Cases involving players spanning decades have come to light. Worse still, victims are shamed and lack of accountability.
In July, former Vancouver Canucks ice hockey player Jake Virtanen was tried on charges of sexual assault. The Vancouver trial ended with the jury finding not guilty. Although the jury did not provide a reason for their decision, we do know that defense attorneys representing Virtanen presented a range of sexist stereotypes about women who reported being abused. rape, their motives for doing so, and how they behave during and after being sexually assaulted.
Complainant made clear and strong statement. “I think saying no, I don’t want to do this and physically pushing him away from me is enough,” she said. “What else do I have to say?”
During the cross-examination, however, she was repeatedly forced to explain her actions: Why she entered his hotel room in the first place and why she didn’t leave after being raped ? If she really doesn’t want to have sex; Why didn’t she make up an excuse like having a yeast infection or that she was on her period, she was asked. Although the defense later apologized for the second line of questioning, the jury was exposed to suggestions that women had a responsibility to anticipate and prevent rape.
Feminists have worked steadily for decades to change the public’s understanding of rape legend used to discredit women in various fields. Although there is now a broad consensus on the need to end rape culture and its systemic origins, this recognition has not yet been fruitful when it comes to blaming men through the system. criminal justice system.
The women urged us to protest the violence they experienced and decided to call the police, do so knowing that odds are stacked. They hold a glimmer of hope that the justice system will ultimately protect women.
The Virtanen affair comes amid a growing scandal involving Hockey Canada, the sport’s governing body in the country, and reports that men’s hockey players at the Canadian elite level were being bullied. accused of committing two acts of gang rape.
Earlier this year, a woman alleged that she was sexually assaulted by eight drunken footballers, including members of the national youth team, following an event in London hosted by Hockey Canada in June. 2018. She filed a $3.55 million claim from Hockey Canada, which later settled the case in court for an undisclosed amount in May 2022. Canadian Hockey is subject to close scrutiny from the government, corporate sponsors and the public.
Then, on July 22, details were revealed about an attack that took place in 2003 at Halifax during the World Juniors tournament that featured Canadian players. The attack was filmed. According to news reports, one player spoke in front of the camera and told viewers that they were about to see “lamb roast”. The video shows several male players taking turns raping an unresponsive woman lying face down on a pool table.
These brutal attacks represent an absolute disregard for the humanity of women inherent in sexual violence. With cases spanning decades, it is clear that the existing structures governing men’s hockey in Canada both protect perpetrators from meaningful accountability and fail to prevent further sexual violence. keep happening. Rather, the need for a change in leadership emerged, leading to the resignation of the chairman of the board on August 6.
Of course, the atmosphere of men’s sexual rights to women’s bodies is not limited to hockey – or indeed sport. In fact, it mirrors what we hear on our crisis lines every day. While the quest for truth and investigation into Canada Hockey continues, we know that until there are concrete consequences for those who perpetrate and permit rape, women It’s the one who has to endure it.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of Al Jazeera.