Would a lawyer in 2017 advise a woman to report a rape?

September 13, 2017
Article Source
Toronto Star

From a Toronto Star opinion piece: Should a woman report a rape? I was ambivalent in 1980, when I answered this question for my column in Chatelaine magazine.

As a lawyer, I felt I had a responsibility to uphold respect for the law’s ability to provide justice. As a woman imagining myself in the position of victim and complainant, I worried that the experience would end up being more traumatic than the rape itself.

So when I wrote the column, I outlined all the factors for a victim to consider in making her own decision, but I did not directly answer the question.

The cases piling up over the years are challenging me to resolve my ambivalence:

  • In 2017 alone, courts found three Toronto police officers not guilty of sexual assault charges against a female parking enforcement officer.
  • A judge overturned Judge Marvin Zuker’s enlightened conviction of York University student Mustafa Uruyar in the Mandi Gray case.
  • A Newfoundland policeman and a Halifax cab driver had their charges dropped because in each case, an inebriated victim could not prove she did not consent.

Police dismiss one-in-five sexual assault claims as baseless before they even get to court. Statistics Canada reports that sexual assault is the only violent crime in Canada that is not declining — even though only five per cent of sexual assaults that were disclosed to StatsCan were also reported to police in 2014. 

Read more: Would a lawyer in 2017 advise a woman to report a rape?