Margaret Atwood's Bad Feminist Backlash: Where Can We Find Information?

Criminal Code. Consolidated Acts, c.46: Part V 153.1 (2-6). Justice Laws Website. Last amended on December 12th, 2017. Department of Justice. Web. Accessed 11 Feb 2018.

Governmental primary source. Canadian Federal Law's definition of consent is "the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question." There are many marginal notes and sub-notes which directly outline what consent is NOT, and when consent cannot be obtained. Furthermore, the document also outlines when miscommunication cannot be a valid excuse, such as if the accuser of sexual offense was in any state of intoxication, self-inflicted or otherwise, or if the judge deems that the proper steps to obtaining consent were not followed by the accused. As Atwood stated in her original letter, the Me Too movement was a symptom of a broken legal system. Is that fair to say regarding Canada? It is unclear to me at the moment as to when this act was added into the Canadian Criminal Code (CCC). However, the most recent revision of the CCC seems to cover almost all kinds of recognizable sexual assault and misconduct. Upon further investigation of previous versions of the CCC, the version which existed during December 2015, the time when former BC Supreme Court Judge Mary Ellen Boyd was hired to investigate the allegations by the university. I was able to get a better sense of Canadian laws regarding sexual assault, and I would like to explore how this statistics differ from those in the USA. I would also like to explore available court cases which proved not guilty to see what evidence is not considered enough in a court of law. Although there are written laws in place, there are still many factors in Level 1 cases left to the discretion of the judge. Now that I have a base understanding of how the Canadian Criminal code views sexual assault. my nest step is to see how these laws (especially those regarding consent) are construed in the courtroom. 

Rotenberg, Cristine. “Police-reported sexual assaults in Canada, 2009 to 2014: A statistical profile” Juristat (85-002-X), vol. 37. no. 1. Statistics Canada [StatsCan],

Rotenberg presents a governmental primary source that provides great insight into the Canadian justice system and the treatment of sexual assault cases. One of the most frightening realizations I made while reading this report is that sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in Canada. According to this statistical profile, it is estimated that only around 5% of sexual assaults were reported to the police in 2014. This statistic has not changed for about a decade.The most common reasons for not reporting a sexual assault to police were that the victim felt the crime was minor and not worth taking the time to report (71%), the incident was a private matter and was handled informally (67%), or that no one was harmed (63%). Some victims voiced concerns regarding the justice system process, including not wanting the hassle of dealing with police (45%), the perception that police would have not considered the sexual assault important enough (43%), or that the offender would not be convicted or adequately punished (40%). The text also describes the three levels of sexual assault (Level 1: Sexual assault; Level 2: Sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm; Level 3: Aggravated sexual assault) and details how 98% of sexual assault cases brought to the police are Level 1 offenses. Also explores delays in reporting, investigative challenges and different intersections of age, sex and relationship in reported cases. These statistics provided a good argument towards the protection of accusers coming forward in cases such as Steven Galloway's.