The Woman Abuse Working Group (WAWG) is appalled by the Ontario Court of Appeal’s ruling allowing intoxication as a legal defense to sexual assault and supports efforts to appeal ‘extreme intoxication’ defense ruling at the Supreme Court.
This ruling sends the message that those who commit sexual assault under the influence may not be held responsible. If the person who commits sexual assault is not found liable, then whose fault is it? What does this say to the victim seeking justice for the violence and trauma they suffered?
As evidence shows women make up the majority of people victimized in intoxicated sexual violence cases. Just as women are disproportionally victimized by sexual assault, women will further be disproportionately affected by this decision. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for intoxication defenses that will further traumatize the victims and survivors seeking justice for the assault and abuse they endured at the hands of the perpetrators being protected by this new ruling.
This ruling only compounds the barriers for survivors seeking help and justice for their sexual assault. It will negatively impact reporting and convictions of sexual assault. This is a step backwards. The courts, our community, and everyone within it should be sending messages of belief and support to those who had to endure these horrific acts done to them, not messages of protection and leniency to the perpetrators committing them. Collectively we must all be considering the rights, safety and interest of people who will be affected by this decision, the women, and put in motion additional supports to combat this ruling.
Do better. Support Survivors.