Kim Fraser from CJAD devoted the first half of her show, today, discussing Manitoba Judge Robert Dewar’s lenient sentence on a convicted rapist today. Kim, needless to say, as any woman would and should, was outraged enough to devote more than the usual half hour she usually devotes to a show. Good on her– this regressive thinking on the part of this judge absolutely needs to be discussed–for more reasons than one.
Kim, having grown up in my generation, I will assume, was taught that no woman or girl asks to be raped–no matter what she is wearing, what the setting may be, or even her demeanor–’NO’ means exactly that–not the usual bull-shit a lot of men would try to sell of ‘no’ really meaning ‘yes’. By the looks of things, Judge Dewar, by putting at least some of the blame on the victim, has certainly made it open season for any depraved individual to think that if a woman is dressed sexy and having fun, then it’s (practically?) a license for them to have their way with her.
Kenneth Rhodes was given a two-year conditional penalty last week, which allows him to remain free in the community. The Crown wanted at least three years behind bars, citing numerous case precedents suggesting that is the starting point for a major sexual assault.
Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Dewar disagreed, saying the victim gave out signs “sex was in the air” through her suggestive attire and flirtatious conduct on the night of the attack. He called Rhodes a “clumsy Don Juan” who may have misunderstood what the woman wanted when he forced intercourse along a darkened highway outside Thompson in 2006.
I would only hope that the crown prosecutors would appeal this case. If this verdict is allowed to stand, it sets a dangerous precedent, especially given the climate today.
Kim Fraser, sarcastically, basically said that women should dress plainly if they don’t want to be perceived as asking to be raped.
It’s not the first time we’ve been hearing such utterings, here, in Canada. Not long ago, two male Toronto police officers from Division 31 came to Osgoode Hall Law School to give safety tips. The gist of their advice was, women shouldn’t dress like “sluts”.
“One of the safety tips was for women not to dress like ‘sluts.’ He said something like, ‘I’ve been told I shouldn’t say this,’ and then he uttered the words,” said Bessner, Osgoode assistant dean of the Juris Doctor Program. “I was shocked and appalled. I made contact with the police [...] and we’ve asked for a written apology and an explanation.”
I posted about this not long ago here, where I mentioned at the same time ol’ Super Vic Toews’ apirations to change the legal wording of ‘sexual assault’ to ‘rape’ in the criminal code. If successful, look for victims to once again be tried in the courts. Even more insulting, what ol’ Vic has suggested is that a bunch of ol’ geezers are going to know best what sexual acts are more or less traumatizing to women and girls?
Now this Harpercon judge, Robert Dewar ( yes Kim, I know you seem to love Stevie Spiteful, but this judge is indeed a Harpercon appointee. Just thought you really should know), is basically sending a message to women that they shouldn’t be out after dark, shouldn’t be wearing tube tops, make-up and heels and most definitely shouldn’t ever engage in conversation with members of the opposite sex and that if they are, they’re basically asking for it. It does mirror that Toronto cop’s message to those students at Osgoode Hall, doesn’t it?
What the hell is causing this outmoded thinking to become the societal norm? Well, after listening to the callers on Kim’s show (many of whom were real wankers, folks), I would put the blame on, well, society. Yes, boys ‘n’ girls, many of the callers I heard basically defended Judge Dewar’s decision. Many of whom basically lectured Kim that “we really don’t know what happened between that man and that woman”, despite the fact the rapist had been convicted. Others, who, in my opinion, without too much conviction, basically agreed the sentence was too lenient, but they felt the victim had her responsibility in this. Many feeble arguments that couldn’t convince Kim or myself, and I hope, other listeners (are there any sane Anglophones left in Montreal?? I’m starting to lose hope here!!). What was even more shocking was that not all of those nay-saying wankers were men. In fact, I heard a few male callers actually indignant and insulted by the very notion that men can’t control their impulses. Many of those wankers were, well, wankettes! Women with the usual bull-shit of women shouldn’t talk to strangers, or shouldn’t be dressed so provocatively, or women should know better! Or my favourite, women should take responsibility for their own safety. After listening to those callers, I was thoroughly discouraged. It was becoming painfully clear to me why more Canadian women would support a misogynistic theocrat like Stevie Spiteful and his merry band of socons like Toews, Kenney, DelMastro, Goodyear-the creationist, etc.
My question is, what is driving these women to such backward thinking? Is it low self-esteem? Have many of them bought into that biblical idea that all women are nothing more than evul temptresses out to drive already flawed men crazy? Yes, many of those female callers on Kim’s show sounded like baby boomers–that generation of women of bra burners who fought for women’s rights; reproductive rights, equal rights on the work force, just plain equality. They demonstrated, protested and fought so women like myself and subsequent generations could have dignity and better choices and empowerment. Now, it seems these very same women of the bra-burning generation are recanting everything they taught us. Why?
I see a pattern here, between a Harpercon appointed judge issuing a suspended sentence to a convicted rapist and basically, blaming the victim for her appearance and demeanor and cops advising women not to dress like “sluts” and Super Toews attempting to change the criminal code in a way that would send a message that women are indeed terrible temptresses and that men are born depraved beings who can’t control their impulses. It certainly fits with Stevie Spiteful and his cheerleaders’ basic message that Canadians are bad people, bringing out everyone’s worst instincts. More importantly, this trend also shows that little importance is placed on crimes against women; far less than posession of a few pot plants or running a hockey pool or chasing after ‘unreported’ burglaries and car theft.