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Comparing the Treatment of Women in Contemporary Rape Trials to that of Women in Ancient Witch Trials

Hillary Di Menna

by Hillary Di Menna Introduction The persecution of witches is thought to have ended hundreds of years ago. Witch trials are looked back on as barbaric and ludicrous. And yet, today, we see similar persecutions of women as a means of social cleansing and moral regulation by patriarchies. As witches were defined and vilified by their society, so are women who have experienced sexual assault and rape today (Gibson, p. 4). Contemporary victim blaming mirrors the infractions of ancient witches,...

Donna Bell’s Trial…it’s about time.

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WARNING… Triggering content.  Childhood sexual abuse. In June 2016, Donna Bell, a native Scarborough, Ontario resident currently living in B.C., took the stand against her childhood abuser, Tom Furiano.  It was an historical case that took place 40 years ago. He was her drum and bugle corps instructor.  Donna discovered much later that the other kids referred to him as Chester, Chester the child molester.  Although he was twice Donna’s age, married and father of two, Furiano took 13 year...

VALIDATION DAY

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  “I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS” “RAPE IT WAS” says Judge Zuker. He has found Mustafa Ururyar guilty of raping Mandi Gray in January 2015. Mandi Gray and I both came to the Old City Hall courthouse on February 1, 2016, but at the time we did not know each other. We were both starting our sexual assault trials and both in cross examination on the same day. A day we both want to forget but won’t, as...

THE EMANCIPATION OF COMING FORWARD

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  After going through the process of our mythical justice system and all its gendered sexism and slippery rape shield laws, I felt great relief to reach the other side of the trial and be done.  My focus quickly became my website.   It was my way of healing and keeping with my intention to help others going through the system. Shortly after Coming Forward’s launch, my project was quickly halted with many confusing reasons for all the roadblocks and false...

APPARENTLY RAPE IS A CAREER BUILDER

FEA-PORTER4 TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY, 4  - Mandi Gray is a PhD student at York University. She says she was raped by a fellow PhD student, whom she had been dating. She went to the hospital for a forensic rape kit and reported to police within two days.  In her ongoing trial she is endlessly questioned over her own actions.  __NOTE:  There are more photos in EMMA__February 4, 2016 Richard Lautens/Toronto Star

  Today, once again I stood with the sisterhood of survivors on the old city hall steps holding signs in support of sexual assault survivors. Today our survivor in court was Mandi Gray. This is starting to feel like a second home to me and right now this is where I belong. Flash mobs, rallies, supporting survivors in court, conferences, blogs, bring it on because I will be there. Today was my second time watching the Mandi Gray trial. I...