamental tenet of the criminal justice system: the presumption of innocence. The defence is required to do nothing. It is not required to call any evidence whatsoever. The burden remains on the Crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, a prudent defence lawyer would do all that was within his/her power raise a reasonable doubt.
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Don't Rape Anyone And Be Home By Nine

I look at my boy and see a sweet... empathetic kid and sometimes think to myself, "You're going overboard. He's only 11. Look at him, he would never participate, stand by or condone sexual aggression." And then I think of all the parents who probably thought the same... and I push on with the conversation.
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3 Important Questions About The Bill Cosby Charges

It finally happened. After months of accusations from over 50 women with horrific tales of sexual assault, Bill Cosby's luck has run out. On December 30th, 2015, Cosby stood before a judge, faced charges of indecent assault, and paid more money in bail than most people see in their lifetimes. If convicted, Cosby could face a mere $25,000 fine and ten years in prison. These are charges from only ONE of the women, Andrea Constand, who says she became friends with Cosby when she worked at Temple University.
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Bill Cosby's Charges Show Us How The Legal System Fails Women

I've been writing about the politics of sexual assault for a while now, and it seems apparent that for a woman who's been sexually assaulted, the decision to go to the police and to press charges is fraught with complications. She not only has to consider the discomfort of her assault becoming public knowledge, but she must face the daunting possibility that her reputation will be dragged through the mud by the defendant's attorney; that the DA will choose, as Mr. Coster did, not to prosecute; or that the judge will find for the defendant.
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The Path To Freedom Starts With Recognizing We Are Not Free

The park is almost dark. As I watch my shadow, I notice my hips swaying back and forth as I walk. I wonder if my walk is provocative. I am alone on the path. I wish there was someone else around, then I think: "But what if it's a guy? Or two guys?" These are women's thoughts. These thoughts spring from the subconscious knowledge that we are never safe. At any moment, we might be targeted, perhaps hunted like an animal. We are always potential prey. In our attempts to stay safe, we behave. We speak politely and avoid eye contact. We twist our lives and stay small. In the process, we can become completely detached from who we might have been.
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No Act Of Sexual Violence Should Be Ignored

The officer was quick to side with my attacker, making me feel that because I wasn't actually raped, I was making "more" out of this attack. He made me feel like I should just brush it off as "some drunk guy", and that it wasn't a big deal that this man forcefully shoved his hand between my thighs.
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Why R.A. Dickey Is More Than Just a Baseball Hero

I'm not embarrassed to say that R.A. Dickey made me cry. About half way through our hour-long conversation, after talking about his favourite books and writers, and the difficult task of writing a memoir, I raised the fact that I was also sexual assault survivor-my disclosure a way of relaying to him that I understood the courage necessary in telling his story. He then thoughtfully interrupted me, genuinely expressing how sorry he was for what had happened in my past. When things get especially hard, I now hear his voice in my head: "I'm so sorry that happened to you, Stacey May."
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This Is What It Was Like to Be Tortured at Campo de Mayo

On this day, the International Day of the Disappeared, I want to share my story. I was taken to the infamous Campo de Mayo. I knew then this meant torture and death. Compared to some, my time at Campo de Mayo was relatively short, four weeks -- that felt like four centuries. The next day the torture began and with it the test of my resilience. Again, memories are a maelstrom of images, sounds and smells: interrogation sessions, my head submerged in water or sewage, rats running amongst exhausted and tortured bodies, injections of "truth" serum, nights of rape.
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I Was Raped - and We Need to Talk About it

Two years before I entered high school, I was the victim of a violent rape that took place a mere few kilometres from the football locker room I was now standing in. From the moment of that assault, I chose to disappear, fractured into different people -- the person I was afraid to let you see, the person I wanted you to see, and the young man who struggled with that internal turmoil every day for the next 30 years. I've heard that living as a survivor of rape is like living with a secret tumor. It metastasizes in the dark hollows of shame, and it continues to destabilize and corrupt every bond and every relationship in a survivor's life.