Progressive politics, ideas & culture


sexual assault

January-February 2018

Why is a proposed bill to educate Canadian judges in sexual assault law stalled in the Senate?

Tabled by former interim Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose, the bill has been stalled since December

Hillary Di Menna

When then-interim Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose tabled a bill last February that would require all judges to be trained in sexual assault law, the idea was widely embraced by all parties. The motion followed a slew of incidents wherein Canadian judges displayed astonishing fogginess on what constitutes consent. In May 2017, with politicians and […] More »

Allegations against Aziz Ansari have opened up powerful conversations about consent that we need to have

Commentary around allegations against the actor has been heated, but the story has brought about an important dialogue about sex

Hanna Lee

On January 7, 2018, Aziz Ansari won a Golden Globe in a black suit adorned with a Time’s Up pin, a symbol of solidarity with women in the industry. Six days later, he was accused of sexual misconduct. Ansari has spent his career displaying his understanding of nuances—of the dating world, of gender inequality, of […] More »
July-August 2017

In addressing sexual assault cases on campus, B.C. universities miss the mark

Whether new policies for handling sexual violence at universities in British Columbia will be effective remains to be seen

Madi Haslam@madihaslam

This year, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday. Ours is a country of rich history—but not all Canadian stories are told equally. In this special report, This tackles 13 issues—one per province and territory—that have yet to be addressed and resolved by our country in a century and a half In April 2016, British Columbia passed a […] More »

How survivors are confronting sexual assault on one Toronto campus

Tamsyn Riddle has filed a human rights complaint against the University of Toronto in the wake of her alleged sexual assault

Hillary Di Menna

Tamsyn Riddle was excited to start her university courses in 2015. At the University of Toronto, where she majors in diaspora and transnational studies and minors in equity studies and political science, her academic successes would be appreciated in a way that they weren’t at her Peterborough high school. Plus, she could be a part […] More »
May-June 2017

New film follows a Toronto sexual assault trial, featuring an all-female crew

Behind the scenes of Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial

Leah Lalich@LeahLalich

The same day the Jian Ghomeshi trial began at Toronto’s Old City Hall, another sexual assault trial was taking place just one floor above. Kelly Showker’s upcoming documentary film, Slut or Nut: The Diary of a Rape Trial, follows York University PhD student Mandi Gray as she settles her human rights case with the university, following […] More »

COMIC: What it’s like to fight sexual violence in Canada

"I'll take my chances"

Hana Shafi@hanashafi

Linda Christina Redgrave: One year after Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal, I’m keeping the conversation going

She was Witness 1 in Ghomeshi's trial. She feared the dialogue around sexual assault would fizzle out. It's not.

Linda Christina Redgrave

It’s been a year since I took my final police escorted ride to hear Judge William B. Horkins deliver the verdict for the Jian Ghomeshi trial. Lucy, Witness 3 (still under publication ban) and I gathered in the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) room accompanied by lawyers and friends to hear the outcome of this much […] More »
January-February 2017

2017 Kick-Ass Activist: Glynnis Kirchmeier

Paralegal Glynnis Kirchmeier is tackling sexual assault on campus head on, giving a voice to survivors at the University of British Columbia

Hillary Di Menna

For the last year, University of British Columbia (UBC) graduate Glynnis Kirchmeier has been working to hold her alma mater accountable for the sexual violence that happens on its campus. The paralegal has developed 44 recommendations for how the university can better respond to reports of sexual violence—what she calls her “unfinished business” in B.C. Her […] More »
January-February 2017

Why Leah Parsons is still fighting to keep her daughter Rehtaeh’s memory alive

After the story of her daughter's death drew international attention nearly four years ago, Parsons now travels the country to share her daughter's story

Michaela Cavanagh@mmcavanagh

For Leah Parsons, healing through activism is about finding a balance between doing enough and not wearing herself down. “With everything I do, I ask myself, ‘Does it feel light, or does it feel heavy, emotionally?’” she says. Nearly four years after her daughter, Rehtaeh, took her own life, Parsons steadies herself by being a […] More »
November-December 2016

What journalists need to know about covering sexual assault

Media is giving more ink than ever to sexual assault coverage. But how do we ensure journalists report with respect?

Blair Mlotek@blairmlo

Today’s media climate is rife with increased—but not necessarily better—reporting on sexual assault and rape. That’s why, in December 2015, Toronto-based organization Femifesto and its collaborators created Use the Right Words, a guide to help journalists report respectfully, progressively, and accurately on stories addressing sexual violence. We sat down with one of the main writers, […] More »
September-October 2016

Rape survivors deserve justice

The government must review how sexual assault cases are handled

Karyn L. Freedman

For our special 50th anniversary issue, Canada’s brightest, boldest, and most rebellious thinkers, doers, and creators share their best big ideas. Through ideas macro and micro, radical and everyday, we present 50 essays, think pieces, and calls to action. Picture: plans for sustainable food systems, radical legislation, revolutionary health care, a greener planet, Indigenous self-government, […] More »