Canada Supreme Court Rules Unconscious People Cannot Give Consent

by Shaker BGK, who desperately wants the Vancouver Canucks to bring the Stanley Cup home.

[Trigger warning for sexual violence.]

As a citizen of a US city near the 49th parallel, I try to keep an eye on what our northern neighbors are doing. So in my morning click to, I was pleased to find the following news from Ottawa:
No consent in unconscious sex case: Supreme Court

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, writing for the majority, said a person must be conscious during sexual activity to give consent.
That's an awesome legal precedent to set, and makes it much more difficult to make those familiar arguments about victims being complicit in their own rapes or giving advance consent or existing in a perpetual state of consent unless they say no or any of the other rape culture narratives used to try to make "having sex" with an unconscious person not rape.

Despite the countless people will slut-shame the victim, because clearly she wore that mini-skirt and therefore wanted it, or he had too many drinks that night and therefore was asking for it, it seems to me that the legal standard being applied here is much stricter, and I think Canadians of all genders will be safer for it.

I am, however, dismayed that the cbc author included some specifics of the sexual history of the two people involved in this case as the article itself is ostensibly a blurb about the ruling, not a full history of the case. It seems as though these specifics serve as a dogwhistle to slut-shame and diminish the integrity of the victim. It does not focus on the defendant's actions, but adds a layer of confusion to the article, subtly encouraging us to feel sorry for the defendant, instead of believing the prosecution—a common trick of the media in a patriarchy.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Chief Justice of the Cour Supreme du Canada is the Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, that four of the nine judges were women, and that all four women voted in favor of the ruling. I am sad to say I have a hard time believing that the US Supreme Court would deliver a similar opinion.

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