Tag Archives: victims

Hollywood’s Cover-Ups or Indonesia’s Castration Method: How Should We Deal With Pedophiles?

The sexual assault of a child is the most abhorrent crime in the world. As a society we curse those who commit such crimes and refuse to recognize them as anything but outsiders and deviants. Unfortunately, pedophilia is far more common than we care to admit.

Former child actors Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman recently drew attention to the problem of pedophilia in Hollywood. While Wood only pointed to events he had heard about (and last year’s documentary film, An Open Secret), Feldman referred to his own experience with abuse

Unfortunately for Feldman, even if he would like to call out the men who abused him as a child he is unable to do so for legal reasons:

I would love to name names. I’d love to be the first to do it. But unfortunately California conveniently enough has a statute of limitations that prevents that from happening. Because if I were to go and mention anybody’s name I would be the one that would be in legal problems and I’m the one that would be sued.

In a stark juxtaposition to Hollywood, Indonesia is also in the news for their dealings with pedophiles. After a 14-year-old girl was brutally gang raped and then murdered, President Joko Widodo introduced a new law that would mean the death penalty or chemical castration for the sexual assault of a minor.

After reading about the injustice of Hollywood, where survivors are unable to prosecute the predators who took advantage of them, reading about Indonesia can feel like a breath of fresh air. However, it’s worth looking beyond our gut reaction to ask if forced chemical castration, and the possibility of the death penalty, will actually work as a deterrent against the sexual assault of a minor. Continue reading

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The Remnants of Colonization in La Loche: What Factors Lead to Tragedy?

On January 22nd, a 17-year-old student killed four individuals in La Loche, Saskatchewan.

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The four victims of the La Loche shooting, Adam Wood, Marie Janvier, and Dayne and Drayden Fontaine.

When I first heard about this heartbreaking tragedy I was shocked. Since then, I’ve been reading more and more about the town of La Loche in order to better understand the context of what happened. Below I’ve shared some of what I’ve learned about the situation this small Northern town has faced.

1. Rural isolation

Canada has become an urban nation, so the city is where most of our jobs and resources are.

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In some ways the popular Canadian cliche of a “vast, empty wilderness” is still true today. Just like the “discovery” of Canada – when a country filled with many different nations was considered “empty” by explorers – today Canadians still consider the jobless pockets of Northern Canada “empty”.

While settler-Canadians have congregated primarily in the region of Canada closest to the American border, First Nations peoples still tend to be the majority in Northern rural areas. In La Loche, for example, more than 2,400 of the 2,600 community members identify as First Nations or Metis.

However, these communities have changed considerably since “the discovery” of Canada. Generations of First Nations peoples were forced to give up their cultural practices during their time in the Residential school system, which lasted from the 1870s all the way into the 1990s. They also gave up huge portions of land to white settlers. Not as a gift, but in an exchange drafted out in treaties that the Canadian government has yet to honour.

First Nations communities continue to survive, despite the loss of many traditional practices and lands. While these communities struggle to overcome their isolation, many settler-Canadians continue to ask why they don’t move south to find more jobs and a “better lifestyle”. In her article responding to this question, Susanna Kelley argues that many rural reserve members are forced to give up their land and community support if they want to find employment and education.

“First of all, the overwhelming majority of [rural] reserve residents have not completed high school and have no place to work once they hit the urban south. And many fly in reserves don’t have high schools.  Would you like to send your 13-year-old to live 70 km. away for months at a time?

Many who do come to the cities end up in the sex and drug trade.  They simply are unqualified to make a living other ways…

Which is why many [First Nations] people stay where they are, close to family and their community.

But what most Canadians don’t know is that our nation is legally bound to provide housing, health care and education to [First Nations people] who live on reserves.

The federal government isn’t just doing it out of the goodness of its heart.

The obligation comes from legally binding agreements made by treaty many years ago.”

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Two Things Forgiveness Should Never Mean (i.e. Learning from the Duggars)

On May 19th In Touch Weekly published an article alleging that when Josh Duggar was a teenager, he molested five underage girls, including several of his sisters.

I didn’t want to write about the Duggars, but I felt compelled to. I wanted to write about this case because I am a Christian, so I understand a lot of the rhetoric of forgiveness that the Duggars and their supporters have used to explain their stance towards the eldest son. However, I am also a feminist, and I have seen the effects of sexual violence on the lives of people I love. So for this post, I want to explain why the Duggar’s act of forgiveness doesn’t make me angry, instead, it is the decisions they made along with that gift of forgiveness that have left me in disbelief.

We Need Forgiveness More Than We Realize

Those of you who know me in person have probably chatted with me about Christianity. I’ve struggled with it a lot over the last few years, and considered throwing the label out the window altogether. However, there are a few things that keep pulling me back to the faith I grew up in. One of these things is the tenant of forgiveness.

You have probably all heard some kind of variation of the quote I included above. While most of these sayings have essentially become cliches, I honestly believe the act of forgiveness can help wounded individuals in their journey of healing. In my own life, I’ve had experiences that could have easily led me to foster an intense bitterness towards certain individuals. The theology I grew up with helped me to understand those individuals as damaged people, which made it much easier to move on from those events.

The tenant of forgiveness extends far beyond the Christian faith. Forgiveness is a valued aspect of most world religions, and is even recognized by doctors and psychologists as a key part of healing. However, there are certain aspects about the Duggar case that undermine their appeal to forgiveness. Continue reading

Jian Ghomeshi Part II: What Should We Do With Our Monsters?

It’s been a little over a week since the news about Ghomeshi went viral. Since the news first hit, nine women have come forward anonymously to the media and three have already reported their case to the police.

The increasing number of testimonies has pretty well solidified his guilt in the public eye, and everyone from the PR firm he hired to the musician he managed have withdrawn their support from him.

Since Ghomeshi was a familiar presence in most Canadian homes, many Canadians felt personally betrayed by his actions. When my husband, John, tried to identify his own interest in the case, he explained it like this,

“When you hear someone’s voice so often, you start to feel like you know who they are. So when you discover the truth about terrible things they have done, it’s shocking to realize that you never really knew them at all.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve have heard about the terrible things familiar faces (or in this case, voices) have done. The difference is, in the past, we have tried to forget the monsters hidden in the public men and women we admire. Continue reading

Jian Ghomeshi vs. The Women: 4 Reasons Why Liking Q Isn’t a Good Enough Reason to Defend Him

There’s been a lot of big news Canada over the last week. On Wednesday, a mentally ill man shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a soldier who was guarding the National War Memorial, before storming the Parliament building. The shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was then shot by 58-year-old Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, preventing any more casualties.

According to CBC’s sources, Vickers “dove to the floor around the pillar [where Bibeau was shooting from], turning on his back as he landed and simultaneously firing his weapon upwards at Bibeau”. Pretty impressive for an almost-60-year-old.

Yet the story of Cirillo’s death and Vicker’s heroism was quickly pushed aside when the news about Jian Ghomeshi hit.

When John and I first heard that Ghomeshi was going on leave we didn’t think much of it, and both said, “Well, we know he isn’t going to get fired. People love Q.”

Famous last words eh?

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Sell Sex Pt. III: Bill C-36, Human Trafficking, and Sex Work (Was I Wrong?)

In one of my early posts on the blog I shared about a fundraiser I organized with one of my best friends. The two of us had both stumbled across the shocking reality of human trafficking and been horrified. Most of my experience was just through reading about it (primarily in Benjamin Perrin’s book Invisible Chains), whereas she had met human trafficking survivors while attending Salvation Army War College.

We felt frustrated, and helpless, but we wanted to do something, anything to prevent it from happening to more vulnerable individuals.

After discussing it a few times, we decided to create some kind of event where we could raise awareness for human trafficking here in Canada. We even created a petition that advocated for the “Nordic Model” of prostitution law. This model was advocated by Perrin in his book and basically entails attacking the demand side of prostitution rather than the supply, specifically by making the purchase of sex illegal, rather than the sale. In theory, this means that the individuals who are victimized by the sex industry would be protected, while those who are perpetuating human trafficking  or contributing to the prostitution demand would be punished.

So I should be really excited now that Canada is currently debating a bill that would change our current prostitution laws to something much more in line with the Nordic Model, right?

Well, I’m suddenly not so sure.

Bill C-36 was introduced by Justice Minister Peter McKay near the beginning of June. Continue reading

University Rape

We recently had a comment on our Facebook page asking for our opinion on an article that asks its readers if college rankings [could] solve the campus rape crisis.

In light of this topic, you may be asking yourself if university rape is actually a current crisis. I have asked myself the same thing, since I am currently a university student and have never felt threatened on campus. Unfortunately, rape seems to be a very troubling reality in post-secondary schools- it just doesn’t take usually happen in the way we  tend to picture.

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