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Cathy YoungCathy YoungAug 5, 2016

In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications

(See below for update.)

While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the presumption of innocence and defendants' rights in sexual assault cases, all in the name of combating "rape culture." And the latest instance of this assault is not from the annals of "campus kangaroo courts," where the accused do not have the legal protections afforded criminal defendants and do not risk a penalty worse than expulsion from school. It is an actual criminal case resulting in a prison sentence -- albeit in Canada.

On July 21, Mustafa Ururyar, a 29-year-old York University graduate student, was found guilty of sexually assaulting fellow grad student Mandi Gray, 28. The verdict was handed down by Ontario Court Judge Marvin Zuker in a non-jury trial, after six hearings in February, April and May. The alleged rape -- and I continue to say "alleged," because after reading the 180-page judgment which included excerpts from trial testimony, I see no grounds for a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or even by "clear and convincing evidence" -- happened in January 2015.

It was a classic he said/she said. Ururyar and Gray had been casually involved for two weeks (he told her he was in an open relationship, though Gray later testified that he seemed concerned about keeping their involvement a secret from his girlfriend and she began to suspect he was not being truthful). On the night in question, Gray texted Ururyar inviting him to join her at a bar where she was drinking with friends: "Come drink and then we can have hot sex." Uruyrar initially declined, saying that he was tired and still getting over a cold, but after another exchange some time later told Gray he was coming over. (She replied, "Oh, miss me that much, jk.") They spent some time at the bar, and then at another nearby establishment, drinking with a group of friends. When they were leaving around 2:30 a.m., Ururyar asked another woman in the group, identified only as Lacey, to come over to his apartment, but Lacey refused and left in a taxicab.

At that point, Gray's and Ururyar's accounts of what happened sharply diverge.

Gray's version: Ururyar suddenly became angry and verbally abusive, telling her that he had wanted to have a threesome with Lacey and that she should have made an effort to persuade Lacey to come along. Though shocked and upset, Gray still went back to Ururyar's apartment with him; she needed a place to sleep and "didn't feel comfortable catching a cab" by herself to her place because she was intoxicated and "vulnerable." As they walked, Ururyar kept getting angrier, screaming at her in the middle of the street, calling her a drunk slut and telling her he wanted nothing to do with her. When they got to his apartment, she sat on the bed while he continued berating her. Finally, he said, "This is the last time ever that I'm going to fuck you and you're going to like it." He grabbed her by the hair and forced her to perform oral sex, then raped her vaginally; terrified by his rage and psychologically worn down by his verbal abuse, she submitted without protest.

Ururyar's version: Gray was flirting with him all evening at the bar, twice reaching out to grope his thigh; he even asked her to stop because he was embarrassed by the public display. He did in fact want a threesome, having heard from a mutual friend that Gray was interested in having one, but his only reaction after Lacey left in a cab was to express his disappointment. Gray said, "Am I not enough for you?", to which he replied, "Yes, you are" and put his arm around her as they walked to his place. Once there, they stripped down to their underwear and got in bed together. That was when Ururyar told Gray that he wanted to end their relationship, mentioning that he was annoyed by her behavior at the bar -- specifically, the public groping -- and also that his girlfriend would be moving in with him soon. Gray burst into tears; Ururyar took her in his arms, she moved to kiss him, and they held and cuddled each other. Then, she initiated oral sex from which they moved on to fully consensual intercourse.

There was no independent evidence to strongly corroborate either version. Both Ururyar and Gray had sent ambiguous text messages referring to the night's events. Gray texted Ururyar the next day saying, "Last night was really fucked up," to which he replied, "Okay." She also texted a female friend asking, "If you don't consent to sex, but you don't not consent, I don't know what is that?" to which the friend replied, "That's rape." Five days later, Ururyar texted Gray again, unaware that she had already gone to the police with a rape complaint; his message read, "I am sorry things went as they did. I shouldn't have said and done some of the things I did. I was upset and felt wronged by you but that does not excuse my own mistakes."

It is quite possible that Gray's story is substantively true. If it is, I believe Ururyar's actions can be properly classified as sexual assault. Even if he did not overtly threaten Gray, his angry and aggressive behavior -- as described by her -- certainly sounds frightening enough to coerce someone into submission against their will (especially if that person is in a weakened state due to intoxication). Even prior to feminist-driven legal reforms, courts generally recognized that submission to a threat of violence is not consent; it is reasonable to extend this principle to a more general threatening situation.

On the other hand, it is also quite possible that Ururyar's story is substantively true. It's not particularly implausible. You don't even have to believe that, as Ururyar's lawyer Lisa Bristow suggested, Gray was deliberately lying out of vindictive spite. She might have retroactively reinterpreted the sexual encounter as coercive because she felt hurt and humiliated -- especially when, by her admission, her memories were clouded by alcohol. (It is also quite likely that Gray's perception was affected by feminist politics. Gray has stressed that she did not become an anti-sexual assault activist until after her experience with Ururyar; but she had previously worked with the Elizabeth Fry Society, which deals with issues affecting female criminal defendants and embraces a perspective that views sexual violence as an aspect of patriarchal oppression.)

It is also possible that the truth is somewhere in between. Maybe Ururyar was more verbally abusive than he admitted but not as angry and aggressive as Gray described; maybe Gray felt psychologically beaten down by his words but not threatened, and either initiated or went along with sex to "make things better," not to avoid potential physical harm.

In other words, there are many possible scenarios here -- certainly enough to raise reasonable doubt.

But, bizarrely, Judge Zuker resolved this dilemma by simply choosing to accept the entirety of Gray's account, dismissing various inconsistencies as the product of trauma, and to dismiss Ururyar's version outright. "I reject Mr. Ururyar's evidence," he stated flatly. "I cannot accept his evidence." The apparent rationale for this was that Ururyar's testimony was "at total variance with that of the complainant."

Judge Zuker categorically declared no less than ten times that various facts alleged by Ururyar "never happened." He opined that it was "incomprehensible" for Ururyar to paint Gray as a "seductive party animal," despite her text messages which could be seen as supporting this portrayal. (Gray had deleted these messages from her phone; she also never mentioned them to the police, ostensibly because she didn't think they were "relevant to him raping me.") He claimed to know for a fact that Ururyar's apology to Gray referred to sexual assault, not to a bad breakup.

The judge also rejected and openly mocked Ururyar's claim that Gray groped his thigh at the bar, despite her admission that at one point he asked her to stop touching him. He rejected as meaningless the testimony of Ururyar's roommate who said that he heard no shouting or raised voices on the night of the alleged rape, when Gray initially said Ururyar yelled at her in his room. (She later amended this claim to say that he spoke harshly.)

And he made this eyebrow-raising comment, in reference to Gray's text messages: "We don't even know what the phrase 'hot sex' means." Well, yes, I suppose it could have been a euphemism for playing Scrabble.

No less remarkable is the fact that Judge Zuker used his judgment as a vehicle for a sermon that, in the words of National Post columnist Christie Blatchford, "sounded as if borrowed from a college course on feminist thinking." He repeatedly denounced "rape myths" and "victim-blaming" and attacked "misguided conceptions of what constitutes a 'real' rape or how a 'real' victim of sexual violence should behave." He mentioned the "need to appreciate the interplay of power, gender, and sexuality," citing radical feminist authors such as Susan Brownmiller (whose 1975 book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, postulated that rape is "a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear"). He even reframed standard defense arguments, such as stressing Gray's hazy recollection of the night's events, as covert tactics of patriarchal oppression -- handing control to Ururyar and letting him "write the script" while leaving Gray with "no voice [and] no power."

When Ururyar is sentenced on September 14, he could get a maximum of 18 months in jail. Meanwhile, at the July 25 bail hearing, Judge Zuker not only revoked the bail and ordered Ururyar to jail immediately but berated him in what Blatchford called a "sneering rant." He repeatedly stressed that he had already found Ururyar to be a rapist. He jeered at attorney Bristow's request to give Ururyar a chance to put his affairs in order, work on his Ph.D., and spend some time with his family and his fiancee. (Update: The order revoking the bail was reversed on August 3 and Ururyar was released pending sentencing.)

"He's not the victim here," Judge Zuker indignantly asserted.

Maybe not.

But there is a distinct, non-negligible possibility that Ururyar was wrongfully accused -- and in that case, he is indeed a victim.

I recognize the very real possibility that Mandi Gray was raped by Mustafa Ururyar. (That she invited him to have "hot sex" earlier is not proof of consent later on.) I understand that it can be an extremely difficult, near-insurmountable task to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, a very intimate crime in which the physical evidence indicates only sexual contact but can neither confirm nor rule out coercion or consent. The presumption of innocence means, like it or not, that most such crimes will go unpunished in criminal court.

However, I also know that false accusations are a non-trivial issue. And I know that in a climate in which young women are increasingly taught an elastic and subjective definition of rape, allowing them to retroactively reinterpret bad or regretted sex as nonconsensual, it is particularly risky to convict solely on the word of the accuser. Even more so if fact-finders are encouraged to view the complainant's behaviors that seem inconsistent with her claims as evidence of "denial" or trauma.

The war on "rape culture" is on a collision course with the basic principles of justice.

Update, August 5, 2016.

On August 3, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Quigley vacated Justice Zuker's decision to revoke Ururyar's bail and ordered him released. Quigley also appeared to openly question Zuker's impartiality; he noted that the number of references to academic texts on gender-based violence in Zuker's judgment was "a jaw-dropper" and that it "raises questions of having a predisposed mind."

Meanwhile, Canadian court reform advocate Lise LaSalle examines Justice Zuker's record in this long and very interesting post.

7 Replies26 Likes↻ Reply
What do you think? Reply to Cathy Young.
Infinite DissentInfinite DissentAug 5, 2016245 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the
The apparent rationale for this was that Uruyar's testimony was "at total variance with that of the complainant."

Absolutely amazing. This judge needs to be struck off immediately for being dangerously incompetent. You don't just declare that a defendant is lying because he disagrees with the accuser. Of course he disagrees with the accuser, that's the whole point of defending yourself in court.

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@itsthatguyagain@itsthatguyagainAug 5, 2016234 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the
"sounded as if borrowed from a college course on feminist thinking." It's worse than that, it's called "feminist jurisprudence" and it is a thing:

law.cornell.edu/wex/feminist_jurisprudence

Time is long past to be taken by surprise that ideological feminism has reached the halls of power and the courts of law, and reigns dominant over the decision-making processes of public officials. Long past, as in decades past the onset of intensive and ongoing infiltrations of feminist rationales and definitions into law, education, law enforcement, public employment, union regulations, professional and in-service training and continuing education, and on and on and on.
1 Reply2 Likes↻ Reply
@telstar@telstarAug 9, 2016217 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the
And Feminism has always been from the very beginning, 100% pure fraud, lies and misinformation. All of it. From the Wage Gap, to 1 in 4, to 'Rape Culture,' to the Duluth Model (possibly the first example of a Feminist fraud theory becoming law or at the very least the legal guideline used in ruin as many men's lives as possible because Feminism is itself simply the hatred of men).

So the future is looking extremely bleak. Women will continue to weasel their way into the ranks of power in government and will poison everything including the legal system itself, creating a Hell on Earth as if it wasn't bad enough already; any man at any time can be falsely accused of rape and INSTANTLY he goes to jail, no questions asked and his face blasted all over the news. And it doesn't matter if he is found not guilty later, his life is already ruined.
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Douglas MilnesDouglas MilnesSep 20, 2016220 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the
Unfortunately, the appeal will be difficult. Appeals usually rely on new evidence coming to light but in a he-said, she-said case where sex is admitted, what new evidence can there be? There was no evidence of the shouting in the street the accuser claimed, no evidence of the shouting in the room she claimed; so presenting more streams of people who heard nothing can not count as new evidence.

The only chance is for a judicial enquiry but that is a long, tedious process rarely used and unlikely in a case such as this.

I hate to sound pessimistic but I think this young man's live has been irrevocably damaged and there is no chance for justice to prevail.
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@lizbrody@lizbrodyAug 7, 2016238 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the

Thank you for soberly viewing the realities in this disturbing case. I've read the transcript also. The texts with her friend immediately after she left his apartment and her behavior prior to accompanying him to his apartment (including the "hot sex" and "get drunk" text) set the tone and tell the story. Of course she put her hands on his leg at the bar! And why not? The effort of Mandi Gray and her attorney to revise her into a big frozen doll who didn't speak and couldn't possibly be sexually aggressive or even desire sex is almost laughable. The effort of Marvin Zuker to grandstand his decision into a Catherine MacKinnon women's studies class would also be laughable if it weren't so dark and insane. But to revise the circumstances sufficiently to fit his need to grandstand and utterly ruin the defendant he must pretend that Mandi Gray could never have wanted sex or even have dared touch the defendant's leg at the bar despite her "hot sex" text and the fact that she'd consumed over a six pack. And why? Well, based on affirmative consent law, she did not get consent to massage his leg. She even admitted she recalled him telling her not to touch him. That was the whole basis of his rebuke that came later. But then she tells the world she doesn't recall touching him? She's lying of course! And Zuker needed to firmly confirm the lie as absolute truth. He even mocked the defendant for telling the world that Mandi Gray "groped" his leg. What could be bigger evidence of hostility? Then our dear Mandi leaves his place the next day, mad at the defendant and at herself for having had sex with him, calls her friend, and the Mandi Gray Sexual Assault Road Show is born.

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@lizardbrain@lizardbrainAug 10, 2016217 views
In Canada, a rape case with troubling implications (See below for update.) While we are all preoccupied with the election and the latest crazy thing Donald Trump has said, life as usual goes on -- including the ongoing assault on the
Very well reasoned article. Your ability to speak through the isues is appreciated.

I always wondered if Katherine MacKinnon( is she dead yet? I for one hope she is) and other women like her aren't just eager and willing toilet-slaves for international patriarchy, slobberloined at the thought of cuckolding millions upon millions of men. Or that the men in their lives are such, but regardless, this bolshevik rape thing is out of control.

While women like MacKinnon and Dworkin and Nancy Chodorow were quite aware of their instrumentality as shapers of future generations, it is striking to see how cheaply they sold out for careers in academia. They married the police state, and birthed our current wars upon us. They subverted the law, and employed the cudgeling, graymail tactics of Nikki Craft, and Gloria Steinem in bed with the CIA.

Feminism is really just a bankster corrupted narrative, and simple mind control, as outlined by Cathy O'Brien in 'Trance Formation.' It is CIA culture control, in domestic form.Creating shared memories-even false ones as demonstrated by the victim above needing to consult a source in order to ascertain if she was raped?! That's classic conditioning, but also mirroring.

So rape hysteria and 'anchoring' in womens minds some imaginary shared plight against a common enemy "rapist," the boogeyman now had a gender, rather than an amorphous ( but mutual) shared feature. But, accordingbto world planners, its also great for the gene pool...

The now thoroughly debunked book "Michelle Remembers" was cleverly designed agitprop that set the stage for later abuses of childrens minds, by these feminists, whose shared goal was getting men out of the house so they could indoctrinate mothers and children. And the great irony is that these women themselves are and were ocultists themselves, hearkening to witchcraft, and secret society membership.

But the one woman that stands out most prominently to me is the pseudo-psychologist and witch hunter Kee MacFarlane, who the FBI used as a trainer in creating Serial Ritual Abuse hoaxes. Nowhere is the collusion between police authority, mysticysm and feminism more apparent as the agency conspired with feminist demands, and built the police and surveillance state we have today. They themselves were the exact 'satan' they ceated.

These feminists were really the incubators of modern fascism, and a continuation of Hitlers programs. And voila! Today, many young girls, born fatherless in America are pimped by the same feminist-state collusion of "progressivism". It happened in Russia in 1917, Germany in 1933, and now America, and its northern cousin Canada, but they're running out of common boogeymen-we're down to journalists, pedophiles, and terrorists- and two of THOSE aren't actually all that scary.

Oh- and "MRA's" of course.
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