Intoxication is not a valid defence for sexual assault

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People accused of sexual assault in Ontario are once again allowed to use excessive intoxication as a defence against criminal charges. A judge’s ruling found that a federal law preventing such an argument is unconstitutional, that it’s a violation of the rights of the accused.

As a survivor of sexual assault, I feel the ruling is an insult and a slap in the face to anyone who has ever been abused. When you drink and drive, you are guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) and it’s your fault if you hurt or kill someone. Why is it any different in sexual assault cases?

The ruling comes in a case in which a man voluntarily took a substance commonly known as a the date-rape drug, then said he didn’t know what he was doing when he had sexual intercourse with a woman who was waking up. He must now prove he was intoxicated to the point of automatism, a state in which he was not aware of his actions.

 This sets dangerous precedents for all future cases, as abusers will be able to use intoxication as a valid defence. We ask Judge Nancy Spies to repeal her decision and to uphold section 33.1 of the Criminal Code that states extreme intoxication cannot be used as a defence in any type of assault case.

Let’s get as many signatures as possible before proceedings continue on September 12th, to send a clear message that “I didn’t know what I was doing” does not make rape acceptable.

Think of your loved ones and how it will affect survivors, any future victims and our culture. We don’t need more barriers to justice in sexual assault cases.

You can sign and share this petition to say loud and clear that voluntary intoxication is not an excuse for abuse.

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