12.05.2014 01:53 PM

You will be hearing about this catastrophic error for years to come

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that it will be used to legitimize attacks on the credibility of women who have been sexually assaulted, for years to come.

What a disaster.

“In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Will Dana
Managing Editor”

45 Comments


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    Joe says:

    Some should cc this story to Justin Trudeau so the next time someone make allegations against sitting Liberal MPs he will do a little due diligence and maybe a bit of due process.


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      James Smith says:

      Mr K, Thanks for posting this link.
      This is a serious issue that is finally getting the attention it deserves, and, as this story points out, has many dimensions that need to be taken seriously.

      Joe,
      For some reason some, like you, want to put everything wrong with the world at the feet of MrT.
      Seriously, your point is as tiresome and predictable as those who would call the present PM a fascist. In a word: BORING!


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      VC says:

      I guess you just proved Warren’s opening lines to this post: “But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that it will be used to legitimize attacks on the credibility of women who have been sexually assaulted, for years to come.”


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      smelter rat says:

      Oh FFS, give your head a shake. JT didn’t accuse anyone of anything. For a genius, you sure say stupid things.


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        Joe says:

        I will type real slow cause I can see you can’t read too fast….. Sexual assault is a very serious crime and the perpetrators of said crime should be punished and shunned. HOWEVER simply because someone alleges that a sexual assault took place does not make it a fact. WISE people check all the angles before they reach a conclusion and do not jump to a conclusion and then do an instigation. My son was all upset over the alleged incident recounted in the Rolling Stone. I suggested that he wait a bit for the facts to come out before reaching a final conclusion. It would seem the Rolling Stone’s retraction verified my caution. Like my son, Justin Trudeau leaped to a conclusion and acted in haste. In so doing he has ruined the reputation of two Liberal MPs and at least one NDP MP. Don’t get me wrong if an independent third party finds that sexual harassment took place then Justin’s action will be partially exonerated other wise he will look like a complete ninny. I say partially exonerated because he should done due diligence by allowing due process preferably by conducting due diligence out of sight of the media. He didn’t do that and so far he looks like a ninny. And no James Smith Justin Trudeau looking like a ninny is not the cause of all the worlds problems. However it will make it more difficult for the Liberal Party of Canada to become the next government of Canada.


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          Tired of it All says:

          Do you know what information he had at his disposal before making the decision?


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            Michael Clifton says:

            We know only, of course, what Trudeau revealed, which is, appropriately, nothing. We know from what he said, however, that he did not do a fulsome investigation, and believed an investigation was still needed. In short, we know enough to know that he knew he didn’t know enough.

            And yet he still publicly humiliated the two accused MPs.

            I won’t lay at his feet the blame for what has happened to their careers and, perhaps, their families. If they did what the latest revelations suggest they did, then the blame lies mainly, if not wholly, at their own feet.

            However, the fact is that their reputations, probably their careers, and possibly their families, would all still have been destroyed by Trudeau’s actions, even if it turned out they were entirely innocent, which they claimed when questions and which only an investigation would have confirmed or corrected.

            It is this fact that Joe appears to be highlighting: that Trudeau was, in effect and in fact, careless as to the outcome of his actions with respect to those two men.

            It is appropriate to note that Trudeau did three things right: (1) he listened to the allegations; (2) he took them seriously; (3) he took action; but it is entirely fair to conclude that the particular action he chose was not the right thing. And that is really Joe’s point.


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          Kevin T. says:

          If you are going to type so slow, then don’t type so much, I just don’t have the time to not read all of that.


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            sezme says:

            Kevin, you just won the Internet.


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      Gayle says:

      Maybe you should get your own facts straight.

      Trudeau suspended the MP’s pending an investigation. He said nothing about the details of the allegations, or even that they were of a sexual nature. He simply said allegations of personal misconduct were made and had to be investigated.

      The fact that the NDP stepped forward and said it was two of their female MP’s making the allegations and some media outlets chose to print the details of those allegations were out of his control (notwithstanding the fact those details confirmed the allegations were serious and Trudeau’s actions were appropriate).

      See, suspension pending investigation IS doing due diligence.


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        Joe says:

        Well Gayle I guess you are the only sentient human being living in Canada that didn’t know that Trudeau had done a Fire Aim Ready to his MPs and the NDP MPs at the time he held his news conference for which he was widely lauded by his sycophants as being a bold leader when it comes to cases of sexual harassment.


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          Scotian says:

          Ready, Fire, Aim…Fantino announcing money to be spent on vets over 6 years turning out to be over 50.

          Ready, Aim, Fire Peter MacKay claiming we did not know why Mark Lapine murdered all those women 15 years ago.

          Ready Aim Fire, Joe when he posted this comment in the first place.

          I think I’m seeing a pattern here…


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            Joe says:

            Umm you do realize this is thread is about sexual assault both real and imagined don’t you? A tar baby that Trudeau touched and has been trying to extricate himself from ever since. Personally I don’t care for political leaders who are so lacking in wisdom they rush to be in front of any issue that comes down the pike. I didn’t care for PM Paul Martin because of his ‘highest priority and I don’t like Justin Trudeau because of his rash behaviour that has hurt the party he leads.

            BTW you won’t find me defending Fantino or his incompetent handing of the VA portfolio. I’ve tried to get help for vets from the Afghan conflict. Some had shrapnel visible under their skin, some had gaps where their arms and legs used to be, others had PTSD which isn’t quite as visible.


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          James Smith says:

          Joe, you appear to be more upset with Mr T than the case Mr W has brought to our attention. It seems, despite your slow typing, you have a fixation on Mr T, pity really.


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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Slow typing = advanced degrees


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            debs says:

            Exactly James, one case of misinformation will now be used to discredit any and every sexual assault from here on in, and the women that are brave enough to move foward and tell authorities about any sexual misconduct will have their noses rubbed in it by the likes of joes in this world, ones who want to take an incident to confirm their already strongly held bias. Joe needs more advanced degrees on sexual misconduct, rapeshaming, and women being held as second class citizens in the mens world:P As really one case that is discredited shouldnt be held as the mathematical model for a representative sample/ how about how many are unreported, or disregarded, or the few that do move foward and charges are laid……lets just not include them:P

            and as Scotian so aptly pointed out why is this being used against Justin Trudeau, who did the right thing when approached with sexual abuse, is being tar and feathered. The cons always love to blame trudeau for everything but conveniently become blind and dumb to the repeated mismanagement by conservative politicians. But yes by all means lets jump on the trudeau is a moron bandwagon for doing something proactive, as in the conservative world, its better to cover up mistakes and errors:P


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          Gayle says:

          I don’t know about that. I certainly appear to know a lot more about the criminal law of sexual assault than you do. I also appear to be far more honest than you.

          So here is some advice.

          First, while I am the last person to criticize someone for making snarky and snide comments, they are far more effective when you have your facts right. When you are as wrong as you clearly are in this case, being snarky just makes you look kind of pathetic.

          Second, when you have been called out on your false facts, pretending you were not and continuing to try to allege them makes you look, well, pathetic.

          Third (and I know this is hard), if you are going to comment on sexual assault allegations, it is best that you understand the law is it relates to sexual assault in this country. You very obviously need some education in that area, and I strongly suggest you get it. Right now you kind of look like those guys who thought Galileo was crazy for suggesting the earth revolved around the sun. Just sayin’


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        Scotian says:

        Gayle:

        Exactly right.

        When did it stop being seen as the proper course of action in this country for when serious allegations of wrongdoing (ANY wrongdoing) about a politician was made to a party leader (or that they became aware of) that they suspended them while an investigation takes place? It used to happen all the time, in government (where said wrongdoing might not even be from the Minister themselves, but under their jurisdiction something happened that they should have either prevented or been aware of and immediately corrected and didn’t) where they resigned pending outcome of investigation and even could be removed from caucus until such was ended, and then if cleared returned no smirch left… it was called, what was it, oh yes, Ministerial Accountability. What a fascinating old fashioned dare I call it conservative concept!

        Trudeau acted in a proper manner, he could not act against these two MPs in the manner it turns out the allegations made to him warranted without it becoming public, so he did so providing the minimum reason for the action and the maximum protection for the privacy of ALL MPs involved, accuser and accused. It was the NDP that outed all the details about what happened, not the Libs, and Trudeau probably expected the NDP to protect their MPs by not leaking all of this based on their wishes for this to remain private, funny how no-one seems to want to consider that point now isn’t it Gayle.

        The idea that suspension equates guilt is a false narrative pushed by those who want to attack Trudeau, not based on actual you know real world realities. The only real difference from the way Trudeau acted to what most businesses would have done is that there had to be a public component because of the inherent nature of being MPs involved here, and a lack of any protocol/process to deal with MP on MP from differing party complaints of this nature for him to follow. Now, do I have any sympathy for the two Lib MPs, yes, a little, but then it is always hardest on test cases that create new law/processes where none existed before, and I always feel for those caught in such gears, at least until and unless they are shown/proven to be guilty. Bottom line though is Trudeau acted responsibly, he acted in a manner traditional to accountable responsible government, which is why so man of his foes are clearly so freaked out by the way he handled this and have gone on an “all costs” approach to discrediting him. This btw is referring to the foes from both sides of the spectrum.

        What it says about people to not understand that real due diligence was practiced by Trudeau here demonstrates far more about their lack of understanding of the concept than Justin Trudeau. While this story in the Rolling Stone is clearly problematic, and as Kinsella says will be used to discredit by those that are unwilling to accept just how prevalent sexual harassment/assault against women is in NA culture, it has no bearing on what Trudeau did at all. Trudeau acted responsibly, and the fact he gave the benefit of the doubt to the accuser was appropriate, but while doing so protected her identity and the reputations of the Lib MPs he was suspending at least until the NDP leadership decided to get in on the act.

        This is one of those issues that I am not letting go of because it touches home for me and my wife on the personal level, and to see a party leader act the way Trudeau did was such a refreshing difference from the lack of such clear decisive leadership on this issue from any other leader we have seen in our lives. To watch it being twisted up the way it is all for partisanship, to see it being done so not just by Harper supporters (from whom you expect this) but also by Dipper partisans and the Dipper leadership who supposedly are the “real” champions of all things women (talk about the talk being one thing, the walk another in action) given just how serious and real this problem is in our culture has been one of the more nauseating elements of politics as of late for us both.


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          Gayle says:

          Hi Scotian

          I have to say what causes me a lot of concern is the media types who are running around saying Trudeau overreacted because one of the complainants admitted she did not say no, and she provided the guy with a condom. I think the media have to be more responsible than this. They are contributing to the myth that anyone who does not say no cannot be sexually assaulted. They do not seem to see that handing over the condom, if that is what happened, also does not amount to consent. And then they use this myth to support their condemnation of Trudeau’s actions here, when he did the only thing he could possibly do in the circumstances.

          After all the years of advances in women’s rights, when it comes to sexual assault we are still in the dark ages. Appalling.


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            debs says:

            well said Scotian
            and sooo true Gayle.


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    Brachina says:

    One of the first debunkles to come of many to come thanks to the guilty until innocent lobby, and both the falsely accused and real rape victims will pay the price for this. Actually it isn’t the first, just the lastest.


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    Brachina says:

    Trudeau suapended too MPs, even though he knew from one of the female MPs own discription of events that no sexual harrassment or assault occurred. Pacetti was innocent and Trudeau knew it. If Pacetti was guilty Mulcair would have been demanding his head on a platter, he did not.


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      smelter rat says:

      Zzzzzzzzzz.


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        doug marsh says:

        Zzzzzzzzzz.

        That has to be the most intelligent notion that the obsessive old sycophant has ever posted.


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      Gayle says:

      No. If she told him the same thing she told the media then he knew she was alleging she was sexually assaulted.

      Thank god Trudeau understands the criminal law in this country. It is sad that so many people like you do not. (Some people in the media could learn a few things as well).


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        Peter says:

        Thank god Trudeau understands the criminal law in this country.

        Gayle, where does the criminal law provide that someone should be suspended from his professional livelihood on the basis of an uninvestigated complaint? Indeed, where does the criminal law provide that employers, party leaders, etc. are responsible for enforcing it?


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          Gayle says:

          Excuse me? Are the MP’s not still MP’s? Do they not still collect a paycheque? No one has been suspended from their “professional livelihood”. Be accurate please.

          As someone who supervises and manages people for a living, I can tell you that if someone came to me and said one of my employees sexually assaulted them, and all this was done in the context of their employment, I would be pretty quick to suspend them (with pay) pending investigation.

          In any event, you are conflating the issues. The original poster suggested one of the NDP MP’s did not even allege a sexual assault. I was just pointing out to Brachina that s/he is wrong about that.


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            Peter says:

            I can tell you that if someone came to me and said one of my employees sexually assaulted them, and all this was done in the context of their employment, I would be pretty quick to suspend them (with pay) pending investigation.

            Really? And tell everyone what you have done, like Trudeau did? Even though you know full well his reputation with his colleagues will be shot, his personal life may end up in tatters and his kids would be tortured by mocking at their schools? What a model, loyal employer you are!

            Would you pay his legal fees for your investigation?


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            Gayle says:

            Sigh.

            Obviously if you choose a high profile profession, there are risks that the high profile will mean you get labeled, even unfairly, when things go wrong. That is a risk you assume when you take the job. My employment is not high profile, and therefore if I were to be forced to suspend an employee it would not result in the same notoriety. Such is life. There are both advantages and disadvantages to choosing a high profile career.

            In any event, perhaps you missed this, but Trudeau is not the one who said the suspensions had anything to do with sexual misconduct. He only said there were allegations of personal misconduct. It is not his fault the NDP and the media decided to go public with the allegations. Personally I think that was irresponsible, but it in no way reflects on Trudeau’s actions.

            I am not sure if you are aware of this, but when police officers are alleged to have conducted themselves unlawfully, they are often put on leave with pay. Sometimes the media even reports on it. When lawyers are alleged to have conducted themselves unlawfully, they are often suspended and their names are published on internet by the law society (at least in Alberta). I believe the same happens to doctors. Trudeau is hardly breaking new ground here.


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            Peter says:

            Double sigh back atcha. Your point about police officers and lawyers is superficially interesting, but those are not automatic and are usually based on a prima facie finding of wrongdoing after a preliminary investigation. Nobody consents to being beaten up by the police or having their money misappropriated. The problem here, as I’ve alluded to before, is that there is often no middle ground between serious criminal misconduct and perfectly lawful behavior, and often little or no corroborating evidence. Yet you are applauding Trudeau for suspending the M.P.s automatically with (apparently) no inquiry whatsoever and no hearing of his own M.P.s’ accounts. Indeed, you say you would do the same. Why wouldn’t you suspend both parties? No, that is not a serious question, but it does flow from your automatic, rote response, and that is what I take issue with. The fact that you aren’t even bothering to distinguish between the allegations against Pacetti and those against Andrews leaves the impression you are trying to reconvene the old Star Chamber and are suffering from a bad case of premature adjudication.

            But we’re just spinning wheels here, because you have already said your objective is to wrestle these cases out of criminal process and have them dealt with under administrative or employment law, much as is happening on university campus’s to howls of controversy. I’m actually not unsympathetic because I agree too much unacceptable conduct is going unpunished, but you appear to be resisting the implications of that by cherry-picking on both substance and procedure. In the first place, you want to maintain the very strict, limited definition of consent applied by professional jurists within a very complex criminal process even in cases that the public would not associate with the words assault and rape (btw, the word rape was expunged from the law decades ago, largely at the behest of women activists, so why do you keep using it?). In the second, you want to maintain the full sense of horror and trauma we associate with the crime, and presumably punish it accordingly, while removing protections from the accused and sheltering the complainant from the obligations to prove her allegations. Thirdly, you seem to be coming close to wanting to define sexual assault as a strict liability offence for which mental states are of little relevance beyond the vocal and enthusiastic participation of the complainant. That isn’t working well in the enchanted kingdom of academia and it isn’t going to work elsewhere without reactions that will frustrate your objectives. Decriminalization of an offence implies a lessening of the public perception of its seriousness and the sanctions that should be applied. If you are hoping that employers will have to ability to destroy careers based on ad hoc, wing-it investigations and hearings applying human resources policies, sorry, the courts will stop that pretty fast. You can’t have it both ways, and all the wispy musings about cultural change won’t change that.


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            Gayle says:

            Frankly, your faux outrage over Trudeau’s actions is starting to bore me. My guess is you do not care at all about these people. Your mission is to try to discredit Trudeau.

            Let us go back to basics, shall we? Like the vast majority of sexual assault allegations, these are “he said, she said”. What she said is evidence. Trudeau acted on that evidence. I am not sure why the facts here seem to be so confusing for you. He heard the allegation. He asked the party whips to interview the two women, and then he acted. In other words, he acted upon a prima facie case after a preliminary investigation. As I have said before, he clearly did not feel he could make any credibility finding, so he has asked for, and has now initiated, an objective third party process. There is absolutely nothing here to distinguish these circumstances from the examples I cite regarding lawyers and police. Do you really think a lawyer would not be suspended if a client alleged she was raped by him? Or if a witness made the same allegation about a cop?

            You are looking at this entire process through the rape myth veil. You do not accept her account as evidence (note, evidence is not the same thing as absolute proof, and it has never been the same thing as absolute proof, and in no other kind of criminal allegation would anyone expect that evidence to equate to proof at this stage, but like so many other men when it comes to sexual assault allegations you want that evidence to equate to proof). Your entire problem is that there is nothing here other than her word. That is the problem women who have been sexually assaulted face every day. People like you think they should not be believed.

            I do not use the term “rape” in its legal sense, but rather the dictionary definition. I am well aware the legal term is now “sexual assault”, and I have always disagreed with that change. This places a pinch of the ass in the same category as forced sexual intercourse. I do not think a 14 year old boy who behaves stupidly in school should be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life just because he slaps a girl’s ass. (This is one thing upon which Peter McKay and I agree, and I hope he gets around to amending the legislation as he has publicly stated he takes issue with this).

            As for the rest, your entire argument here involves a lot of fabrication. You have suggested I am taking positions I have not taken. Though I am certainly troubled by your insistence that if the “public” does not think someone has been raped, the person was not raped. The SCC reached their conclusion on consent after they heard from numerous experts on the subject. They actually took the time to educate themselves on this issue. You would benefit from doing the same.


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    Ed Frink says:

    there is no such thing as a false rape accusation. This has been proven many times in cultural studies classes at educational institutions.

    Rolling Stone is throwing women under the bus by backing off.m they are cowards. Jackie is a true hero and activist.


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    West Coast jim says:

    Smelter rat – mind your spelling. Everyone knows it is ZZZZZzzzzzzz.


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      smelter rat says:

      I know, but I ran out of capital Z’s.


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    Brachina says:

    Tell that to the Duke Lacrosw Team.


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      Lance says:

      Or Tawana Brawley.


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    davie says:

    Just on the point about innocent until shown otherwise…the RS letter says that there ‘appears to be discrepancies’ and then goes on to say that mag should have checked with the other party to get the other party’s story. The they say they have come ot a different conclusion than their previous conclusion. I agree it does look bad for ‘Jackie,’ but I don’t see that his note shows what happened. As far as I can see, the letter leaves an out if assault is found to have been committed.

    For me, though, I think of the CBC allegations, our House of Commons allegations, this playing out of this issue by yesalldaughters in Norman, Oklahoma, the Cosby stuff…I figured it would not be long before the reaction from reactionaries would start to seep into the picture. I didn’t expect it through RS, but, it looks like good place for reactionaries to start their campaign.

    I would hope that the silence from our media and politicians this week about our HoC allegations means that they really are addressing it the way it should have been addressed in the first place.

    I can’t help, though, thinking about a couple of guys who are in a ‘Have you quit beating your wife and kids?’ situation.


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    patrick says:

    This reminds me of the Bernardo trial where Rosie Diammano (?) complained about some of the fellow scribes not recognizing how culpable Karla was because she was a woman. Men lie, women lie, men are rancid nasty bastards, women are nasty rancid bitches, men are decent, women are decent and I can run this on an on. Why is it so hard to learn that we really have to judge situations on their individual merit? I suppose if you want the easy way out and want to “believe” as opposed to find out, then yes, for the singularly defined, willfully myopic, happy cretins, then yes, I suppose there has been a set back. For the rest that are willing to change their minds when new information comes out it’s using our brains what they were meant for, thinking. And if there is a real set back then the vile cretins are winning.


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    Peter says:

    It’s becoming clear that these controversies have a general cultural component that is distanced from criminal law and its enforcement and which is leading both sides into incompatible and irreconcilable positions. On the one hand, activists seem to be demanding that criminal law norms be enforced in non-criminal contexts and through non-criminal proceedings in order to protect the accuser from strain and trauma and giving procedural “burden of proof” advantages to the accused. This is leading them to not only run roughshod over the rights of the accused, but also to present women as helpless and fragile in contexts much of the public simply won’t identify with the words rape and assault. On the other, those insisting on procedural rigor soon find themselves lining up to defend people and behavior that don’t deserve defending and which should be sanctioned somehow. We’re hearing a lot of calls for “cultural changes”. It’s high time, but it’s not easy to see how these can be effected without reverting to perspectives from bygone times. And if you think the issue is controversial now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.


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    Hugh Whalen says:

    What every complainant deserves is to be taken seriously and have their accusations investigated in a thorough and professional manner. Nobody deserves to be believed, neither the complainant nor the accused. Automatically believing either side is the antithesis of justice.

    The Rolling Stone reporter did not do this, she simply believed the complainant.

    Also, universities are neither trained nor equipped to do this. Universities do not investigate murders or armed robbery. They should not investigate rape either. It profoundly serious matter that should be left to the professionals.


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      Gayle says:

      I would not use the word “deserve”, but I agree in theory.

      The problem with sexual assault allegations is that the allegations are generally seen through the veil of “rape myths”. For example, anyone who does not say no, and provides the rapist with a condom, cannot have been raped.

      While we have to start looking at these allegations by removing the rape myth veil, it does not mean we should only look at one side. You do not do justice to women by determining guilt by only considering her side.

      In theory this is not a difficult balance, but unfortunately we are trying to do this within the context of centuries of sexism. Hence the reaction of many that we should still assume the complainant is lying about rape, which is why I take exception to your use of the term “deserve”. Everyone deserves to be believed. And everyone deserves to have their side heard. And everyone deserves to have their side heard in an objective fashion, free of the sexual prejudice held by so many. Women are raped even when there is no weapon, or no injuries. Even when she is drunk and behaving in a provocative fashion. Even when she at first agrees and then changes her mind. Even when she initiates it and then changes her mind.

      The problem with sexual assault will never be resolved in the criminal justice system, with its “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. I agree with that standard, and would never advocate for changing it. However the psychological damage done to victims of sexual assault who are first assaulted, and then have to go through the details of that assault over and over again, and then have to testify and be cross examined, and then hear a judge say that while the victim may be telling the truth, the court has a reasonable doubt about that and therefore the abuser walks free, is too high.

      Change has to come in attitudes, and for the most part that is in the opinions men hold towards women. Sorry, but it is true. So long as rape myths exist, rape will exist.


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      davie says:

      You may be right about universities’ abilities to deal with murders and robberies. But I think some universities have campus police who are fairly well trained, and where they are, perhaps they would have special focus on the types of conflicts that might occur on a campus.

      Gayle, in the 1960’s I sat through a couple of rape trials in Winnipeg, and my main memory was of being appalled at what the defense was able to use against the victim. I was also surprise by the jury decisions to let go guys who, to me, were guilty.
      More recently I got to work with teenagers during the 1990’s in school for kids who could not or were not in mainstream schools. Things seemed a bit better regarding sexual assault, but not that much. Hard for anyone to live with fear and, oddly, disgust with themselves, but with teens it can be debilitating.
      A tough part is to balance protecting the privacy of an already wronged person with getting the public traction to really address in public the mythology that you mention. Remember in recent decades the difficulty with this balance regarding gay and lesbian people and the difficulties in trying to change that mythology.


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    Hugh Whalen says:

    “Everyone deserves to be believed.”

    So if a woman says she was raped, she deserves to be believed. And if a man says she was not, he deserves to be believed.

    Seriously?


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      Gayle says:

      If that is the only thing you took from my comment, there is no point discussing this any further with you.

      Good luck.

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