The verdict, sadly, is not much of a surprise and is grotesquely indicative of how in sexual assault trials it is still really the victims who are on trial. In this case, the treatment of the three complainants shows this very clearly.
What is truly revolting and stunning is how the "judgement" by Ontario Court Justice William Horkins in parts reads like it was written by Paul Elam at A Voice for Men or by some other "men's rights" ideologue!
After dismissing and attacking the credibility of all three of the women in the case, the judge wrote of , while avoiding stereotypes about victims, "the need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful".
Fucking seriously. He actually wrote this.
It is a shockingly ideological statement that simply turns reality on its head. As if there is an equivalence between the two in a "justice" system where the VAST majority of sexual assaults are never reported, let alone to brought to trial and where those that are most often result in acquittal!
A majority of sexual assault victims have little to no confidence in the police, the courts or the criminal justice system, according to a new government survey that echoes what advocates have been saying for years."Little to no confidence in the police, the courts or the criminal justice system". I wonder why.
The responses in the Justice Canada survey indicate that two-thirds of the men and women who took part had no faith in the justice system, the process of filing a complaint against their abuser and the prospect of seeing a conviction.
The majority of victims of both child and adult sexual abuse did not even bother filing a complaint with the police, fearing they would be blamed or wouldn’t be taken seriously, the document says.
“Survivors also often feel they are not believed and are somehow to blame,” says the report in The Victims of Crime Research Digest.
“There was a perception among some that while the survivor must cope with the traumatic experience, the accused is not punished.”
According to a different study by University of Ottawa professor Holly Johnson:
Her research also shows how often sexual assaults reported to the police aren’t recorded as a crime. This happens when after an initial investigation, the police decide a crime didn’t happen and so will register the complaint as “unfounded.” In her paper, Johnson writes “sexual assaults are subjected to ‘unfounding’ to a far greater extent than any other crime.”There are countless other studies and statistics that all say the same thing.
The general and systemic "false assumptions" about sexual assault victims are the exact opposite of what Horkins implies and the notion that there is an equal need of vigilance against sexual assault victims being truthful is, as one commentator put it, idiotic.
Justice Horkins' entire judgement shows the very real ideological and male supremacist patriarchal beliefs that are a part of the bedrock of the justice system as a whole. A part of its foundation. There is, indeed, a "political correctness" at work in our courts and society, and it is systemic misogyny.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece used the widely shared but incorrect quote: "We must fight against the stereotype that all sexual assault complaints are truthful". This was wrong. What was actually said in the judgement was "However, the twists and turns of the complainants’ evidence in this trial, illustrate the need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful" The piece has been modified to reflect this.