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Sexual Assault in Canada

Elizabeth A. Sheehy


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1 constance backhouse is a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. She has published a number of books, including Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (1991); Challenging Times: The Women’s Movement in Canada and the United States (1992); Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900–1950 (1999); The Heiress vs the Establishment: Mrs. Campbell’s Campaign for Legal Justice (2004); and Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada 1900–1975 (2008). She served as an adjudicator for the compensation claims arising from the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of the former inmates of the Grandview Training School for Girls (1995–98), and for the former students of Aboriginal residential schools across Canada. She is a member of the board of directors for the Claire L’Heureux-Dubé Fund for Social Justice, and for the Women’s Education and Research Foundation. She is the co-author, with Leah Cohen, of the first book on sexual harassment published in Canada, The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women (Toronto: Macmillan, 1979).

2 natasha bakht (BA, MA, LLB, LLM) is an Associate Professor in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. She teaches criminal law, family law, and multicultural rights in liberal democracies. She was called to the bar of Ontario in 2003 and then served as a law clerk to Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada. Her research interests are focused generally in the area of law, culture, and minority rights, and specifically in the intersecting area of religious freedom and women’s equality. She has written extensively on the issue of religious arbitration in family law and has edited a collection of essays, entitled Belonging and Banishment: Being Muslim in Canada, published by TSAR Publications. Her most recent work examines opposition to women who wear the niqab in the courtroom context and she urges that accommodations should be available for such a religious practice. She was a member of the Law Program Committee of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund LEAF from 2005–2009 and the R v NS subcommittee. She also tours internationally as a dancer and choreographer.

3 gillian balfour is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, where she teaches in the areas of critical criminology and socio-legal theories. Her research interests include neoliberal reframing of institutional responses to sexual violence, such as sentencing in rape cases that focuses on therapeutic control of risk rather than reparation for harm and denunciation, and how the criminal justice system organizes the relationship between women’s victimization, criminalization, and incarceration. She has published, with Elizabeth Comack, two edited books: The Power to Criminalize: Violence, Inequality and the Law, and Criminalizing Women: Gender and (In)Justice in Neo-Liberal Times. She has also published in the International Review of Victimology and Feminist Criminology, where she examines how restorative justice sentencing in Canada has become a site of backlash against feminist inspired law reforms.

4 shary boyle is a Toronto-based artist whose practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance. In 2003, she created a series of illustrations to accompany the text of The Story of Jane Doe. Her work is exhibited and collected internationally, with pieces in the National Gallery of Canada; le Musée Des Beaux Arts in Montreal; the Paisley Museum in Scotland; and la Maison Rouge in Paris. Flesh and Blood, Boyle’s first solo national touring exhibition, was presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, le galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal, and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver in 2010–2011. Shary Boyle is the 2009 recipient of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Iskowitz Award and the 2010 Hynatyshyn Award for her outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada.

5 gillian calder is an Associate Professor in the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law. Since her appointment in July 2004, she has taught constitutional law, family law, civil liberties, and advanced family law. Her current research interests include law’s regulation of women, work, and family; the provision of social benefits through Canadian law; feminist, constitutional, and equality theories; and the relationship between performance and law.

6 maria campbell is a Métis storyteller from Saskatchewan. She was the eldest daughter of seven children born to parents of Scottish, Indian, and French descent. She is best known for her autobiography, Halfbreed, which relates her struggles as a Métis woman in Canadian society. She has received many awards for her writing, including honorary doctorates in letters from both York University and Athabasca University, and honorary doctorates in laws from the University of Regina and the University of Ottawa. The Métis Nation also honoured her for her community work, especially with women and children, with the Gabriel Dumont Medal for Merit. Through 2000–2001, she was the Stanley Knowles Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brandon University. She currently serves as an Elder-in-residence at Athabasca University, as a mentor for the Trudeau Foundation and as the writer-in-residence at the University of Winnipeg. She received the Order of Canada for her contribution to Canadian literature and society.

7 priscilla campeau is Cree and Métis from Saskatchewan. An advocate for Aboriginal women’s rights and Indigenous education, she has worked for Athabasca University for ten years and is the acting director of the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research. She has published in Cultural Survival Quarterly and Canadian Woman Studies, and has published an online article on violence against Aboriginal women. Along with Maria Campbell and Tracey Lindberg, she is working with Purich Publishing to complete a book on colonial violence, colonial law, and the impact on Indigenous women.

8 blair crew, BA, LLB, LLM, is review counsel for the criminal division at the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic and an associate at Greenspon, Brown and Associates, Ottawa, where his practice includes a focus on representing women in actions for sexual battery and in actions against public authorities, including the police. He teaches an introductory course in criminal law in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, and is particularly thrilled to have had the humbling opportunity to introduce, in collaboration with Professors Elizabeth Sheehy and Daphne Gilbert, the new course Sexual Assault Law in the fall of 2008.

9 julie desrosiers is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at Université Laval. Her research interests include criminal law, human rights and child and youths’ rights and protection. She is the author of L’agression sexuelle en droit canadien (Éditions Yvon Blais, 2009); Isolement et mesures disciplinaires dans les centres de réadaptation pour jeunes (Éditions Wilson et Lafleur, 2005); and co-author with Hughes Parent of I — Tome III: La Peine (Thémis, 2012). She is a Member of the “Commission de protection des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse” of Quebec.

10 sean dewart is a partner with Dewart Gleason LLP, a litigation boutique slightly off the beaten path in downtown Toronto. Sean received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1983 and a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics in 1985. He began practicing law in 1986 and formed his present firm in 2010. Sean’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation with expertise in professional liability and prosecutorial misconduct cases. Sean is a regular speaker on a wide variety of subjects relating to trial practice and substantive law, including labour relations in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and suing police agencies. As counsel in the Jane Doe litigation, he had the time of his life.

11 jane doe is the woman who, after a twelve-year legal battle, successfully sued the Toronto Police for negligence and gender discrimination in the investigation of her rape. Her case, Jane Doe v Board of Commissioners of Police, set a Canadian legal precedent and is taught in law schools across Canada. She is also a teacher, community activist, and author. Her book The Story of Jane Doe (Random House, 2003) was nominated for numerous awards and is on the curriculum of several university and college courses. Her article, “What’s in a Name? Who Benefits from the Publication Ban in Sexual Assault Trials” (in Lessons From the Identity Trail, 2009) sheds further light on legal response to the crime. Jane Doe was a founding member of the Sexual Assault Audit Steering Committee, which was formed to implement change in police investigations of sexual assault and in response to the Auditor General’s Review of Sexual Assault for the Toronto Police Service. A report on that process, “A New Chapter in Feminist Organizing,” was published in 2010 in Canadian Woman Studies.

12 teresa dubois graduated from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in 2009, having completed her law degree in French. Throughout her studies, she was a crisis-line counsellor for the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. She was also an active member of the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic, both as a caseworker and a member of the Steering Committee, a member of the Editorial Board of the Ottawa Law Review, and a research assistant to her constitutional law professor. Teresa received the Greenspon Brown Award for outstanding contributions to the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic, the Gilbert Ngième Social Justice Award, and an award from the Société franco-ontarienne de l’autisme. Teresa completed her articles by serving as a judicial law clerk at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa and was called to the bar in 2010. Her practice is currently concentrated in the area of family law.

13 dr janice du mont is a Scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr Du Mont was holder of a 2002–2004 and 2006–2009 New Investigator Award at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Her research looks at gender-based violence and women’s health with a particular focus on the medical and legal responses to sexual assault. She has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization initiative to document the criminalization of sexual violence across regions and evaluate the health sector response to sexual assault in low resourced settings.

14 susan ehrlich is Professor of Linguistics and Women’s Studies at York University. She has published widely on the linguistic and discursive aspects of sexual assault trials in Canada and the United States. Re-cent books include “Why Do You Ask”: The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse (co-edited with Alice Freed, Oxford, 2010); Language and Gender: Major Themes in English Studies (Routledge, 2008); and Representing Rape: Language and Sexual Consent (Routledge, 2001).

15 lise gotell is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research expertise is in the area of feminism, law, and sexuality and she has published on such topics as feminist litigation, constitutional equality, pornography and obscenity law, gay and lesbian rights, and sexual assault. She is a co-author of Bad Attitude/s on Trial: Feminism, Pornography and the Butler Decision (1997), and a co-editor, with Barbara Crow, of Open Boundaries: A Canadian Women’s Studies Reader (2009). For the past several years, her work has focused on the implications of 1990’s sexual assault reforms, including interrogating the post-Ewanchuk legal standard for consent and evaluating the effectiveness of legislative restrictions on sexual history evidence and confidential records. She teaches a unique Women’s Studies course entitled “Feminism and Sexual Assault” in which students focus on rethinking resistance through working with Edmonton community agencies and activist groups.

16 holly johnson is Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Her interest and involvement in research on violence against women spans two decades. She was principal investigator of Statistics Canada’s first national survey on violence against women, which pioneered a methodology for interviewing women about their experiences of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. This methodology has served as a model for the development of similar surveys in many countries, including the International Violence Against Women Survey on which she is a collaborator. Holly served as expert advisor to the Secretary-General’s report on violence against women, and is a member of the UNECE task force on Violence Against Women Surveys, the UN Expert Group on Indicators on Violence Against Women, and the World Health Organization expert panel on primary prevention of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Her current research interests include criminal justice and societal responses to sexual violence and intimate partner violence and she is co-author of the 2011 text Violence Against Women in Canada: Research and Policy Perspectives (Oxford University Press–nominated for the Canadian Sociological Association John Porter Book Prize) with Myrna Dawson of the University of Guelph.

17 rebecca johnson studied music in her life before law. But she was seduced by the siren song of law, and began her legal studies at the University of Alberta. She was called to the bar in Calgary before spending a year at the Supreme Court as a law clerk to Madame Justice L’Heureux-Dubé. She completed her Master’s and Doctorate of Law at the University of Michigan, where she was able to explore her interest in US and Canadian approaches to constitutional equality issues. She spent five years teaching in the Faculty of Law at the University of New Brunswick before moving to the University of Victoria in 2001. She has taught in the areas of constitutional law, criminal law, legal method, feminist advocacy, legal theory, and business associations. Her current favourite course is one that uses film (mostly films about murderous women) as a way of getting at issues of gender, justice, and judgment in law and in popular culture.

18 meagan johnston is from Edmonton. While completing her undergraduate degree in Political Science, she helped re-start the University of Alberta Women’s Centre. As a law student in McGill University’s BCL/LLB programme she led a student seminar in Sexuality, Gender and the Law and served on the Board of Directors of QPIRG-Mc-Gill. She has worked at the Environmental Law Centre in Edmonton, Pivot Legal Society in Vancouver, and Project Genesis, a Montreal legal clinic. She is now articling at Parkdale Community Legal Services in Toronto.

19 the honourable claire l’heureux-dubé was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney after having served as a trial and appellate court judge for fourteen years. Her fifty-year career in law is one marked by many achievements in family law and human rights issues and as an advocate for equality. She was chair of the Canadian section of the International Commission of Jurists (1981–1983), and international president of the International Commission of Jurists (1998–2002), based in Geneva. In 1998, she received the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. In 2003, she was named Companion of the Order of Canada; in 2004, she was named Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. She is currently active as chair of the steering committee of the Maison de Justice de Québec, a pilot project in improving access to justice in Quebec City. Upon her retirement from the Supreme Court in 2002, her many contributions to women’s equality were celebrated in two publications: in Adding Feminism to Law: The Contributions of Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, edited by Elizabeth Sheehy (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2004), and in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, edited by Michelle Boivin and Elizabeth Sheehy (volume 15:1 2003).

20 tracey lindberg is Cree and Métis from Treaty 8 territory. Currently a Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa, Tracey is thought to be the first Indigenous woman to have received a Doctor of Laws from a Canadian university (the University of Ottawa). Tracey is also the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships for her academic work including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral award, a Governor General’s medal for her doctoral work (critical Indigenous legal theory) and the 2008 Canadian Associate of Graduate Studies award for most distinguished Canadian dissertation in the social sciences and humanities. Dr Lindberg is currently the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge, Legal Orders and Laws and an Associate Professor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge and Research, Athabasca University. She has upcoming books with Guernica Press and the Oxford University Press. A well-loved blues singer and published creative fiction author, her first novel came out with Harper-Collins in 2010.

21 sunny marriner has been a member of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa Collective since 1997, and is the founder and full-time coordinator of the Young Women at Risk (YWAR) Program, a support, outreach, and advocacy program for marginalized and criminalized young women. She provides over 1000 hours of direct support to young women survivors of violence and state intervention annually, and provides organizational training and education to regional agencies and to those working with youth in conflict with the law. She is a regular guest lecturer on questions of access to justice, sexual violence, and women’s incarceration, and she writes on issues of criminalization and psychiatrization of women and girl survivors. She has served on regional, provincial, and national advisory committees for service, research, and political/legal policy reform in matters of violence against women.

22 sheila mcintyre taught constitutional law and equality law and theory at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa until her retirement in June 2010. For nearly thirty years, she has been a feminist legal activist involved in test-case equality litigation, in law reform initiatives designed to reduce systemic bias in sexual offence laws, and in national coalitions formed to advance the equality of disempowered groups through law. Her research has focussed on unpacking the dynamics of systemic inequality in law, and on analyzing the poverty of the Supreme Court of Canada’s understanding of and commitment to substantive equality.

23 fran odette has been an advocate and educator on disability and gender for more than eighteen years. She became interested in working with women with disabilities, and with those who provide services to women who have experienced abuse, as a result of her own search for services that could support her during her own healing from an emotionally abusive relationship. Her own experience in seeking support from agencies, which had little exposure to diverse groups of women with disabilities, motivated her to ensure that disabled women and deaf women had equal and equitable access to services, including information and relevant resources on parenting, housing, sexuality, health, income security, and violence prevention.

24 laura robinson is an award-winning writer and former member of Canada’s national cycling team. Her work on the cyclical nature of sexual abuse in hockey resulted in a CBC documentary, and her book, Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada’s National Sport, changed how Canadians looked at hockey. In 2002, she won the top award from Play the Game, an international journalists’ advocacy group located in Europe; in 1992, she became the first journalist in Canada to write about sexual abuse in sport; and in 2002, she questioned the objectification and commoditization of women athletes in her book Black Tights: Women, Sport and Sexuality. Her play, FrontRunners, about First Nation long-distance runners, has toured Canada and Scandinavia, while the film version was broadcast on APTN and is available through the NFB. Robinson has covered six Olympics, and was an accredited journalist for the Vancouver Games. She has written critically about VANOC’s lack of commitment to First Nations youth and to women athletes. She is a volunteer XC ski and mountain bike coach at Cape Croker First Nation Elementary School on the shores of Georgian Bay and she continues to compete as a master XC skier.

25 sanda rodgers is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. She was a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and commissioner of the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and is a recipient of the Women Lawyers Association President’s Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession” and of the Business and Professional Women’s Association Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Gender Equity.” Her primary area of research was health law, with particular emphasis on women’s reproductive rights.

26 rakhi ruparelia is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. After clerking at the Ontario Court of Appeal, she completed her graduate studies in law at Harvard University. She then joined the Prison Reform Advocacy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she established and directed a community legal clinic to assist ex-prisoners with legal issues impeding their transition back to society. Through her involvement with the National Judicial Institute, she has conducted judicial training sessions on sexual assault law, intimate violence, and anti-racism. In her previous work as a social worker, she co-facilitated support groups for survivors of sexual violence. Her research focuses on critical race and feminist perspectives on tort and criminal law.

27 elizabeth a sheehy, LLB (Osgoode), LLM (Columbia), LLD (Honoris causa LSUC), has been a very happy member of the feminist community in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa since 1984. She has always taught criminal law and procedure as well as “women’s law” courses, such as Women and the Law, Women and the Legal Profession, Sexual Assault Law, and Defending Battered Women on Trial. She has edited several books, including Adding Feminism to Law: The Contributions of Justice Claire L’Heuerux-Dubé and Calling for Change: Women, Law and the Legal Profession (with Sheila McIntyre). She has researched and published in the area of sexual assault law and counts as proud moments her involvement in Jane Doe’s successful suit against the Toronto Police and being cited by Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé in her exquisite dissent in the Seaboyer case. She credits her students in the Faculty of Law, as well as Jane Doe, with supplying the heart and soul needed to launch the March 2009 conference on sexual assault law, practice, and activism. This book is the third collection of essays arising from the conference that Elizabeth has edited. The first two were Ten Years After Jane Doe: Reflections on the State of Rape (2010) 22:2 CJWL 301–568 and Women Resisting Rape: Feminist Law, Practice, Activism (2010) 28:1 Can Woman Stud 3–161.

28 alison symington is the senior policy analyst for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, which she joined in September 2007. Previously, she was manager of research with the Toronto-based Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), where she worked on issues of human rights accountability, international trade and aid policy, and poverty eradication. She has also collaborated with international human rights and gender equality advocates, has served as a consultant for Amnesty International’s global Stop Violence Against Women campaign, and has worked as an intern for the United Kingdom-based International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights INTERIGHTS. She holds an Hon BA (with a major in international development studies) from the University of Guelph, an LLB from the University of Toronto, and an LLM in international legal studies from New York University.

29 julia tolmie is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Auckland, where she has taught for the last ten years. Prior to that, she spent ten years as a legal academic at the University of Sydney. She teaches criminal law and women and the law. Her research specialities have included the following topics: battered woman’s syndrome and defences to murder, fathers’ rights groups in the context of family law, negotiating contact and care arrangements for children with the perpetrator of domestic violence, suing the police in negligence for their failure to respond adequately to domestic violence, corporate social responsibility, and alcoholism and the criminal defences. Prior to having her two children, she also had a personal life, which included a long-standing interest in the arts (particularly painting and sculpture) and the environment.

30 david m tanovich, MA (Toronto), LLB (Queens), LLM (NYU) is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor where he teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, evidence, legal ethics, and racial profiling. He is also Academic Director of the newly formed Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) at Windsor Law. Professor Tanovich has written over 40 books. His most recent book is The Colour of Justice: Policing Race in Canada (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2006). Professor Tanovich has been invited to present at numerous conferences and other fora, including endowed lectures at Dalhousie Law School and the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan. His research has been frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and other appellate courts, law reform and human rights commissions. It has also been recognized in various awards such as the 2005 University of Windsor Award for Excellence in Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity and 2006 Canadian Association of Law Teachers’ Scholarly Paper Award.

31 lucinda vandervort BA Hon (Bryn Mawr) MA, PhD (McGill), JD (Queen’s) LLM (Yale), is a professor of Law at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of the Ontario bar. She has done legal work with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) strategic litigation program in connection with a number of Supreme Court of Canada cases and is a proponent of collaborative research and theorizing. Her legal and philosophical writings are cited by academics and law reformers in Canada and internationally; her analyses of sexual assault law, consent, theory of criminal responsibility, and mistake of law are cited, quoted, and applied in judgments by the Supreme Court of Canada and other levels of court in various provinces. Currently her research and law teaching deals with the interaction of theories of criminal responsibility, consent, sexual assault, the law of evidence, administration of justice, the design of legal institutions and legal theory. Her paper emerges from that intersection to focus on prosecutorial discretion, the rule of law, and the need for institutional changes to improve the handling of sexual assault cases by the Canadian legal system.

32 diana yaros is a feminist activist who has been engaged in Violence Against Women work for more than thirty years. She was active in organizing some of the first Take Back the Night marches in the early 1980s and has worked to defend the individual and collective rights of sexually assaulted women in public policy, the justice systems, and other Kafkaesque situations that women face in dealing with public institutions. More recently, she is involved in developing a training program to help anti-violence, community, and healthcare workers better understand intersecting oppressions and to give them the tools to defend the rights of immigrant and refugee women.

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2012

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