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Canadian hockey has a rape problem | Ice Hockey

Instances involving gamers spanning a long time have come to gentle. Worse, victims are shamed and accountability is lacking.

In July, former Vancouver Canucks ice hockey participant Jake Virtanen was tried on a cost of sexual assault. The trial in Vancouver ended with the jury delivering a not responsible verdict. Although the jury didn’t present causes for his or her verdict, we do know that the defence lawyer representing Virtanen introduced a litany of sexist stereotypes about girls who report rape, their motivations for doing so and the way they behave throughout and after sexual assault.

The complainant made clear and powerful statements. “I assumed saying no, I don’t need to do that and bodily pushing him off of me was sufficient,” she mentioned. “What else did I’ve to say?”

Nonetheless, within the cross-examination, she was pressed repeatedly to clarify her actions: Why did she go to his lodge room within the first place and why didn’t she go away after the rape? If she actually hadn’t needed the intercourse; why didn’t she fabricate an excuse comparable to having a yeast an infection or that she was menstruating, she was requested. Though the defence lawyer subsequently apologised for the latter line of questioning, the jury was uncovered to strategies that ladies are chargeable for anticipating and stopping rape.

Feminists have labored steadily for many years to shift the general public’s understanding of the rape myths used to discredit girls in numerous spheres. Whereas there’s now widespread consensus on the need to finish rape tradition and its systemic roots, this recognition has but to bear fruit in relation to holding males accountable by way of the legal justice system.

The ladies who name us in resistance to the violence they’ve skilled and resolve to report back to police, achieve this realizing that the percentages are stacked in opposition to them. They maintain onto a sliver of hope that the justice system will finally shield girls.

The Virtanen case befell in opposition to the backdrop of an unfolding scandal involving Hockey Canada, the game’s governing physique within the nation, and studies that Canadian male hockey gamers at an elite degree have been alleged to have perpetrated two acts of gang rape.

Earlier this 12 months, a girl alleged that she was sexually assaulted by eight intoxicated gamers, together with members of the nationwide junior group after a London occasion organised by Hockey Canada in June 2018. She filed a press release of declare looking for $3.55m in damages from Hockey Canada, which then settled the lawsuit out of court docket for an undisclosed quantity in Could 2022. This monetary settlement put Hockey Canada beneath intense scrutiny from the federal government, company sponsors and the general public.

Then, on July 22, particulars have been revealed of an assault that befell in 2003 in Halifax throughout the World Juniors event involving Canadian gamers. The assault was filmed. Based on information studies, a participant spoke to the digital camera and instructed the viewers they have been about to see “a f***ing lamb roast.” The video reveals a number of male gamers taking turns raping a non-responsive lady laying face up on a pool desk.

These brutal assaults illustrate absolutely the disregard for ladies’s humanity inherent in sexual violence. With circumstances spanning a long time, it has change into clear that the prevailing constructions governing males’s hockey in Canada each protected perpetrators from significant accountability and didn’t curb additional sexual violence from occurring. Rightfully, calls for for management change have emerged, ensuing within the board chair resigning on August 6.

In fact, this environment of males’s sexual entitlement to girls’s our bodies isn’t restricted to hockey – or certainly to sports activities. It’s, actually, reflective of what we hear on our disaster line each day. Whereas a fact-finding mission and investigation into Hockey Canada continues on, we all know that till there are tangible penalties for many who commit and allow rape, it’s girls that suffer the inaction.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.



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