Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Outdated thinking horribly pervasive

Old views should die -- because they're stupid

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A Manitoba judge says he's not sending a rapist to jail because his victim was wearing "suggestive attire" and engaging in "flirtatious behaviour" the night she was attacked.

It may not exactly have been her fault, reasoned Queen's Bench Justice Robert Dewar, but she didn't help matters by behaving provocatively while sporting a tube top.

And Jesus wept.

Kenneth Rhodes, rapist, won't be going to jail because Dewar feels the victim was sending him signals that he was going to get lucky. She was sending them, presumably, until she said no, meant it and then was sexually assaulted.

At that point it's moot what she was wearing, how many drinks she'd had or if she could tie a maraschino cherry stem in a knot with her tongue.

She said no and he raped her.

Kenneth Rhodes walked away with a two-year conditional sentence. He's free to remain in the community.

According to a Free Press story by Mike McIntyre, Dewar called the rapist a "clumsy Don Juan."

A guy who spills a glass of red wine on a first date because he's nervous is a clumsy Don Juan. A guy who rapes a woman is a criminal.

Dewar's decision, and his attempts to justify it, bring to mind the comments made by a Toronto police officer at a college recently. He suggested women avoid sexual assault by not dressing like sluts.

And then there's the Twitter response of Nir Rosen, a fellow at the NYU Center for Law and Security, to the news that CBS correspondent Lara Logan had been gang-raped and beaten in Egypt.

"Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don't support that," he tweeted. "But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson (Cooper), too."

And then this:

"Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than (sic) I'm sorry."

The victim was hospitalized when she was flown back to America. Rosen finally apologized.

In Scotland, the Conservative Convener of the Scottish Parliament's justice committee was forced to resign after comments he made about a series of rapes in Glasgow.

Bill Aitken implied the victim of a gang rape could have been a prostitute, and "the police say that there's a lot of drunken carry-ons that lead to rape allegations which are subsequently dropped, put it that way."

We're running the gamut of viciousness, stupidity and the 1950s view of acceptable behaviour for women. If you dress in a manner a man finds provocative, you're asking for it. If you're gang-raped, some knob can make fun of you on Twitter. And even if you clearly rape a woman, a little nudge, nudge, wink, wink will mitigate your sentence.

Lock up your daughters. This world's gone mad.

What all this tells women is they're not safe. If they're attacked, they are in some small way responsible. Rape is an under-reported crime because women and children already feel shame, already wonder if they couldn't have done something differently.

They're afraid they won't be believed and the stink will be on them.

Kenneth Rhodes' victim has got to be thinking that today. The judge found him guilty, but only sort of. He found her guilty, too.

If you're a young woman who goes to the bar with her friends on the weekends or an older one who likes to dance and have fun, this decision says you're putting the target on your own back.

If you didn't want it, you'd be at home knitting, sweetheart.

Rhodes is supposed to write a letter of apology to his victim. What it's going to say: "I'm sorry your lips said no, no, no, because I was pretty sure your eyes said yes. My bad. Next time wear a bra!"

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2011 A4

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About Lindor Reynolds

National Newspaper Award winner Lindor Reynolds began work at the Free Press as a 17-year-old proofreader. It was a rough introduction to the news business.

Many years later, armed with a university education and a portfolio of published work, she was hired as a Free Press columnist. During her 20-plus years on the job she wrote for every section in the paper, with the exception of Business -- though she joked she'd get around to them some day.

Sadly, that day will never come. Lindor died in October 2014 after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.

Lindor received considerable recognition for her writing. Her awards include the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ general interest award and the North American Travel Journalists Association top prize.

Her work on Internet luring led to an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada and her coverage of the child welfare system prompted a change to Manitoba Child and Family Services Act to make the safety of children paramount.

She earned three citations of merit for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and was awarded a Distinguished Alumni commendation from the University of Winnipeg. Lindor was also named a YMCA/YWCA  Woman of Distinction.

Reynolds was 56. She is survived by a husband, mother, a daughter and son-in-law and three stepdaughters.

The Free Press has published an ebook celebrating the best of Lindor's work. It's available in the Winnipeg Free Press Store; all proceeds will be donated through our Miracle on Mountain charity to the Christmas Cheer Board.


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