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A “thing”

by anonymous Content warning for childhood sexual assault: So, here goes. When I was 10 years old I was sitting inside the bedroom of my best friend’s older brother, who was 13 at the time. Also present was the best friend, and another friend of mine, who was 8 at the time. Why were we in his room? I don’t remember exactly. I just remember the sense I had at the time that he was cool. Cool in the sense...

THE BREATHE NETWORK – Trauma Informed Healing

The Breathe Network is a nonprofit organization that connects survivors of sexual violence with trauma-informed, sliding scale, holistic healing arts practitioners across the United States and Canada.  We provide training and education for healing arts practitioners in understanding the impacts of sexual violence and how to deliver trauma-informed care within their practice. We are innovators in the movement to end sexual violence and our approach to addressing the impacts of sexual violence on the body, mind and soul, is both...

VALIDATION DAY

  “I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS” “RAPE IT WAS” says Judge Zuker. He has found Mustafa Ururyar guilty of raping Mandi Gray in January 2015. Mandi Gray and I both came to the Old City Hall courthouse on February 1, 2016, but at the time we did not know each other. We were both starting our sexual assault trials and both in cross examination on the same day. A day we both want to forget but won’t, as...

What I Wish I’d Known Before Testifying In The Ghomeshi Trial

In November of 2014, a Toronto mother of two walked into a police station to tell officers that Jian Ghomeshi had assaulted her. She did so after learning two things: 1) She wasn’t the only woman the former CBC radio host allegedly hurt, and 2) There was no statute of limitations on her claim that he had yanked her hair without warning in December 2002 and again in January 2003 before delivering two blows to the side of her head....

Real Justice Would Give Sexual Assault Victims a Real Voice and Real Choice

At the Jian Ghomeshi trial, everything unfolded as it “should.” Prodigiously talented legal commandos for the defence reduced the prosecution’s case to a smouldering ruin. Then, the judge – by current convention a mere observer of the carnage – stated what legal observers had been describing as obvious in his final ruling: The evidence did not meet the standard for criminal conviction. This meant the accused walked away, wearing the legally indisputable (but, for some, ill-fitting) cloak of innocence, and...

March 25, 2016: POST-VERDICT

“It is clear that she deliberately breached her oath to tell the truth. Her value as a reliable witness is diminished accordingly.” – Judge Horkins He said what? I was never expecting a guilty verdict.  I knew the cases were not strong and that it would be a he said/she said.  I typically refer to that as the she said/she said, since the accused never said anything.  I reminded myself that I had just gone and shared my experience in...

February 1, 2016: TRIAL

The unmarked police car came to escort me to court.  I couldn’t believe the day had finally come and that I was the first.  I was to speak the first words in a trial so many had been waiting for.  It was an immense amount of pressure. I suppose ignorance is bliss.  I had been prepared for her tactics and methods but no one can prepare you for this experience.  I was fortunate to be able to sit in the...