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June 5th, 2020

Ontario court ruling, a step backward for safety of women and girls

NDP’s Women and Gender Equality Critic, Lindsay Mathyssen issued the following statement:

“A ruling in the Ontario Appeals Court on Wednesday sets back years of progress made by women and girls in their fight for justice.

The decision sends an incredibly dangerous message that men can avoid accountability for their acts of violence against women and children by using intoxication as a defence.

Violence disproportionately impacts women and girls in Canada, particularly those who are the most marginalized, including racialized and Indigenous women, as well as those living with disabilities.

Many women are already reluctant to report sexual violence, often out of fear of not being believed.

Many barriers for women and survivors of sexual assault to come forward already exist; now there are even more blocking them from getting justice. This is why we need to continue to build upon the calls that came from the #MeToo movement and we must see that this decision is appealed.

The NDP expects that this ruling will be appealed, so a higher court can weigh the impact this decision may have across the country on the lives of women, trans women and sex workers, their bodies, and the justice they deserve after surviving sexual assault or violence.

We will also be exploring changes to the law that may be necessary to ensure that extreme intoxication not be used as a legitimate defence for harassment and assault.”