Pursuing Justice for the rape of my mother
Those who are familiar with my story, know that I have struggled with traumatic and intrusive memories of one of my ‘dads’ who had beaten and raped my mother in front of me, when I was a child.
I have been out-spoken about the fact that I witnessed my mother be beaten and raped, and the effects of the trauma. I have told the story of the rape in many forums including: public speaking, academic writing, poetic narratives, print media, TV media and government funded resources.
Since becoming a social worker and a lawyer, I am taking yet another step towards healing and justice. Of course, this does not come without speed bumps and hurdles, which I will figure out and overcome.
My mother had recently filed a complaint with the RCMP for the violent sexual assault. Unfortunately, at the time of the sexual assault, which was prior to 1982, it was not a criminal offence for a man to rape his wife.
Section 143 Criminal Code of Canada(1979–1982):
A male person commits rape when he has sexual intercourse with a female person who is not his wife,
(a) without her consent, or
(b) with her consent if the consent
(i) is extorted by threats or fear of bodily harm,
(ii) is obtained by personating her husband, or
(iii) is obtained by false and fraudulent representations as to the nature and quality of the act.
In my correspondence with the Alberta Crown, I anticipated an inability to prosecute for the rape due to arcane laws, however, I also believed that perhaps the Crown would proceed with an alternative Criminal Code provision from the law of the day e.g.:
Section 149 Criminal Code of Canada(1979–1982):
Every one who indecently assaults a female person is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for five years.
As it turns out the Alberta Crown refuses to apply other laws, which were in place at the time, and this results in no criminal prosecution whatsoever. I was hopeful that the Crown’s inability to prosecute a crime, because it was lawful for a man to rape his wife at the time, would be ameliorated by applying another relevant Criminal Code provision. I am deeply disappointed with the Alberta Crown’s decision.
It is my view that the Alberta Crown is acting improperly, in their discretion, on this matter; of course, as those who know me would expect, I am considering my options to provide the Alberta Crown with an opportunity to reconsider of their decision to not pursue prosecution. I believe, not only because this is a matter of a personal nature, that the RCMP and Alberta Crown ought to be more sensitive to such historic criminal matters and pursue justice by applying alternative relevant criminal charges.
Most recently, I filed a Notice of Civil Claim against the man who beat and raped my mother in front of me. This is a major step in my healing path, and I do plan to run this matter on my own. Fortunately, I have support from very skilled senior lawyers that have a strong sense of justice and whom I can rely upon for direction. I have a strong sense of justice, for others and myself, and this will be my most successful pursuit.
…more will be revealed…
**Picture by the Prince George Citizen**