Judging Sexual Assault: Lessons from the Robin Camp Debacle

November 17, 2016 :: Dr. Caroline Hodes
Moderated by Heather Oxman

Is the judiciary sexist? Should Robin Camp be removed from the bench? Is contrition enough? These are some of the questions that have been raised in response to Justice Robin Camp’s comments and his acquittal of the accused in the 2014 R. v. Wagar sexual assault case.

Unfortunately, Robin Camp’s commentary is not an isolated incident nor is it unique in sexual assault cases in Canada. Instead, it underscores what has been characterized as a much broader crisis in confidence in the criminal justice process for survivors of sexual violence. Sexual violence is one of the most under reported forms of violence for a number of complex reasons.

Commentators have identified Robin Camp’s conduct as something that could put an even more chilling effect on reporting and access to justice for those who have been assaulted. Without understanding the contextual and intersectional factors at play in this case, including presumptions about the sexual availability of Indigenous women, substance use, poverty and homelessness, it is not possible to understand the gravity of Justice Camp’s commentary.

The speaker will discuss two of the most poignant lessons that can be learned from this case: 1) the insights that it provides into the many barriers to access to justice for survivors in sexual assault cases and 2) the need for due diligence on the bench.

Speaker:     Dr. Caroline Hodes

Dr. Caroline Hodes joined the University of Lethbridge in the Department of Women & Gender Studies in 2015. Prior to her appointment at Lethbridge, she taught at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston and in Sociology at Trent University’s Oshawa campus. Dr. Hodes received her PhD from York University in 2013. Her doctoral research was funded by the Helena Orton Memorial fund and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Dr. Hodes research interests include human rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian and US feminist constitutionalism, and she has recently won a ULRF grant to fund her current work on representations of the body in Charter equality rights and s. 35 Aboriginal rights litigation. Her forthcoming publication in Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice is entitled “Intersectionality in the Canadian Courts: In Search of a Decolonial Politics of Possibility” and traces the limitations of the grounds approach in Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms equality rights cases.

Moderator: Heather Oxman

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2016
Time: Noon - 1:30 pm
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)

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