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My name is Stephanie Stella

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Guest blogger Stephanie Stella, compares the similarities between her trial and Mandi Gray’s trial.   Warning –  may be triggering.   This past February, I took the stand in my trial – or officially, in my rapist’s trial – in Toronto. In the leadup and during my trial, I met and leaned on Mandi Gray for support (and was subsequently accused by the defence of looking for fame, because I had the sheer dumb luck to have my trial line...

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

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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...