Last week, a judge in Toronto handed down a 179-page guilty verdict in a campus sexual assault case. But it was more than just a guilty verdict — it was a scathing condemnation of rape culture at large.
Mustafa Ururyar was charged with sexually assaulting Mandi Grey, a fellow doctoral student at Toronto’s York University, the Huffington Post reports. Judge Marvin Zuker found the defendant guilty, using his lengthy verdict to call out the harmful practice of victim blaming.
You can read the whole document here, but this is the most powerful passage:
“No’ means ‘No,’ no matter what the situation or circumstances. It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped. The responsibility and blame lie with the perpetrator who takes advantage of a vulnerable victim or violates the victim’s trust to commit the crime of sexual assault. Rape is an act of violence and aggression in which the perpetrator uses sex as a weapon to gain power and control over the victim…It is important to draw the legal and common sense distinction between rape and sex. There is no situation in which an individual cannot control his/her sexual urges. Sexual excitement does not justify forced sex…We must not confuse sex with sexual violence.”
The verdict stands in stark contrast to the trial of Brock Turner, the ex-Stanford student who was sentenced to six months in prison for sexually assaulting a young woman on campus. In that case, Judge Aaron Persky’s sentence was widely criticised as lenient, and more than 1 million people signed petitions asking for his removal.
Ururyar’s sentence will be handed down by Judge Zuker on September 14.
In the flurry of media attention surrounding the verdict, Mandi Grey released a powerful statement of her own, reminding others that a ruling in her favour still isn’t cause for celebration. “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it is supposed to,” she wrote. “If we are told to be grateful for receiving the bare minimum…I am incredibly concerned.”
Learn more about the case right here:
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