A survey seeking those who are 18 years, and older, to answer a survey about sexual victimization they have experienced. The survey is also seeking male participants. See the link below. This is 100% anonymous.
Remember back in September when I talked about this story on the legalization of prostitution debate going on in Canada? If not the gist was that sex trade workers argued last year that the laws, as they stand now, prevent them from working in doors or in their homes, and prevent them from properly screening clients before they leave with them. Possibly putting them in danger. In June of this year a 5 panel committee of judges heard the case as the federal government appealed the September 2010 ruling focusing heavily on the safety concerns sex workers had regarding the laws in place in Canada. The panel grilled the government lawyers on the issue of safety. The judges on the panel challenged the government lawyer, Michael Morris, telling him that they find it “hard to understand why it is not self evident that these provisions harm the ability to carry out prostitution safely.”On June 17, 2011 the panel ordered a stay on the provinces laws surrounding prostitution stating: “”The stay will remain in effect until we say something different.” A ruling from the supreme court is not expected until this fall.
After weeks of presenting arguments, back in June, by both sides the appeal court announced their decision at 11 am local time. So what did the courts decide? According to CBC news the court agreed with the majority of Himel’s rulings last year. This comes as no surprise given the line of questioning the government lawyer faced. First, that provisions prohibiting common bawdy houses are unconstitutional in the form they are currently in. Second, they also found that not allowing people to live off the avails of prostitution was also unconstitutional. However, they found that communication for the purposes of prostitution law is not in violation of women’s rights.
However, the judges also ruled that living off the avails of prostitution law will remain in effect for the next 30 days, and that the bawdy house laws will remain in effect for the next 12 months allowing the government of Canada to draft appropriate legislation.
This decision from the appeals court in Ontario will have an interesting effect on laws across Canada. I suspect that other provincial laws will start to be called into question in regards to sex work. Paving the way for a re-structuring of the laws in Canada. I can’t wait to see how the Harper government will handle this one!
Before posting some important information for women in the city of Calgary. I just wanted to say that I hope to be back to regular posts again soon. Had some unexpected health issues arise in December and am just finally starting to Catch up with school.
In the mean time please check out this news story I found on CBC.ca… buried on CBC.ca. Police suspect the above individual of being responsible for 5 sexual assaults in the SW area of Calgary. The description given to police was: white, 45- to 50-years-old, clean-shaven, tanned and had shoulder-length dark-grey hair. He had a thin build.He was wearing a dark jacket, blue sweat pants and black toque.
Finally! A campaign that focuses on the perpetrator instead of the victim. In November of 2010 Edmonton launched the first Don’t be that Guy Campaign. Now Calgary is following in their footsteps and is launching it here. This week you’ll start to notice some in your face posters, such as the one to the left, on CTrains, buses, in nightclub, and in the universities. The posters are mostly targeting men, and will appear in nightclub and university washrooms, as well as other high traffic sites around town.
The DBTGC is being launched by the ‘Sexual Assault Voices of Calgary’. An organization that seeks to change societal thinking: “We are looking at societal change here, it’s important to remember this is not just a police initiative, this involves so many different organizations” says detective Paul Wyatt of the Calgary Police Service’s Sex Crimes Unit. The partners he is refering to includes: Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, Alberta Health Service, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse, Calgary Police Service, Calgary Sexual Health Centre, Canadian Red Cross, Connect Family and Sexual Abuse Network and HomeFront.
The in your face campaign is aimed at Men, 18-24, in order to not only take the onus off the victim but bring men into the conversation about sexual assault. The message that this campaign is trying to get across is clear: “if someone is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs they cannot give consent, and sex without consent is sexual assault.” Police Chief Rick Hanson hopes to push the message home as well “You can no longer hide behind the mistaken belief that it’s okay to use drugs or alcohol,as an excuse, or think because a woman did not give you a ‘no’ answer, that it means ‘yes’.”
On every poster the message ” Sex Without Consent = Sexual assault” appears at the bottom. The SAV website also pushes the message that if you have sex without consent, it’s sexual assault:
” sexual assault is any form of sexual activity forced on someone else without that person’s consent. Force can be physical, or through the use of threats, bullying, manipulation, alcohol/drugs or harassment. Any unwanted sexual activity–including kissing, touching, groping, flashing, oral sex, intercourse, photographing, etc.–under ANY circumstances is sexual assault.”
The website includes a section that talks about what consent is and what consent is not. For example, it reads: “Consent is simple. Just ask.” and in contrast to that reads: “Consent is not obtained if the person changes her/his mind. And a person can change his or her mind at ANY time.”
The campaign is meant to change the minds of men, reminding them that the fight against sexual assault involves them as well, and if they see it they too need to step up and say something. “This is a multi-scale approach, not only do we want to get the message out there that it’s never the victims fault, you weren’t in the wrong place, you weren’t drinking too much, you weren’t dressed the wrong way. But we want to target those men to tell them that this behaviour is not acceptable. We also want to target the men who are with them. Those who can stand up to their friends and remind them if you do this you are going to go to jail” says Wyatt. Reminding us that this is a community effort. If we see something we need to stand up against it, and once and for all shake this idea that somehow a women brought on her assault because she was wearing a short skirt and high heels.
We put the onus on the victim too much in our community today, sending the message to perpetrators that it is OK, as a result causing more damage to the victim. As a victim of assault I know that we begin to internalize these feelings. You start to feel that maybe it really is your fault, maybe if you hadn’t had that one extra drink, or worn that short skirt, or walked down that dark street alone, or in my case rollerbladed down that dark pathway, it wouldn’t have happened to us. But it does happen to us. “As a community, it is important for us to stand together and say this type of behaviour is not acceptable and the consequences are too great.” says Laurie Blahitka, of Alberta Health Services.
Not only is this a message about consent, consequences, and victim blaming, it’s also a way to bring men into the conversation. It’s about making men part of the solution too. This is so important because if we remain divided, we’ll never win. As a victim, and an advocate I am so glad to see that people are finally starting to realize it’s going to take the cooperation of all kinds of organizations and people to start changing the minds of society.
I will leave you with a great quote from the SAVCalgary website :
If we keep thinking about the sexual abuses and sexual assaults committed by men as a ‘women’s issue’, we’re not going to do much about truly preventing that violence. The women you care about–and your kids–should live and grow up in a society where male violence against women is not acceptable. Not legally, not morally, not socially.
So the Toronto Police are back at it again, they are giving women bad advice on how to not be sexually assaulted. I can’t help but wonder if they learned nothing from the demonstrations that took place in Toronto last April in regards to Victim Blaming.
Apparently there is an issue with a pervert who is looking up young women’s skirts on Toronto Transit, specifically targeting students from a near by private school. The school principle passed on some advice to students, via email, from the investigating officer from the Toronto Police department. That advice? tell them not to wear their school uniforms, the skirts, on public transit. If they had,for example, jeans or sweatpants on, it wouldn’t be an issue.
Once again we have this idea that if the victim would just do more to prevent the crime it never would have happened in the first place. No one stops to think to themselves that perhaps it never would have happened if there had been no pervert to begin with. Or perhaps there would be no pervert if we actually started to target young men and inform them that this type of behaviour is not acceptable. But what am I thinking? Boys will be boys, right?
These are reinforcing the belief in young women that they are provoking sexual assault by wearing certain types of clothing.
I don’t live in Toronto, I live in Calgary and I take our transit 3 times a week. And I hate taking transit in the early mornings when the trains are pact tight. I particularly find it uncomfortable when I find myself on one of the older trains that aren’t designed for standing room. At least once a week someone either: makes a comment to me about my body, or touches me when it’s crowded in a clearly inappropriate manner. In one instance last year I caught a guy taking a picture of my legs whilst I was standing on the train. In addition to this I hear stories everyday from someone about how something inappropriate has happened to them while they were taking transit.
This is in no way the fault of Calgary Transit and in every way the fault of main stream culture. How do we get across the message that looking up people’s skirts, taking pictures of them, touching them, or doing anything to them without their consent, is not OK? To me it seems just logical, if person A doesn’t want to be touched person B should keep their hands to themselves.
The point is that sexual assault or harassment has nothing to do with what women are wearing and everything to do with the pervert. I am beyond tired with this false belief that if you wear a skirt, or go out drinking, or walk down a dark street alone, or do any other ‘risky’ behaviour, that this puts you more at risk for sexual assault. Women of all shapes, sizes, and situations are sexually assaulted everyday. One study sites that 21% of women who were abused by a partner were pregnant when they were abused. I invite you to please explain to me how a pregnant women was asking for it, or brought on that abuse herself? The same study says that 40% of women with disabilities have reported being raped or assaulted. Again I would please like someone to explain to me how they brought on their own assaults?
I am not saying that there are no preventative steps women can take to protect themselves, but I am not sure why we always focus on the victim instead of the perpetrator. I am not sure why better advice was not given to the young school aged women who are being harassed on the bus. For example, pulling out your cell phone and calling police, informing the bus driver what is going on, public shaming “hey dude in blue hat, could you please stop looking up my skirt? That would be fantastic, thanks”, as a bystander you could ask the victim if they alright, do they need help? Simply telling young women to not wear skirts is counterproductive.
If people want to talk about preventative measures women can take tell them: to not wear both earbuds when walking alone, limit chatting on your cell well walking, be aware of your environment. But to tell them that wearing jeans instead of a skirt will keep them safe is just plain dumb.
In response to this story, according to the above link, Constable Wendy Drummond said that the school principal did not relay the officers words correctly. She says that the advice to women was that they should: travel in pairs, use panic buttons on the subway, do not discuss their travel plans in public, and that both sexes should not wear their school uniforms in public. But she apparently did not deny that the officer had remarked that if the girls had been in jeans it never would have happened.
Even if this is how it did in fact go down it doesn’t matter. In either context the officers advice sucks, and so does the principles. Don’t talk about your travel plans in public? What is that? Is the world so scary that we can’t even talk to our friends about plans? It still also places the onus on the victim. The idea that i can and should be doing more to prevent myself from getting raped.
Nor the principle or the police officer should be perptuating victim blaming ideology to young women, it’s pretty disgusting.
Friday afternoon corrections Canada confirmed that Clifford Olson
died in a Quebec hospital.
On September 21, 2011 it was reported that Olson was dying of an unnamed type of cancer and didn’t have long to live.
Olson had earned the label as Canada’s most notorious and ruthless serial killer in the 80s. He terrorized BC residents in 1980 killing at least 11 young people between the ages of 9 and 18 often raping and strangling them. In August of 1981 Olson plea bargained with the RCMP and in exchange for the government paying his family $100,000 ($10,000 per victim) he not only confessed to the murders he would lead RCMP to the bodies. This plea bargain would prove unpopular with the Canadian public. Once convicted Olson earned himself a dangerous offender label, making it unlikely he would ever be released from prison.
In 1997, Olson would apply for parole under Canada’s Faint Hope Clause which, in short, states that an offender who has served at least 15 years may apply for parole. Once an inmate has served 25 years they are also eligible for parole and Olson exercised his right to do so in July of 2006, once again he was denied parole. He would make one last attempt in November of 2010 (in Canada an inmate is allowed to apply for parole every two years after the initial 25 years).
Back in March of 2010 Olson would find himself once again back in the spotlight as it was revealed to Canadians that he was recieving a monthly cheque from the government in the amount of $1,169.47 for old age security. Bill C-31 would be put forth to disallow prisoners to be able to get old age security as a result. As a side note It was reported that in September of 2010 Olson sent one of his cheques to a reporter and asked them to pass it along to Stephen Harpers campaign for reelection.
I don’t rejoice in the death of anyone, that said this is a man that the world won’t miss.
Three-year-old Kienan Hebert is still missing tonight after he went missing from his home Wednesday morning. Police suspect Randall Hopley, 46 of kidnapping the boy. Hopley has an intense criminal record that includes breaking and entering, and sexual assault and was just released from jail last week.
Today the RCMP have asked people in BC to start searching their vacant properties for any sign of forced entry. “See if there’s anything suspicious, any sign of break-ins, anything stolen,” RCMP told reporters . They are also asking business to review survelliance tape for any sign of either Kienan or Hopley “We ask that you review them. If you see something, and you believe you have images of the suspect or the vehicle, please contact police.”
CTV reported today that volunteers were searching the woods by the families home for any sign of him today but have turned up nothing.
Kienan was last seen Tuesday Sept 6 when his parents tucked him in for the night in their home. Police are asking the public to watch for a brown 1987 Toyota Camry with B.C. licence plate 098 RAL. Hopley is white, 5-foot-10, 147 lbs., brown hair and hazel eyes. Please call 911 if you see the car, or either Kienan, or the suspect.
Update September 10, 2011: Amber Alert Extended to Alberta on a limited basis. Pictures will be displayed on Alberta highways this weekend and the public is still being asked to keep their eyes open for the pair.
Update: amber alert canceled! Herbert was dropped off around 3 am this morning say RCMP. More to come…
Call Sparwood RCMP with any information at 1-250-425-6233.
A French man was ordered to pay his wife 10,000 Euros ($13962.00 Canadian) for apparently violating article 215 of the Civil Code in France. This code states that married couples “ must agree to a shared communal life”. A judge in France has ruled that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage”. The wife in the case filed for divorce two years ago on the grounds that there was nothing happening between the sheets. The man claims that this is due to “tiredness and health problems”. These reasons aside a judge in southern France granted the divorce and said said the cause of the split was because of the man. The 51 year old appealed but the courts found in favour of his wife: “A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent. By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.” After the rulings the wife filed a lawsuit looking for compensation for the last 21 years of marriage.
What I find even more disturbing then the courts decision is the poll found on the story on the New York Daily News 58% of people agree with that. The poll asks readers “Should husbands or wives be made to pay money to spouse after divorce because of denying them sex?” . Options included: Yes- Yes, sex is an important and necessary part of a happy marriage. or No-No, men or women shouldn’t be expect to perform sexually just because they are married.
Does anyone else think this is as messed up as I do? This is not only messed up it opens the gates for other types of suites. Is everyone entitled to sue their significant other if their marriages fail? Could you then argue that your significant other changed and therefore are not the same person you entered into said contract with? Gained a few pounds? Better start working it off or you may be in violation of article 251 of the French civil code. Developed a medical problem? That’s OK as long as you are continuing your duties in said marriage. You might be rolling your eyes at my comparisons but think about it. You gaining a few pounds and becoming unattractive to your partner is just as messed up as “my partner developed a medical condition and will no longer perform between the sheets for me”.
What a Joke of a lawsuit.