February 27, 2011

Discussion: Judge Robert Dewar's Ruling on Rape

Come to the Bulman Centre, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave, on Tuesday, March 1 at 7:00 pm to continue the discussion about what demands should be made of Judge Dewar, the government that appointed him and the justice system in general.

This is a followup of the Rally against Judge Robert Dewar’s rape case ruling.  The rally was held at the Manitoba Law Courts Building on Friday, February 25, because Judge Dewar said: 
"inviting circumstances" and survivor’s attire make rapist less morally responsible for rape.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Alanna Makinson
Canadian Federation of Students–Manitoba 
204-783-0787 (office)
204-997-8269 (cell)

Women’s Centres are appalled that a Manitoba Judge seems to be holding a Thompson rape survivor responsible for her rapist’s actions, on the basis of her sexuality and attire at the time of the incident. The centres point out that survivors of crimes such as theft or assault are not blamed for the perpetrators’ actions, yet women continue to be re-traumatised in the courtroom because some judges fail to understand the legal meaning of “no means no”. 

“Judge Dewar was wrong to question what the woman was wearing the night that she was raped,” states Alanna Makinson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students–Manitoba. “Flirting, a short skirt, or a kiss never implies consent to intercourse.”

Added Joan Dawkins, Executive Director of the Women’s Health Clinic: “When a judge ignores the reality of sexual violence and blames a woman for the actions of her attacker, he not only harms the woman but makes it that much more difficult for the next victim to come forward and trust the judicial process. The result – rapists go free.”

The Canadian Federation of Students–Manitoba is calling on Judge Dewar to apologise for his ruling and be held accountable for his failure to understand that there is no such thing as “implied consent”. The level of moral responsibility assigned to a convicted rapist should not hinge on his victim’s attire or sexuality.

“To suggest that a rapist is less guilty because he was ‘insensitive’ to the fact that the victim was not a willing participant is irresponsible,” states Katie Haig-Anderson, Women’s Commissioner of the Canadian Federation of Students–Manitoba. “If a person is not a willing participant in a sexual interaction, if she does not give consent, then that is sexual assault. Judge Dewar has muddied the waters, and he should get some education on this issue, as well as apologise to the rape survivor, to the justice system and to the Manitobans serves.”

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