April 24, 2009

In the news this week (April 24, 2009)

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:12 pm by sacetalks

A preliminary inquiry has been delayed in case where a man pretended to be a military doctor in order to perform “pelvic exams” on a homeless teen who was staying with him and his wife:
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Metro/1118091.html

A retired Toronto doctor is charged with four counts of sexual assault after a survivor came forward to report about ongoing abuse that occurred between 1983 and 1990. Police fear there may be more victims yet to come forward:
http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Crime/article/623373

A 71-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease was sexually assaulted by the driver of the accessible taxi she needed to use to get home:
http://www.yorkregion.com/article/90989

In Lethbridge, a woman was sexually assaulted in a hospital emergency room. She had taken time to comfort a young boy who was there with an older male relative. After she was moved into the treatment area, the older man found her and sexually assaulted her:
http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/content/view/51988/26/

A woman walking through one of Calgary’s Plus-15 indoor walkways at 6:30 in the evening was pushed against a wall and groped by an unknown man:
http://www.am770chqr.com/News/Local/Story.aspx?ID=1085140

The man charged in a series of assaults along bike paths in Nepean pled guilty to six counts of sexual assaults and two counts of invitation to sexual touching. His assaults generally occurred in the daytime as students were on their way home from school:
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Nepean+pleads+guilty+sexual+assult/1526418/story.html

Michael Stratton pled guilty to numerous charges relating to the sexual abuse of girls as young as six years old. Whitby police compiled more than 300 charges against Stratton over three years after his initial arrest. Police seized 60 tapes documenting more than 90 hours of abuse. Stratton obtained the trust of girls and their families, taking them on trips to Canada’s Wonderland and McDonald’s and having girls sleep over at his home:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/04/21/michael-stratton.html

A man befriended a single mother in Toronto so that he could gain access to her seven-year-old son. He intentionally developed enough trust with the family that the child called him “grandpa” and his mother trusted him as a caregiver when she became ill. Mumford had five previous convictions involving the sexual abuse of boys, but he did not tell the child’s mother about his history:
http://www.thestar.com/GTA/Crime/article/623710

The former manager of operations services for High River is to be sentenced next week for a vicious sexual assault against a young boy. The man was visiting the child’s mother at her home when the assault took place. Piguet’s lawyer claims his actions were the result of extreme intoxication, not “sexual deviancy”, and is arguing for a minimal sentence:
http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Alberta/2009/04/21/9184936-sun.html

A Nova Scotia police officer who is already under suspension for two charges of criminal harassment related to stalking has now also been charged with sexual assault. All three charges are based on reports made by three different women:
http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1117699.html

In all these cases, there is a common thread: in each situation, the survivor trusted the person who assaulted them or was in a situation where they felt safe. All these cases were in the news over the past week and are only Canadian cases, so this is just one small sample.

The prevalence of this sort of situation shows how our ideas of sexual assault are so out of sync with reality. The survivors in these cases weren’t walking alone late at night. There was no man in the bushes with a ski mask or predator in a white van. These ideas about sexual assault deny the reality: people are sexually assaulted because perpetrators choose to assault them. Hospital emergency rooms are supposed to be safe places; doctors are supposed to be trustworthy; women with Alzheimer’s are supposed to be able to take accessible taxis; children are supposed to be able to walk home from school.

The reality is that sexual assault doesn’t follow the tips. Perpetrators don’t look at the list of rules we give women and decide that therefore they can’t commit an assault in the daytime or in a “safe” location. Survivors are people of all ages and genders in all kinds of circumstances. None of them wanted or deserved to be sexually assaulted.

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