According to an article in the July 22nd Whitehorse Star under the headline Ex-cadet committed sexual assault, court rules, Judge Luther found the “complainant foolish to have allowed the defendant to lie in his bed at that hour, and foolish to have allowed the defendant to persuade him to play the game.”
Rather than calling victims of sexualized assault foolish, we should be acknowledging the bravery and effort it took for them to come forward, report the crime committed against them and go through the criminal justice system. How long was this young man’s life put on hold while this case was being prosecuted? How did the process of telling complete strangers on numerous occasions the details of the sexualized assault — to then be called foolish — impact this young man? Will he want to come forward again should he experience another sexualized assault? What message has this case sent to young Yukoners who are the most likely to experience sexualized assault?
Instead of suggesting a victim is to blame for their assailant’s actions, we should be holding offenders accountable for their choice to commit violence. This young man asked his assailant to stop repeatedly. He did not consent. that is what matters. That he didn’t mention that he was wearing drawstring pants does not, nor does the fact that he didn’t do more to stop his assailant.
This young man was asked to play a game, he said no. This young man was touched and he said no. This young man was asked to go to another location with the offender and he said no. He said no!
Members of the Yukon Women’s Coalition:
Yukon Women’s Transition Home Society
Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre
Yukon Status of Women Council
Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council