June 25, 2010

This week in the news (June 18 – 25, 2010)

Posted in Age of consent, Child Sexual Abuse, Current Events, Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (Rape Drugs), Intimate Partner Violence, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming at 10:06 pm by sacetalks

The following is a list of news articles and editorials on sexual assault in communities across the globe (over the past 7 days).  Many of the articles below may contain victim-blaming language, distortion of information which supports sexual assault myths, and/or triggering content.  What these articles do showcase is the prevalence of sexual assault (given that only a small percentage of the 1 in 10 sexual assaults in Canada which are reported receive media attention, several articles on sexual assault within one week indicate a huge number of assaults), what kinds of sexual assaults are reported and how rampant sexual assault myths are.  Please be aware that SACE does not support the content or delivery of any of the following news pieces.

Edmonton

Victim in Svekla child sex assault files suit

Alberta

Woman’s complaint leads to sex assault charge against Okotoks massage therapist

Walker guilty of sexual assault

Court dismisses sex offender’s appeal

Man convicted in butcher knife attack sentenced to prison

Judge warns of rising ‘degree of violence’ in sentencing high-risk sex offender

Rape suspect could be in Alberta

Crown seeks jail for sex offender for violating release conditions

Canada

US man facing sex charge in Saskatchewan

Man jailed 27 years for sexual assaults appeals conviction

Crown to seek adult sentences in Victoria teen slaying

Exams were purely medical, MD tells sexual assault trial

Nanny pleads quilty to sexual assault

Defence rests at sexual assault trial

Man Charged In Sexual Assaults

Police seek sex assault suspect

Woman sexually assaulted by 2 males in park, say cops

Saskatoon Police Hunt For Sexual Assault Suspect

Woman Attacked Along Academy Road

Winnipeg soccer coach charged with sex abuse of girl

Sex assault victims close to settlement

Second alleged ‘Westdale flasher’ arrested

Abbotsford teacher faces sex charges involving 15-year-old student

RCMP investigating sexual assault in rural town

Sexual assault hearing against Truro man to be heard in Halifax

Man guilty in luring case ‘blind’ to victim’s age

Former Penguin boss claims relationship consensual

Sask. man convicted of sexually assaulting sleeping disabled woman

Sexual assault between Freeman Street and Gillet Street

No breach of Aziga’s rights

Comox Valley teens being lured to sex parties: RCMP

Reliving her nightmare

Axe-wielding man seeks vigilante justice

Ottawa police seek man wanted in Central Park sex assault

Williams case adjourned for one month

Coach accused of sexual relationship with girl, 17

Consent for sex didn’t apply to twin, appeal court rules

Man facing sex assault charge

Male Arrested and charged for Sexual Offences

Molester ‘Grandpa’ pleads guilty

TRENTON ASSAULT

Police warn parents of ‘grooming’

Charges laid in NHS assault

We need justice, not grandstanding

Parliament Passes Bill to Prevent Homolka Pardon

Man guilty of Courtice assault collecting three-for-one time

Shedding light on elder abuse

Multiple abuse sufferer finally finds some solace at assault centre

Craig to plead guilty to peace bond breach

Hospital worker forced to leave after racial, sexual harassment

Safety concerns raised after sex assault in Glebe park

Stumbling on issue of children at risk

People take offender concerns online

Intimate relations in nursing homes

Doctor banned from hospital

Charges dismissed

A tale of torture

Two more years in jail for sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl

Police say offender at shelter

Sex offender will have extra conditions

Man gets 18 months for sexual assault of babysitter

International

No charges in Al Gore sex allegation

Female condom helps catch attackers, doctor says

Lawrence Taylor indicted on New York rape charge

Sexual assault accusation against Mets’ Santana thrown out

Man denies rape and burglary ‘Night Stalker’ charges

Fat Joe Questioned About Sexual Assault Complaint In Madison, WI

Deputy US marshal ‘shocked’ to find fugitive from Texas rape case working as cop in Bahamas

Catholic church accused of fraud in US, allowing alleged molester priest to work in Mexico

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June 17, 2010

Pride in the face of violence

Posted in Current Events, hate crimes, homophobia, Rape Culture, transphobia at 11:04 pm by sacetalks

Posters of Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard on the Womonspace float at Edmonton's 2010 Pride Parade.

The Womonspace float at Edmonton's 2010 Pride Parade included memorial posters for Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard. Photo courtesy of Paula Kirman (sacredsocialjustice.com).

It’s Pride Week in Edmonton, time to celebrate LGBTTIQQA people and culture. As sexual minority and gender variant people have become more and more accepted and as more legal gains have been made, Pride for many has become more about the party than the politics. However, it’s important for us to remember why Pride is such an important event for our communities and recognize that this celebration is still one part of the ongoing fight for all of us to live free of oppression and violence in a just and equal society.

According to Statistics Canada’s newly-released report, “Police-reported hate crime in Canada, 2008”, hate crimes in Canada in 2008 rose by 35% from the previous year. The largest increase was in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, which rose by 124%. Although some of that increase may be related to better reporting, homophobic violence in Canada appears to be on the rise, with a 127% increase in hate crimes where the victim was identified as gay or lesbian. The most common targets for these crimes are gay men (although 15% of identified victims were female). Even more disturbing is the fact that 75% of these incidents were violent offenses. Although most of these were minor assaults, about half of all hate-crime homicides were motivated by “biases related to sexual orientation”.

However, incidents designated as hate crimes by police are not the only acts of violence against sexual minorities. According to another Statistics Canada report from 2008, this one on “Sexual Orientation and Victimization”, LGB people were more likely to be targets of violent crime than heterosexuals from similar demographic groups. Even controlling for other factors that affect a person’s likelihood of experiencing a crime, gays and lesbians were nearly twice as likely to be victims as their peers. For bisexuals, this rate was even higher at 4.5 times that of the comparable general population. Without controlling for issues such as age, income, living in an urban area, and other contributing risk factors, the numbers were even higher for gays and lesbians at 2.5 times the average, with bisexuals experiencing 4 times the average rate of violent victimization. Spousal violence risks are also higher for all groups, with rates of 15% for lesbians or gays and 28% for bisexuals (heterosexuals have a rate of 7%). Unfortunately, this report did not include other groups — the lack of information on violence against trans people is a glaring absence and a prime example of the erasure of trans experience from academic discourses — but it does illustrate that sexual orientation is a factor in the experience of violence, even when people are not marginalized in other ways as well.

Stats for hate crimes in Edmonton are a bit more positive. We have a lower than average rate of hate crimes overall in Canada (although we have a higher rate of racially-motivated crimes), and 2008 saw only four police-reported hate crimes related to sexual orientation. The Pride Centre’s Brendan Van Alstine commented to the Edmonton Sun that “Edmonton is a pretty tolerant city,” which may contribute to our lower rate. However, homophobic violence does occur in the city: the best-known incident in the last few months is the hate-motivated assault by a 14-year-old boy on Shannon Barry. Violence like this is a powerful reminder that we still need to fight homophobia and transphobia in Edmonton.

In the face of this violence, why does the carnival atmosphere of Pride matter? Some might suggest we should march the streets in anger, shouting our outrage as loudly as we can. And sometimes we should. However, the celebration of Pride is also a powerful force in standing up against homophobic and transphobic violence. By showing that we are unashamed to openly walk the downtown streets, we show that hate will not make us vanish or send us back to hide in the closet. By celebrating who we are, we show that we are a part of our communities and that we do not need to blend in to be equal citizens. And by taking joy in our many queer communities coming together, we show our city and our world that we are strong, resilient, and thriving. Pride can encompass both the partying and the politics, and at its best and most powerful, that mix is the heart of what Pride is all about.

The Womonspace float

Womonspace float. Photo courtesy of Paula Kirman (sacredsocialjustice.com)

Queer Muslims and Allies in Edmonton's 2010 Pride Parade

Queer Muslims and Allies at the 2010 Edmonton Pride Parade. Photo courtesy of Paula Kirman (sacredsocialjustice.com)

Trans Equality Society of Alberta, Edmonton Pride Parade 2010

Trans Equality Society of Alberta, Edmonton Pride Parade 2010. Photo courtesy of Paula Kirman (sacredsocialjustice.com).

June 11, 2010

This week in the news (June 4 – 11, 2010)

Posted in Age of consent, Child Sexual Abuse, Current Events, Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (Rape Drugs), Intimate Partner Violence, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming at 8:12 pm by sacetalks

The following is a list of news articles and editorials on sexual assault in communities across the globe (over the past 7 days).  Many of the articles below may contain victim-blaming language, distortion of information which supports sexual assault myths, and/or triggering content.  What these articles do showcase is the prevalence of sexual assault (given that only a small percentage of the 1 in 10 sexual assaults in Canada which are reported receive media attention, several articles on sexual assault within one week indicate a huge number of assaults), what kinds of sexual assaults are reported and how rampant sexual assault myths are.  Please be aware that SACE does not support the content or delivery of any of the following news pieces.

Alberta

Calgary LRT killer files appeal

Local briefs – June 10

Kidnap, rape ‘exaggerated’

Canada

Man charged after sexual assault at Humber Bay Park West

Former Saskatoon doctor Krishna Vittala found guilty of sexual assault

Sexual assault trial against Dr. Edward Poon opens in Regina

Female patients testify that Regina doctor touched them inappropriately

Man who touched girl convicted of sexual assault

Cops need help in sex assault mystery

New sex-assault charges laid against alleged police-killer

Sexsomnia more common than Toronto researchers thought

Testing faith in niqab case is fair, complainant agrees

Niqab fight goes to top Ont. court

Kelowna rapist gets 5-year prison term

Teen, 16, stalked women with rape kit

Coquitlam teacher charged again

Saanich man extradited from England to face charges of sex offences against children

Trenton man facing two sexual assault charges

Truro, NS, men not guilty of sex assault

Jury to deliberate on sexual assault case today

Police release composite sketch of sexual assault suspect

Teen sentenced in truth-or-dare sex assault

Lindsay man pleads guilty to sexual assault

Desmond released from jail

Girl at risk because mom supports pedophile stepdad: Judge

Sicamous man gets one year in prison for sexual assault

‘High risk’ offender arrested for harassment

CAS shaken by ‘horrific’ abuse

Diocese, province settle with sex assault victims

Deportation delayed for sex assault suspect

Court documents provide first glimpse of Col. Williams’ wife’s devastation

Man appeals skywalk sex assault conviction

Person of interest wanted in connection to sex assault case

St. Catharines teen arrested in park sex attack

Another new charge for man accused of spreading HIV in Ottawa

Hunt on for high-risk sex offender missing from Vancouver halfway house

Killer admits to assault on sex-trade worker

Sex assault complaints up

HIV non-disclosure and the law in Canada

Aurora man charged with 8 counts of sex assault

‘Groundbreaking’ project helps abused women

Man accused of assaulting four co-workers

Sex offender gets day parole

Woman sexually assaulted in Mississauga. Composite released

Freedom brief for high-risk offender

Manitoba groups oppose pardon changes

Man gets four years for branding niece with machete

Teenager charged with raping Staines woman

Two-year prison sentence sought for man who had sexual intercourse with young daughter

Man gets nine months for assaulting prison guard

Parents warned about online predators

Bail delayed as HIV accused remains in custody

Not a done deal yet

Court records: What you can see and what you can’t

Badgerow’s fate in jury’s hands

Civil servant removed from taxicab board

International

Green Bay Packer accused of sexual assault

Packers’ Underwood facing sexual assault claim

Police: Money Exchanged Between Packer And Accuser

Ben Roethlisberger: I was dumb, young and immature

Kristen Stewart Apologizes for Paparazzi-Rape Comparison

Ex-CIA Official Pleads Guilty to Sex, Weapon and Cocaine Charges

Children behind Israeli bars

Britney Spears accused of sexual assault

June 10, 2010

Under the age of consent: it’s not sex, it’s sexual assault

Posted in Age of consent, Child Sexual Abuse, Current Events, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming at 8:04 pm by sacetalks

A recent news item about a “sex contest” among grade 11 and 12 students at a BC high school arrived in my email inbox a few days ago thanks to a colleague. According to the story, the group of male students had planned a “game” where they would compete to see who could have sex with the most girls. Offensive enough, but the story becomes more disturbing because of the targets of the boys’ game: grade 8 girls.

Grade 11 and 12 students generally range in age from 16 to 19 years old, while grade 8 students are usually 13 to 14 years old. Let’s take a look at the age of consent in Canada. Our basic age of consent is 16 years old, which means that at 16, a person is considered to be able to take in the available information on sex and sexuality and decide what they want to do. However, there are some exceptions that apply to youth under 16*:
  • “Close in Age”
    • This applies to youth ages 14 and 15
    • Can consent to someone up to (but not including) five years older
    • For age 14, this means someone not older than 18
    • For age 15, this is someone not older than 19
  • “Peer experimentation”
    • Applies to youth ages 12 and 13
    • Can consent to someone up to (but not including) two years older
    • For age 12, this is someone not older than 13
    • For age 13, this is someone not older than 14

What this means is that for grade 8 students, many of them are not able to give consent to the average grade 11 or 12 student. Most youth do not turn 14 until at least halfway the school year, many of them not until after they complete grade 8. In these cases, if that older teen had sexual contact with that 13-year-old grade 8 student, that wouldn’t be sex. That’s sexual assault, plain and simple. However, the article refers to this as “sex with someone under 14” even when describing how the RCMP visited the school to explain the Criminal Code.

We have a social tendency to label sexual contact with someone under the age of consent as not-really sexual assault when the young person is in their early teens. Many people see it as inappropriate, but often, it’s viewed as less harmful than other types of sexual assault. Sometimes, they may feel that the young person behaved “seductively” or was a willing participant. However, this is claiming consent where no consent can legally exist: that younger person is not able to consent, and it is the older person’s responsibility not to abuse or exploit that youth, not to manipulate them, and to ensure that young person is really old enough to give consent. For a much older teen to use his age, more mature developmental status, and his social status as a high school student to obtain sexual contact with a grade 8 girl is exploitative and constitutes sexual assault. The girl he targets may experience similar effects to other survivors of sexual assault who were exploited, pressured, or coerced into sexual contact. So why do we keep calling this sex when it’s sexual assault?

Then there’s the response of the school. The article states that the school is instituting a program to teach self-respect to teens. Self-respect is a great thing to teach youth, but as a sexual assault prevention strategy, it falls far short of what’s needed. Exploitation of youth by people much older than them isn’t about whether those youth respect themselves; it’s about whether that older person chooses to abuse someone who is not old enough to give consent for sex. Genuine prevention would talk about respect for others: respect for the right to say no, the right to have positive consensual sexual experiences, and the right of youth to live free from abuse. Additionally, the RCMP’s statement that “sex with someone under age 14 is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison” also fails to address the fact that sexual exploitation is wrong, whether or not you get caught and go to jail.

Unfortunately, much of the response to this sort of incident is a moral outcry about teen sex. This response fails youth in two ways. First of all, it denies that what is happening in this situation is sexual assault, not sex. Secondly, it denies the possibility for youth to have positive, consensual sexual experiences with partners who are of an appropriate age. Young people engage in sexual activity: no matter how uncomfortable it makes some people, teen sex has been around forever. We need to provide factual sexual health education that includes positive messages about sexuality, the right to consent to wanted sexual activity, the right to say no to any unwanted sexual contact, and the responsibility to respect people’s choices about their bodies and their sexuality. And above all, we need to stop talking about sexual assault like it’s sex.

*A couple of other important elements of age of consent to note. No person under the age of 12 can consent to sexual contact at any time. Also, no person under the age of 18 can consent to sexual contact with a person over 18 who is in a position of power, trust, or authority.

June 4, 2010

This week in the news (May 28 – June 4)

Posted in Child Sexual Abuse, Current Events, Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (Rape Drugs), Intimate Partner Violence, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming at 9:58 pm by sacetalks

The following is a list of news articles and editorials on sexual assault in communities across the globe (over the past 7 days).  Many of the articles below may contain victim-blaming language, distortion of information which supports sexual assault myths, and/or triggering content.  What these articles do showcase is the prevalence of sexual assault (given that only a small percentage of the 1 in 10 sexual assaults in Canada which are reported receive media attention, several articles on sexual assault within one week indicate a huge number of assaults), what kinds of sexual assaults are reported and how rampant sexual assault myths are.  Please be aware that SACE does not support the content or delivery of any of the following news pieces.

Edmonton

Edmonton daycare owner charged with sexual assault

Convicted child molester in court

Accused in 1981 cabbie murder raped prostitute

Svekla declared dangerous offender

A poster boy for indefinite sentences

Alberta

Sex Assault Case Against Grande Prairie Coach Adjourned To Next Month

Violent criminal may be deemed long-term offender

Canada

Toronto teacher charged in two separate sex assaults of male student

Teen arrested in Toronto nursing home assaults

Three women report sexual assaults along bike path

Charges in alleged sexual assault dropped

Sexual assault questions unanswered

Sask. man convicted of sexually assaulting teen

Raymond Lahey denies former Mount Cashel resident’s abuse claims

School division employee charged with sexual assault

Accuser testifies in NS sex-assault trial

Sex abuse victims say church is still tenaciously fighting claims

Crown wraps up sexual assault case

Ottawa school defends response to alleged sex attack

Man, 20, acquitted, won’t be deported

Woman assaulted in parkade

Sex assault suspect sketch released

Help is out there for victims of domestic abuse

Police seek help catching Westdale sex assault suspect

High-risk offender to live in Listowel

Police investigate incident in Queensway Terrace North area

Time served for man who tried to arrange sex with child

EDITORIAL: Difficult to understand sentencing

Woodstock Teacher Facing Sex Assault Charges Back in Court in November

Soldier sex suspect kept in jail

Kate-Christine Miller: The arts and crafts of a movement

Man in standoff ‘feared police would beat him up’

Crown seeks 5 years for ‘career criminal’

Ex-Ashbury student defends Boston incident as a ‘prank’

Ending abuse cycle key for immigrants

Woman fights off sex attack by HIV-Hep C positive man

Canada’s top soldier in Afghanistan ousted

Woman violently sexually assaulted at knifepoint

The Hill: Toews’ pitch to revive rape charge

Spectator fined $4500 for violating court identity ban

Teen sexually assaulted

Whitehorse man who violently raped two women gets 12 years behind bars

Man gets nine months for two assaults

Man used biker claims to terrorize girlfriends

New workplace violence law coming

Women air ‘dirty laundry’ for a cause

Clachers is broke

Teen charged after groping girl

Rehabilitation unlikely for ‘cold’ killer

Young women active in addressing inequalities

We’re ready to tackle crime in Nunavik, KRPF says

City teacher cleared

Four caught in Internet child porn sweep

La Ronge man not guilty

Hundreds march against violence in West End

Courtroom doors closed to public

Another charge laid in HIV-disclosure case

Local leaders needed

Judge to decide if man should register as sex offender

Jury fails to reach verdict in sex assault case after first day of deliberation

Ex Surrey pastor with porn fixation denied parole

Jail sentence given for touching girls, 12, and 16

Toronto teacher charged with having child porn

International

Statistics Show Football Linked to Increase in Domestic Violence

Kristen Stewart sorry for rape remark

Gene Simmons Strikes Back Against Accuser

Liberian teen gets probation in gang-rape of 8-year-old girl

Daniel Wozniak: Murder Charges for Samuel Herr, Juri Kibuishi

Pope refused defrocking of convicted priest

Roethlisberger back at Steelers practice

Israel faces child abuse claims

Knox accused of slandering Italian police

Immigration detainees allegedly groped