Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 1/3/2011 (2361 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I share the outrage at Mr. Justice Robert Dewar's words and his recent ruling in a sexual assault case. It's an entirely unacceptable outcome that demeans women.
That said, Lindor Reynolds does much to perpetuate outmoded stereotypes about women, sexuality and domesticity in her Feb. 25 column, Outdated thinking horribly pervasive, when she says, "If you didn't want it, you'd be at home knitting, sweetheart."
What does knitting have to do with it?
Recent statistics show that one in three women in North America know how to knit or crochet. Unfortunately, we can assume that many of these knitters are women who have dealt with sexual assault and rape.
Knitters today, both female and male, are a feminist force with which to be reckoned. We play active roles in the professional world and we use knitting as a medium in art, culture and society far beyond just sweaters. (No one should disregard the power of a warm hand-knit sweater, socks or mitts in Winnipeg's climate, either!)
What's the only thing a knitter can hope for when faced with the all too common situation of sexual violence? If she has her knitting, at least she's armed -- with two pointy sticks.
Justice Dewar, stop demeaning women by intimating that "they asked for it." Ms. Reynolds, stop demeaning knitters with some old-fashioned, irrelevant stereotype. It does your argument a great disservice.
For years, commentators on the right of the political spectrum have been complaining about reduced sentences handed out to perpetrators of murder or aggravated assault. It makes no difference, they said, what circumstances there were surrounding the incident (whether it be poverty or some other factor). Murder is murder and should be punished as such. Meanwhile, those on the political left remained silent.
However, now that Justice Robert Dewar has applied a conditional sentence to a sexual assault offence, those on the left are outraged. Rape is rape, they say, regardless of any factors surrounding the incident. Now, while leftists are protesting in the streets over Dewar's decision, those on the right (MLA Myrna Driedger notwithstanding) have stayed largely silent.
It seems that those on the left and right do not really disagree that surrounding circumstances should be considered in sentencing. Instead, they each apply this principle to different offences. Dewar's decision indicates that both sides should step back from their rhetoric and begin a real discussion about the value of conditional sentencing.