At a June 14, 1998 meeting of representatives of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres, the representatives of C.A.S.A.C decided to protest the treatment of Aboriginal women victimized by Hubert O’Connor and the Canadian courts.
C.A.S.A.C protests the “offer” of a healing circle instead of a proper conviction. The healing that should have happened here was a guilty plea on the part of Hubert O’Connor six years ago and failing that, a conviction with appropriate sentencing.
We are appalled to hear that Marilyn Belleau like so many other women experienced the court processes as collusionary with her attacker. She describes being willing to settle for the healing circle as “it was nice to get out of the control of the court system and out of the control of O’Connor himself.”
“To define this as restorative justice is to say that restorative justice is about restoring men to the improper power they had to conduct the rapes in the first place,” says Lee Lakeman, B.C. regional representative to the C.A.S.A.C.
C.A.S.A.C. questions the acceptability of a Healing Circle in which Aboriginal women are expected to balance the power of the provincial government, the federal government, the defence bar and the interests of the Catholic Church. We challenge any notion of this as a progressive community process.