The Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) group in Canada have published statistics on the truths about rape and violence against women in Canada. Rape is known as one of the most widely un-reported crimes. One of the reasons it is so widely under-reported is due to the fact that victims of rape and violence are made to feel by their assailants that they are filing false reports in the name of revenge. And yet, statistics from the WAVAW show us that the number of false reports of rape is the same as the number of false reports on any crime. Meaning, it never happens. People don’t call the police to pretend that their bike was stolen any more than they call the police to pretend they are the victims of one of the most shameful crimes a woman could ever suffer. Judges know this. And yet at least one judge in Canada has victimized one Canadian woman all over again for filing a sexual assault complaint. The National Post reports Nov. 10 on a case now being appealed in Calgary on the basis of remarks from the judge to the victim along the lines of, “Why didn’t you just keep your knees together?”
And the outcome of the victim’s assailant criminal trial? Well it is being appealed, so you can imagine what the outcome was. He got away, with a strong caution by the judge to be more gentle with women in the future, and to also let his male friends know that they had to be as well.
His comments and his rulings are blazing a pathway of angry Canadian women. He is now being investigated. And the one that got away will be under a new trial.
And the victim? Let’s hope her time in the statistics pool of Canadian victims is over. Because what are the chances she will ever report a crime like this again after she was told by the judge that she should have kept her knees together?
The statistics of violence against women are clear. More than half of Canadian women have been assaulted at one point in their lifetime, and less than a tenth of them ever say anything. The Globe and Mail reported this year that another reason women don’t report is because “most get no justice when they do.”
This victim in Calgary is just one example. Will she ever get justice?
We have obtained copies of the Memorandum of Judgement on the case, in addition to the filing of facts for the Crown Appeal that contains the testimony of the victim, witnesses, and all relevant trial facts and facts of the case. Because this is a sexual assault case there is a publication ban under section 486.4 of the Criminal Code. This means, information that is on the trial paperwork that could identify the victim or any of the witnesses is prohibited by court order from being published or broadcast in any way.
We can tell you what facts are on those trial documents however without releasing any identifying information of the victim or trial witnesses. The incident occurred in Calgary on December 13, 2011. The victim was a teenager at the time, and living on the streets, but had been invited to stay at the home of a young man for a few days.
She didn’t know him well. It was his brother that would end up assaulting her. She and some friends went to a youth center that night to buy some groceries.
They got back to the house and started drinking. It is unknown how many people were in attendance when they returned to the house, but the Crown factum cites it as a “party.” People got drunk and she found herself in the bathroom.
Initially she had locked the bathroom while she was first using it. She was sick from being drunk, and cleaned herself up. She had her phone with her and used it to check Facebook.
When she unlocked her door to leave, enter the accused in this case. Which means, he was waiting outside for her to leave. He came in the bathroom and would not let her leave.
He locked the door. He was stated as being 6’1” and 240 pounds on the Crown factum. The victim was considerably smaller but her identifying details will not be published.
Within seconds her pants were off. She had never met him before. Testimony reveals that during the assault she told him she was in pain at one point, and uncomfortable. She also said “no” several times.
They were interrupted by another party member and it stopped, but not before many more minutes of horror for this women that we will not reprint. The judge would later say in his ruling that,
“Sex and pain sometimes go together, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
At the time the accused went to trial he had a history of “property offenses” on his record that amount to arson. Many psychologists and criminal profilers have argued that there is a very strong connection between arson crimes and sexual assaults. The underlying personality characteristic is the need for control.
The accused also had a bit of a crystal meth problem at the time of trial. He also had a recent assault conviction on record. In his ruling, when acquitting the accused, Judge Camp said the Complainant was not a credible witness because she was homeless, and told the accused,
“You’ve got to be very sure that the girl wants you to do it. Please tell your friends so that they don’t upset women and so that they don’t get into trouble…”
The victim had also said she was quiet during the assault, and the judge ruled that was an indication of consent. He would later contradict himself in his own ruling when admonishing the accused to make sure he was careful in the future, that “keeping quiet isn’t enough.” He is coming under fire for that. He is also coming under fire for asking the following questions of the victim,
“Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you? Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?”
Additionally, Judge Camp kept calling the victim “the accused” a total of 13 times according to the trial transcripts. The Crown has appealed all of it, citing it as errors of law. The National Post reports today that last month the trial ruling was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal, and that the conduct of Judge Robin Camp is under review by the Canadian Judicial Council.
Judge Camp has apologized according to the Federal Court. The Federal Court is also saying that he will enrol in gender sensitivity training. Meanwhile, there are Canadian women that have been victimized in this country by both assailants and the system that feel he should do time for judicially assaulting a rape victim.
Judge Camp is also no longer able to preside over sexual assault cases until the investigation is complete. He’s required to recuse himself if he finds one crossing his desk. In his apology the National Post notes Judge Camp says,
“I have come to recognize that things that I said and attitudes I displayed during the trial of this matter, and in my decision, caused deep and significant pain to many people. My sincere apology goes out in the first place to the young woman who was the complainant in this matter. I also apologize to the women who experience feelings of anger, frustration and despair at hearing of these events. I am deeply troubled that things that I said would hurt the innocent. In this regard, I am speaking particularly to those who hesitate to come forward to report abuse of any kind and who are reluctant to give evidence about abuse, sexual or otherwise.”
University of Calgary law professor Alice Woolley told the National Post she finds the whole thing grotesque and that he should be apologizing to all of Canada. Wooley was instrumental in turning over multiple transcripts to the judicial council and in filing the complaint against Judge Camp.
The Alberta Court of Appeal agrees with her, that it’s not a way to treat a victim. Their ruling that was released this week can be seen in the slideshow. A new trial has been ordered. A date has not been set for that trial at this time. What is your gut reaction when you hear about this case?