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Let’s Talk About Sexual Assault: a Confessional of Sorts I Guess

by Mira El Hussein If you haven’t guessed by the title, this is going to be about sexual assault (surprise!). Much like the rest of my life, it’ll probably be quite messy and emotional at times- and since the only way I can cope with difficult topics is through a series of poorly timed jokes, this will also be full of those. I’ve always been pretty quiet about my own experiences with this topic. Of course, I did my duty...

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

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,...

THE EMANCIPATION OF COMING FORWARD

  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

  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...

I’m Coming Forward

  Today is the day. April 18, 2016. My name is Linda Christina Redgrave and I can now legally tell you that. I have been excited for this day to come as much as I’ve been dreading it. I have always known this is what I was going to do, but the reality of it is causing me great stress. Stress somewhat similar to what I felt during cross examination where fleeing the stand kept crossing my mind. Once again...

What I Wish I’d Known Before Testifying In The Ghomeshi Trial

In November of 2014, a Toronto mother of two walked into a police station to tell officers that Jian Ghomeshi had assaulted her. She did so after learning two things: 1) She wasn’t the only woman the former CBC radio host allegedly hurt, and 2) There was no statute of limitations on her claim that he had yanked her hair without warning in December 2002 and again in January 2003 before delivering two blows to the side of her head....

Real Justice Would Give Sexual Assault Victims a Real Voice and Real Choice

At the Jian Ghomeshi trial, everything unfolded as it “should.” Prodigiously talented legal commandos for the defence reduced the prosecution’s case to a smouldering ruin. Then, the judge – by current convention a mere observer of the carnage – stated what legal observers had been describing as obvious in his final ruling: The evidence did not meet the standard for criminal conviction. This meant the accused walked away, wearing the legally indisputable (but, for some, ill-fitting) cloak of innocence, and...

March 25, 2016: POST-VERDICT

“It is clear that she deliberately breached her oath to tell the truth. Her value as a reliable witness is diminished accordingly.” – Judge Horkins He said what? I was never expecting a guilty verdict.  I knew the cases were not strong and that it would be a he said/she said.  I typically refer to that as the she said/she said, since the accused never said anything.  I reminded myself that I had just gone and shared my experience in...

February 1, 2016: TRIAL

The unmarked police car came to escort me to court.  I couldn’t believe the day had finally come and that I was the first.  I was to speak the first words in a trial so many had been waiting for.  It was an immense amount of pressure. I suppose ignorance is bliss.  I had been prepared for her tactics and methods but no one can prepare you for this experience.  I was fortunate to be able to sit in the...