Opinion: Judge Continues Pathetic Tradition Of Blaming The Victim

Vancouver Sun
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Judge continues pathetic tradition of blaming the victim

By Daisy Kler, Vancouver Sun March 2, 2011

Re: Convicted rapist avoids jail because 'sex was in the air', Feb. 24

Manitoba Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar's sentencing decision was based on an astoundingly sexist and ignorant view of what constitutes consent. To predicate his sentencing decision by deciding the convicted rapist, Kenneth Rhodes, was a "clumsy Don Juan" and that this was a case of "misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behaviour" flies in the face of Canadian sexual assault laws and the work of feminist anti-violence workers.

The law states that you cannot use the defence that you believed you had consent: You actually have to get it and the accused had to have taken "reasonable steps" to ascertain that he had it.

Although Rhodes was convicted, the judge displayed his sexist bias in the sentencing. Canada's laws on what constitutes consent are pretty good, thanks to feminists who assisted in their creation. The judge might want to reread them.

You can find the legal definition of consent at: www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/faq/what-legal-definitionconsent.

His comments send the message to women that they are somehow to blame for their sexual assaults. Women already are rightfully skeptical that the courts will deliver justice; this judge's backward views do nothing to raise our confidence.

Daisy Kler

Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter

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Click here to see response to Dewar's decision