No One Asks to be Raped


Judge Dispels The Myth Of The ‘Perfect’ Rape Victim In Powerful Verdict

“No one asks to be raped.”

 

An illustration from the day in court that Judge Marvin Zuker announced Mustafa Ururyar’s guilty verdict. 

“For much of our history, the ‘good’ rape victim, the ‘credible’ rape victim has been a dead one.”

That’s just one of the many powerful statements Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker said in court last week while delivering his verdict in a Canadian university rape case. The judge announced that he found the defendant guilty of sexual assault and proceeded to point out the insidious effects of victim-blaming in his 179-page verdict.

“The myths of rape should be dispelled once and for all,” Judge Zuker read aloud in court last Thursday. “We cannot perpetuate the belief that niceness cannot coexist with violence, evil or deviance, and consequently the nice guy must not be guilty of the alleged offense.”

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Ururyar found guilty of sexually assaulting York U student Mandi Gray. ” Rape it was” @CityNews

The case, which began in February, involved Mustafa Ururyar and Mandi Gray, two doctoral students at Toronto’s York University. According to The Guardian, the two had been casually dating when Gray went to Ururyar’s apartment one night in January 2015.

As the two made their way back to Ururyar’s apartment, Gray said he became angry and started calling her “a slut” and “needy.” Gray testified that Ururyar forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her later that night.

Ururyar had pleaded not guilty to sexual assault, claiming that he and Gray had engaged in consensual sex on the night in question. According to Judge Zuker’s verdict, Ururyar’s defense repeatedly attacked Gray’s character and attempted to discredit her story throughout the trial.

Judge Zuker was not accepting Ururyar’s “twisted logic,” as he said in his verdict. The judge denounced Ururyar’s defense, calling it all a “fabrication” that is “credible, never,” adding, “I must and do reject his evidence.”

Judge Marvin Zuker

The judge described how traumatizing the defense’s character assassination must have been for Gray and condemned a culture that is so quick to victim-blame:

The court was constantly reminded, told, as if to traumatize the helplessness, the only one we can believe is Mr. Ururyar, because she, she Ms. Gray, cannot remember. What a job and a real bad one, trying to shape the evening. We must not create a culture that suggest we learn that rape is wrong through trial and error.

How can you prove it? You don’t remember. He knows you don’t remember. He is going to write the script and he did. Testimony incomplete, memory loss, etc. etc. And, of course, typically, no dialogue in the story. One full sentence by Ms. Gray? What is it? No power, no voice, defenceless. To listen to Mr. Ururyar paint Ms. Gray as the seductive party animal is nothing short of incomprehensible. He went or tried to go to any length to discredit Ms. Gray, if not invalidate her. Such twisted logic.

… There is no demographic profile that typifies a rapist. There is a danger of stereotyping rapists. When the accused is a friend of the victim and uses that relationship to gain, and then betray the complainant’s trust; there may be a need to be informed in order to recognize and understand the accused’s predatory behaviour. No other crime is looked upon with the degree of blameworthiness, suspicion, and doubt as a rape victim. Victim blaming is unfortunately common and is one of the most significant barriers to justice and offender accountability.

…The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator who takes advantage of a vulnerable victim or violates the victim’s trust to commit the crime of sexual assault. Rape is an act of violence and aggression in which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim. It is too common to redefine rape as sex and try to capitalize on the mistaken believe that rape is an act of passion that is primarily sexually motivated, It is important to draw the legal and common sense distinction between rape and sex… There is no situation in which an individual cannot control his/her sexual urges.

Towards the end of his statement, Judge Zuker clarified  what consent really means and why a survivor’s actions before the assault should never be used to excuse rape.

“Without consent, ‘no’ means ‘no,’ no matter what the situation or circumstances,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.”

In his verdict, the judge actually underlined that last sentence (on page 172 in the embedded statement below).

The same day Judge Zuker read his verdict, Gray released a public statement in response to Zuker’s powerful words. “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to do,” Gray wrote.

In a conversation with reporters after the hearing, Gray called the verdict a “huge victory,” but added that Zuker’s statements can’t undo the trauma she’s endured.

“I think it’s massive, these statements,” Gray said. “But, I mean, these statements don’t un-rape me, first of all, and nor does it erase the process that I’ve had to go through.”

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I decided to publish another blog today because this Canadian judge has the courage and the strength to what three American judges have not done. He has not punished the victim for her own rape. He has stated for the record that No means No. Our judges slapped the hands of the convicted rapist and let them off without jail time.

 

American men, there is no reason for you to violate a woman. No does mean no. Rape has to do with power and control and not really sex. What kind of man can’t control himself? Once again, we see here in America that there is no respect for women, no consideration for their feelings…It is a War on Women.

 

Congratulations to our Northern neighbors. Hats off to the judge who is man enough to follow the law and do what is right.

 

Namaste

Barbara

Enough is Enough


Hundreds in Canada protest death of black man, dem

and change

More than 500 people rallied in Canada’s capital on Saturday to protest the death of a mentally ill black man following an arrest, marching against what they see as race-based police brutality in a country that prides itself for being tolerant.

Abdirahman Abdi, 37, died on Monday. Witnesses told local media he was beaten by Ottawa police officers who responded to calls of a disturbance.

His death echoed events in the United States, where a string of killings of black men by police and allegations of brutality and racial bias have sparked protests.

Protesters chanted “Black lives matter!” as they started marching, a reference to the U.S.-founded anti-police brutality movement, which has an official chapter in Canada.

“They murdered him! Enough is enough!” the protesters chanted as they approached the Ottawa police headquarters, where the march ended in the late afternoon.

Organizers had said they would respect the wishes of Abdi’s family for the event to be peaceful, and while some protesters were so angry that others had to calm them down, none crossed the police barricade.

Police said there had been no arrests.

Abdi’s family spoke briefly before the march, thanking supporters, although organizers have said they do not want to be interviewed.

The family held Abdi’s funeral on Friday, which was attended by at least 600 people, including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and other local politicians.

The province of Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, is looking into the circumstances surrounding Abdi’s arrest. Some advocates have called for criminal charges to be filed.

There have also been calls for a probe into whether race was a factor as advocacy groups voiced concerns over police violence against minorities.

In a statement, organizers of Saturday’s rally called for the officers involved in Abdi’s arrest to be put on unpaid leave, for all officers to wear body cameras, and for a review into how they deal with minorities and people in distress.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported one of the officers had been taken off patrol and that the other has been on leave. It was unclear whether that leave was paid or unpaid.

Ottawa police referred questions on the officers’ status to the Special Investigations Unit and questions on the organizers’ demands to the media relations team. Neither was immediately available.

(Reporting by Patrick Doyle in Ottawa; Writing and additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Keystone Pipeline


 

 

 

 

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Washington (CNN) President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, ending the political fight over the Canada-to-Texas project that has gone on for much of his presidency.

Secretary of State John Kerry concluded the controversial project is not in the country’s national security interest, and Obama announced from the White House that he agreed.

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly, approving this project would have undercut that leadership,” Obama said.

The massive project has been a seven-year political football during presidential and congressional elections that has pitted oil companies and Republicans against environmentalists and liberal activists. The State Department has been reviewing the project for much of Obama’s time in the White House.

The proposed pipeline would span nearly 1,200 miles across six U.S. states, moving more than 800,000 barrels of carbon-heavy petroleum daily from Canadian oil sands through Nebraska to refineries in the Gulf Coast.

Obama’s move comes as the White House continues to promote its environmental agenda and efforts to fight climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency this summer put forward new regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. And next month, Obama will attend the Paris climate talks run by the United Nations, he announced Friday. The White House is hoping to broker an international agreement committing every country to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enact other policies to curb global warming.

The President has also stepped up his rhetoric on the need to address global warming, pushing back against Republicans and climate skeptics fighting his agenda.

“We know that human activity is changing the climate,” Obama said during a visit to Alaska in late summer. “We know that human ingenuity can do something about it. We’re even starting to see that we might actually have the political will to succeed. So the time to heed the critics and cynics is past. The time to plead ignorance is surely past. The deniers are increasingly alone, on their own shrinking island.”

In a statement Friday, Kerry said the climate impact was the key factor. “The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combatting climate change,” he said.

Liberals and environmentalists, including top donors such as California’s Tom Steyer, who has committed tens of millions of dollars to fighting pro-pipeline political candidates, protested Keystone and made it a cause celebre among Democrats.

The project was a major issue during the 2012 presidential campaign, when GOP candidate Mitt Romney said he would approve the pipeline. Republican candidates in the 2016 race have also pledged to let the project go forward.

House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t mince words in criticizing Obama’s action. “This decision isn’t surprising, but it is sickening,” Ryan said in a statement.

“So sad that Obama rejected Keystone Pipeline,” GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump tweeted. “Thousands of jobs, good for the environment, no downside!”

In his speech, Obama said that he believed Keystone has had an “over-inflated role in our political discourse, and said the project’s potential to create jobs and the potential environmental threats were exaggerated.

“All of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be the silver bullet to the U.S. economy proclaimed by some, or the death knell to climate proclaimed by others,” Obama said.

Obama also cited falling gasoline prices as another argument against the project.

“While our politics have been consumed by a debate about whether or not this pipeline would create jobs or lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.”

The average price of regular gasoline hit $3.94 per gallon in April 2012 and stayed well above $3 for the rest of that election year. But this year, prices have been steadily below $3 per gallon.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also been caught up in Keystone politics. In October 2010, Clinton indicated she was “inclined” to approve the project but has since backed away from that stance, and in September said she opposes it. Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley also oppose the pipeline, and Clinton faced criticism from the left for not taking a firm stance.

Sanders noted his long-standing opposition to the project in a statement Friday. “It is insane for anyone to be supporting the excavation and transportation of some of the dirtiest fuel on earth,” he said. “As someone who has led the opposition to the Keystone pipeline from Day 1, I strongly applaud the President’s decision to kill this project once and for all.”

Friday afternoon, Clinton tweeted her approval.

“The right call. Now it’s time to make America a clean energy superpower. -H,” she tweeted.

 

 

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