Canadian Rape Crime Cops Ignored- Part III

Photo by Wong Maye-E / AP“Wherever men are placed in a position of power over community, they rape the women and children”, says Sharon Santiago, a RINJ (Rape Is No Joke) worker with over a decade’s experience in some of the poorest parts of the world. — Photo by Wong Maye-E / AP

Until recently the truth about gender based violence in Canada was a matter for very few court hearings, civil society, and Oscar-winning filmmakers.

by Melissa Hemingway Feminine-Perspective Staff

However it came to be, either by strategic politics or passionate altruism aimed at fixing a serious dysfunction in Canada, the Canadian government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on a serious path of evaluation that could lead to remedial action to mitigate Canada’s flourishing rape culture.
One of the explanations why Canadian police do not prosecute rapists and why women and children fear reporting the crime suggests that there is a strong mindset that connects sexual violence to a justified marginalization of women. Rape crime, in other words, enforces the superiority of men. To take issue with sexual violence against women and the sexual objectification of women is to challenge the superiority of men.

Most rapes in Canada, like in most countries, go unreported because complaints are discouraged by the male-dominated law enforcement community. Four out of five rape cases reported by police do not end up in court says Statistics Canada. Possibly as many as one third or more cases that are reported by citizens do not make it to court because the intake officer makes a decision that the case is “unfounded”. The latter issue of unfounded complaints is getting a lot of attention as a result of a recent study done by a Toronto newspaper.

Do you think it is happening somewhere else and you are not living in the problem?

Dear Canada, you are a white Christian nation that is drenched in religion-based misogyny.

White Christian countries which include USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many European countries are extremely unsafe for women and have high levels of sexual crimes against women including violence, sexual assaults and rapes. India on the other hand has 90% less cases of rapes as compared to them.  — July 10, 2018

Within a rape culture, prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and even entertainment media, condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexual violence. Rape culture is worsening around the world but most countries are not as bad as Canada.

In the vast distances that separate us in Canada, a false perception of female weakness, male dominance, and the anonymity that comes with perceived isolation in remote regions, rape, a crime that is missing from the Canada Criminal Code, is a male entitlement.

From the provincial home of Canadian state-sponsored misogyny and rape culture that brought you the disgraceful handling of the Rehtaeh Parsons rape/suicide case comes Nova Scotia’s morally bankrupt  court decision of Justice Gregory E. Lenehan.

Lenehan’s precedent sets out that a woman intoxicated  getting into a taxi cab in Nova Scotia  and thereby across Canada, is at risk of being raped with impunity by the taxi driver.

According to a 2015 Statistics Canada report, an estimated 635,000 incidents of sexual assault occurred in Canada in 2014, of which an estimated 90 per cent were not reported to police. Women were victims in 87 per cent of these incidents. These statistics have remained virtually unchanged since 2004, while the rates of all other types of crime decreased.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t hear of another man in a position of power having abused that power to sexually harass, assault and silence women. While we may hope the tipping point has been reached through this explosion of public disclosures, Statistic Canada’s most recent report on how women’s sexual-assault complaints are processed shows just how far we are from an adequate justice-system response.” – Holly Johnson, associate professor in the department of criminology at the University of Ottawa

Four in five sex assaults reported by police didn’t go to court.

According to statistics Canada which conducted an extensive study of data between 2009 and 2014, the attrition rate defined broadly as the proportion of criminal incidents that drop out of the criminal justice system, remains higher for sexual assault than for physical assault at all levels of the justice system with the exception of custody sentencing. Most (79%) sexual assaults reported by police (whether or not an accused was identified and whether they were charged or not) did not proceed to court in the period 2009 to 2014. This means that for every five sexual assaults reported by police, one went to court while four did not.

Canada Centre for JusticeSource: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics / BBC

Dehumanization Decriminalizes Rape

Rape culture frequently includes objectifying women or portraying social relations as a battle of the genders, both of which are dehumanizing. Dehumanization, in turn, leads to sexual violence against objects instead of a person which leads to an inherent belief there is no bad consequence to the act which is not seen as a crime because of the dehumanization of the object of the act.

Rape is about power and control, not sex.

Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not have this fear. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the entire female population, in perception,  is held in a subordinate position to the male population.

Police are an empowered and entitled group of men.

One of the explanations why Canadian police do not prosecute rapists and why women and children fear reporting the crime suggests that there is a strong mindset that connects sexual violence to a justified marginalization of women. Rape crime, in other words, enforces the superiority of men. To take issue with sexual violence against women and the sexual objectification of women is to challenge the superiority of men.

Another explanation suggests that the extreme male-dominance of policing in Canada, and possibly a bad set of criteria for candidate selection has led to a power-and-control challenge to the female gender. Wherever men are placed in a position of power over community, they rape the women and children, says Sharon Santiago, a RINJ (Rape Is No Joke) worker with over a decade experience in some of the poorest parts of the world. Police gang rapes of women are no different than those of the Hell’s Angels, the Islamic State and the armies of Burma.

That’s the reason why the 90% male police organizations  in Canada have created a culture wherein rape is tolerated and women and children fear reporting the crime against them.
For decades, Canadian police institutions devolved into rancorous fudge factories spewing oaths misattributing rape complaints to means of retribution by the weaker sex. Rape has never been prosecuted vigorously in Canada. Persons victimized by rapists are  discouraged from reporting the crime.

What’s Ahead

In Part IV of this series, Feminine-Perspective will outline and critique the current Canadian government’s remedial projects addressing sexual harassment and rape within Canadian police forces and the abysmal performance of police services in helping women and children in Canada who fall victim to this life-altering crime.

In Part V of the series Feminine-Perspective will outline recommendations from the best and the brightest young women experts addressing these civil society issues.

Download this document. Rape-Culture-in-Canada_RINJ-Press
Download also: The-RINJ-Foundation-Sexual-Assault-Report-Form

Few men rape but those who do rape, rape often. Hence, rapists must be removed from society.

The RINJ Foundation issued global sentencing guidelines in 2011 (because in many jurisdictions there appear to be none as in the case of Cherice Moralez in Billings Montana).

The minimum time in prison for a person convicted of sexual assault should be 7 or 10 years. This would eliminate the current 30-day and suspended sentence penalties. Most of the convicted perpetrators should be sentenced to 15-to-25 years.

If there is more than one count, or where a repeat predator specification is proved, the sentence is 30 years to life meaning the mandatory minimum sentence is thirty years per count but they will likely die in jail (life) unless for an offender with a single sentence for one count, a parole board plus an independent board set up specifically for sex offenders agrees that the offender has been rehabilitated.

In the case of a sentence of 15-to-25 years per count, the convict will not likely be released into society because according to the RINJ guidelines for 15-year + sentences, the sentencing judge will impose a mandatory release-review by the sentencing court, available after the minimum term is served, parallel to the Parole Board’s reviews. If either entity rejects release the term is extended by another year. On failing a review at that time, an application can be made each three years.

This may be complicated for the lay person to read, but what it translates to is that a genuine sex offender must have imbued a high level of confidence in his non-recidivism in order to be released from prison after having served their minimum sentence.

The Outrageous Case Wherein Nova Scotia Justice Gregory Lenehan found Taxi Driver Bassam al-Rawi not guilty of rape because the victim was too seriously intoxicated to deny consent.

Mr. Al-Rawi is before the court charged with a single count of unlawfully committing a sexual assault on (the complainant) contrary to section 271 of the Criminal Code. We had a trial on this matter with a number of exhibits presented and testimony from a number of individuals. (The complainant) has testified she recalled the evening of May 22, 2015 up til the time that she arrived at Boomers, a drinking establishment. She recalled consuming three drinks at that location, two tequila shots and a vodka and cranberry mixed drink.

She doesn’t recall any of that because she was drunk

Her next recollection is speaking with a female police officer at some early hour of the morning of May 23, 2015, but she does not remember whether she spoke to that officer in an ambulance or in a hospital. She could not recall being prevented from reentering Boomers after midnight on May 23, 2015 because of her level of intoxication. She does not recall her argument with her best friend and that best friend’s boyfriend about going home alone in the taxi. They had tried to get a taxi for her. That exchange was somewhere between the hours of 12:15 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. on May 23, 2015. She could not recall the text exchanges that she had with two of her friends, despite the fact that she did text those individuals and carried on that communication. She doesn’t recall hailing Mr. Al-Rawi’s taxi at about 1:09 a.m. at an (address). She does not recall any of those events, but all of that happened and as I’ve indicated before she actively participated in the various exchanges, the communications that were necessary in those circumstances. She doesn’t recall any of that because she was drunk.

Now at about 1:20 a.m., (the complainant) was found by Const. (Monia) Thibault in the backseat of Mr. Al-Rawi’s taxi. And she was lying down with her head toward the rear passenger side door. Her legs were up onto the seat backs of the front bucket seats. She was naked from her breasts down. Her black wedged sandals were on the floor of the driver’s compartment where Mr. Al-Rawi was located. Her pants and underwear were in the possession of Mr. Al-Rawi as he was observed trying to shove them between the front seat and the console. On the front passenger seat was (the complainant’s) purse and jean jacket. Her wallet and cell phone were on the floor of the front passenger compartment. As was a $20 bill. (The complainant’s) pants were actually found to be turned inside out with the underwear caught up in the pants and the pants were damp as a result of (the complainant) having urinated while wearing her pants.

(The complainant’s) urine-soaked pants and panties were found turned inside out and in the hands of Mr. Al-Rawi

(The complainant’s) at 1:20 a.m. had a blood alcohol level, which was taken back by the forensic alcohol specialist to be equivalent to somewhere between 223 milligrams per cent and 244 milligrams per cent of alcohol. The forensic alcohol specialist … informed that at that level of intoxication it would appear (the complainant) experienced difficulty moving her perceptions and experiences from short-term memory to long-term memory. And this would explain why (the complainant) was able to carry-on interactions with others but then have no memory for much of what happened from the time she arrived at Boomers and thereafter until the early hours of May 23, 2015.

Other observations made of Al-Rawi at the time that Const. Thibault arrived at his vehicle: his driver’s seat back was partially reclined, his pants were undone at the waist and his zipper was down a couple of inches and it was observed that the back of his pants appeared to be down about six inches. Mr. Al-Rawi was arrest by Const. Thibault. Following his arrest he was examined for possible body substance transfer from (the complainant). A DNA analysis showed that (the complainant’s) DNA was in fact located above Mr. Al-Rawi’s upper lip. However, the source, the bodily substance source, was unknown and could not be identified. In her testimony (the complainant) said on the date of this incident she lived at an address… in Halifax, and her usual practice in getting a taxi was to sit in the back passenger side seat, give her address to the driver and get a $20 bill out and ready to pay for her cab ride. The presence of the $20 bill on he floor of the front passenger tends to indicate that (the complainant) was following her usual practice. That she was in her rear passenger side seat also supports this indication. Her purse, jean jacket, wallet and phone in the front passenger compartment, however, is inconsistent with that.

The purse and jean jacket, however, resting on the seat cushion is also inconsistent with her having been sitting in the seat at anytime prior. What do you make of it? I’m not sure.

The vehicle was examined forensically but there was nothing presented in the Crown’s case showing any of (the complainant’s) bodily fluids on the surfaces of the taxi. If she urinated in her pants while in the taxi one might have expected there would be some transfer of the fluid form the fabric to the car seats, but I have no evidence of that presented to me. Of concern, in the evidence that was presented to this court, is that the taxi — ten minutes after being hailed — was found stopped in the south end of the city, which would not be in anyway in the direction one would drive from (the location the cab was hailed) to get to (the complainant’s home).

(The complainant’s) sandals were on the floor of the driver’s compartment. (The complainant’s) urine-soaked pants and panties were found turned inside out and in the hands of Mr. Al-Rawi. Mr. Al-Rawi’s driver’s seat was partially reclined. The fact that (the complainant’s) legs were resting on the top of the back of the front bucket seats at an angle to her torso lying on the right rear passenger seat with her head toward the door is also of concern.

I have struggled to determine what all of this evidence proves

So I have struggled to determine what all of this evidence proves.

In order for Mr. Al-Rawi to be convicted of the offence that’s before the court, the Crown have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Al-Rawi touched (the complainant), that it was in such a way it violated it her sexual integrity and that it was not done with her consent. In other words, it was done without her consent.

Now, on the element of consent, in order for there to be consent, the person giving the consent, must have an operating mind, they must be of an age responsible enough to agree to sexual conduct, it can be withdrawn at anytime, and it can be limited to certain acts and not others.

A person would be incapable of giving consent if she is unconscious or is so intoxicated by alcohol or drugs as to be incapable of understanding or perceiving the situation that presents itself.

This does not mean, however, that an intoxicated person cannot give consent to sexual activity. Clearly, a drunk can consent.

(Intoxication) often leads to people agreeing, and to sometimes initiating, sexual encounters only to regret them later when they are sober

As noted by … the forensic alcohol specialist, one of the effects of alcohol on the human body is an intent to reduce inhibitions and increases risk-taking behaviour. And this often leads to people agreeing, and to sometimes initiating, sexual encounters only to regret them later when they are sober.

In this case, there is no question (the complainant) was drunk when she was found in Mr. AL-Rawi’s taxi, and she was unconscious. Therefore at that moment, when Const. Thibault approached Mr. Al-Rawi’s vehicle, (the complainant) was in fact incapable of consenting ot any sexual activity. That also means that whenever she did pass out, she would have been incapable.

What is unknown, however, is the moment (the complainant) lost consciousness. That is important.

Because it would appear that prior to that she had been able to communicate with others, although she appeared drunk to the staff at Boomers, who would not let her in because of her state of intoxication, she had appeared to make decisions for herself, however unwise those decisions might have been.

(The complainant) in her testimony could not provide any information, any details, whether she agreed to be naked in the taxi or initiated any sexual activity. She could not provide any evidence as to why the taxi was in the south end of the city, nor could any other compellable witness provide that information.

Now as I’ve said, the taxi being in the south end of the neighbourhood, not any any route one would drive to get from Grafton Street (to the complainant’s neighbourhood) is of concern. (The complainant’s) sandals found on the floor of the driver’s compartment under Mr. Al-Rawi’s feet, is also of concern. Mr. Al-Rawi having (the complainant’s) pants and panties in his hands and shoving them between the console and the front seat is of greater concern. (The complainant’s) position in the backseat with her legs propped up on the front bucket seat, is very concerning. All of that together with (the complainant) being found unconscious in the backseat of that vehicle, Mr. Al-Rawi having his pants undone, would lead any reasonable person to believe that Mr. Al-Rawi was engaging in or about to engage in sexual activity with a woman who is incapable of consenting. In other words, Const. Thibault had ample grounds to arrest Mr. Al-Rawi. It would have been foolish of her not to do so in the circumstances.

The Crown failed to produce any evidence of lack of consent at anytime when Mr. Al-Rawi was touching (the complainant)

On that being said, it is the burden on the Crown to prove in this case, that (the complainant) could not or had not consented to any sexual activity. The Crown failed to produce any evidence of lack of consent at anytime when Mr. Al-Rawi was touching (the complainant).

I fully believe that the reason (the complainant’s) sandals were in the driver’s compartment was because Mr. Al-Rawi took possession of them. I also believe that the pants were inside out with the panties caught up in them because Mr. Al-Rawi was the person who took them off (the complainant). As described, it is only logical that those clothes came off by Mr. Al-Rawi grabbing the pants at the waist and pulling the pants and panty top together, thus turning them inside out, as they were pulled over (the complainant’s) legs. Anybody who has changed a child would understand the method used to strip (the complainant) of her clothes.

I also believe that (the complainant’s) DNA was located on Mr. Al-Rawi’s upper lip because of all probability he wiped his hands or fingers over his lip area, either intentionally or absent-mindedly, after handling the urine-soaked pants of (the complainant). That would explain her DNA being on his upper lip.

So this is what I believe is logically probable based on the circumstantial evidence placed before. But I do not know whether Mr. Al-Rawi removed (the complainant’s) pants at her consent, request, with her consent, without her consent. I don’t know. The Crown marshalled no evidence of this. The Crown had no evidence to present on the issue of consent prior to Const. Thibault arriving on scene.

Once Const. Thibualt was on scene, Mr. Al-Rawi was not observed to be touching (the complainant) in anyway. He therefore was not assaulting her when we know she was unconscious.

Mr. Al-Rawi as a taxi driver was entrusted with the safe conduct of (the complainant) to her residence. That is one of of the main reasons we have taxis operating late at night and into the early-morning hours: to get people under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants safely home. Experienced taxi drivers easily recognize the signs of intoxication on people. They also know from experience that drunks can behave in ways detrimental to their own health and reputation. Taxi drivers are under a moral obligation to not take advantage of intoxicated people either by racking up improper fares or by engaging in sexual activity, as two examples.

That is not somebody I would want my daughter driving with or any other young woman

If (the complainant) consented to Mr. Al-Rawi’s removal of her clothes, Mr. Al-Rawi was under a moral or ethical obligation to decline the invitation. She was clearly drunk. If she was unable to provide an address, he should have sought police assistance. Once he saw she had peed her pants, he knew she was quite drunk. He knew going along with any flirtation on her part involved him taking advantage of a vulnerable person. That is not somebody I would want my daughter driving with or any other young woman and it is not somebody I would want to hire to drive for my company.

Having said that, with regards to the charge before this court, at the critical time when Mr. Al-Rawi would have stripped (the complainant) of her clothes, the Crown has provided absolutely no evidence on the issue of lack of consent. The evidence (of the forensic alcohol expert) provided the possibility that with a blood alcohol level of 223 to 244 milligrams per cent, (the complainant) might very well have been capable of appearing lucid but drunk and able to direct, ask, agree or consent to any number of different activities.

A lack of memory does not equate to a lack of consent.

Where the Crown has failed to prove beyond a reasonable (the complainant’s) lack of consent, I am left with no alternative but to find Mr. Al-Rawi not guilty.

Mr. Al-Rawi, you’re free to go.

Audible in the background, a brief cheer and a smattering of applause. Then someone says, ‘Thank you, your honour.’