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Canadian hockey has a rape downside | Ice Hockey

Instances involving gamers spanning a long time have come to mild. 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 ladies 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 depart after the rape? If she really hadn’t needed the intercourse; why didn’t she fabricate an excuse akin 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 solutions that ladies are answerable 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 ladies in varied spheres. Whereas there may be now widespread consensus on the need to finish rape tradition and its systemic roots, this recognition has but to bear fruit in terms of holding males accountable by way of the prison 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 odds are stacked against them. They maintain onto a sliver of hope that the justice system will ultimately defend ladies.

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

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

Then, on July 22, particulars have been revealed of an assault that occurred in 2003 in Halifax through the World Juniors match involving Canadian gamers. The assault was filmed. In keeping with information stories, a participant spoke to the digicam and informed the viewers they have been about to see “a f***ing lamb roast.” The video exhibits 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 grow to be clear that the prevailing buildings governing males’s hockey in Canada each protected perpetrators from significant accountability and did not curb additional sexual violence from occurring. Rightfully, calls for for management change have emerged, ensuing within the board chair resigning on August 6.

After all, this environment of males’s sexual entitlement to ladies’s our bodies isn’t restricted to hockey – or certainly to sports activities. It’s, in actual fact, reflective of what we hear on our disaster line every 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 ladies 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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