Canadian Court System Classified as Unsympathetic to Rape Victims
A study lead by Professor Edward Renner of Carleton University found that the excessive use of rape myths in Canadian courtrooms has made justice difficult to achieve for women and children sexual assault survivors.
Based on findings derived from five years of court transcripts and cases, Renner has pinpointed common prejudices against the victim as the major cause for light sentencing of sexual assault perpetrators in Canada. Researchers also found that the credibility of children was destroyed by prosecutors who frequently asked questions that the children were not mature enough to understand.
Renner and his team found that only 13% of those convicted of sexually assaulting a child and 30% of those convicted of sexually assaulting a woman received a jail sentence of two years or more. Two-thirds of convicted child sexual abusers received a sentence of one year or less. In contrast, 53% of convicted robbers in the study received a sentence of two years or more.
Brettel Dawson, chairwoman of the department of law at Carleton University, believes that laws are not the root of the problem, and that it is the attitudes of attorneys and judges that needs to change.
"Society doesn't want to accept that these things happen," stated Brenda Saxe, Clinical Director of the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Abuse and Childhood Trauma.
Renner and his team are trying to change that by using their data to start a national program with the assistance of advocacy groups. The program will focus on changing the attitudes of those who handle sexual assault cases in court.
Media Resources: The Canadian Press - September 18, 1998
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .