"I want people to remember that this is not entertainment television.''
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.
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.
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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We need to build honest conversations about the attitudes and social norms that all too often are used to rationalize violence. Because the best chance of ending violence against women starts with changing the way we think about it.
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Legal experts caution that convictions in cases of sexual assaults are not easy to secure.
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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.
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.
"I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped,'' Cosby testified.
Andrea Constand was the first woman to come forward with allegations against Cosby.
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Marlene Bird may finally be getting used to having no legs. It happened a few weeks ago. She awoke, in the home she shares with partner Patrick Lavallee, then fell out of bed. Instead of lashing out,...
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"I don't think any of us were prepared for what we heard."
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When we talk about something that not everyone wants to hear, there is going to be backlash as much as there will be support. There are no guarantees that the internet is a safe place to talk about anything, let alone rape. But that does not mean that we should stop talking.
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The women Mordvinov allegedly assaulted made multiple complaints at the departmental level, at UBC's Equity Inclusion Office, to Associate Vice-President of Equity and Inclusion Sara-Jane Finlay, the UBC ombudsperson and Student Conduct and Safety Services. There were likely more. Every office failed these women.
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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Sixteen Canadian post-secondary schools have received no reports of sexual assault for six years in row, a statistic that critics say should concern administrators as it is likely not representative o...
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I want you to see the 'real' me -- a man who has been running his entire life, a man who has travelled so far, only to come back to himself. My name is Jean-Paul, and I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I am so much more than that. I am a husband. I am a father. I am a writer. I am an elite athlete. I am an advocate for survivors all around the world.
With the current trial of fired Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, there is a marked difference in how this particular case of police brutality has been regarded, leading some to ask, "Does the world care about the victim when the victim is a black woman?"
"We're still in the talking stage" when it comes to sexual assault, says one of the hashtag's co-creators.
What would I like to see the #BeenRapedNeverReported campaign become? Before any meaningful change can occur, we need to work towards pulling back the layers of stigma. If we are unable to talk openly, how can we expect survivors of sexual violence to come forward with their own experiences with trauma?
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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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Everyone knows someone who has tried online dating. Was it fabulous for them? Perhaps from the outside looking in. From inside, it can be rather dingy and depressing. Speaking personally, there may be other 65+ women who are having a blast. Not me.
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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Here we are in 2015, and women who go public to accuse men of sexual assault end up being doubly attacked. First, they must deal with the physical and emotional trauma related to their experiences of assault, and second, they must contend with the negative reaction of the public and the ensuing damage to their reputations.
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The court is taking place in private.
That's four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking.
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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The parents of a girl who reported being inappropriately touched by a man while flying alone from New York to Iowa have sued the man and American Airlines, saying the airline faile...
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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We didn't want to believe it. Not him. Politicians. Athletes. But not Dr. Huxtable. Please. Bill Cosby meant a lot to so many of us, a big part of why we were so slow to pass judgement. For those growing up in the 1960s and 1970s he was a clean cut comedian doing things the right way.
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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.
A single image is starting an incredibly important conversation.