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Monday 20 November 2000

Rape-shield law encourages women to falsely accuse men

 

 

Eva Saira
The Ottawa Citizen

 

One dreads to think how many innocent men are behind bars or have had their lives ruined and names smeared publicly because of false allegations of sexual assault.

There are no deterrents in the law against false allegations. To the contrary, the justice system encourages women to come forward and lay charges. The rape-shield law protects the accuser's identity, even after the charges have been found to be groundless. The victim/witness program gives generous compensation to "victims" of alleged sexual or wife assault. There are no punitive measures in place to curb the ever-increasing numbers of those who are on the make. Rape and related crimes are alleged to have happened behind closed doors. Accusations can be filed decades after the alleged incident. Unlike in other proceedings under the Criminal Code, the onus is on the accused to prove his innocence, not on the accuser to prove the suspect's guilt.

The accused has no protection. By reverse onus, he is considered to be guilty until he succeeds in clearing his name. His picture and name are splashed across the media during his arrest. It will be next to impossible to get his name removed from the abuse registry, even if he manages to clear his name. His life is ruined, he and his family will most likely have lost everything during the process. Yet, he will not qualify for any compensation.

In the meantime, the attorneys and solicitors general of Canada and the provinces, together with the judges, are issuing one draconian law after another. The tenet in the courts of law is "believe the woman." Judges and politicians have been duly trained in "gender sensitivity," i.e the feminist interpretation of law which sees women as victims of the patriarchy. The cases are to be judged in this context.

It is time to put an end to this folly and to start treating women as men's equal. That means as mere humans, with equal responsibilities. Rights are earned, not demanded.

Eva Saira,

Lanark Highlands