Transcript: Robyn Doolittle: Calling Out Rape Culture | Oct 09, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a black blazer over a blue shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Calling out rape culture. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says HER TWO-YEAR
INVESTIGATION INTO HOW POLICE
AND THE COURTS HANDLE SEXUAL
ASSAULT CASES IN CANADA RESULTED
IN THE AWARD-WINNING SERIES,
"UNFOUNDED," PUBLISHED IN THE
GLOBE AND MAIL.
THAT WAS NOT THE END OF IT FOR
ROBYN DOOLITTLE.
WITH THE METOO MOVEMENT
BREAKING, SHE RECOGNIZED MANY OF
THE SAME THEMES AND ATTITUDES.
HER NEW BOOK OUTLINES WHAT SHE
FOUND.
IT'S CALLED, "HAD IT COMING:
WHAT'S FAIR IN THE AGE OF
hashtag MeToo?"
AND ROBYN DOOLITTLE JOINS US NOW FOR MORE...

Robyn is in her thirties, with long straight black hair. She's wearing a black blazer over a gray blouse, and a silver pendant necklace.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a drawing of a man bending over a woman.

Nam continues HI, WELCOME BACK.

Robyn says NICE TO BE HERE.

Nam says IT'S NICE TO MEET YOU IN PERSON.
YOUR BOOK IS FANTASTIC.
A LOT OF THINGS THAT I DIDN'T
KNOW, AND I GUESS THE PROCESS OF
YOU WRITING THIS BOOK, BECAUSE
YOU DID THE SERIES "UNFOUNDED,"
BUT WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE
ABOUT THE hashtag MeToo MOVEMENT?

The caption changes to "Robyn Doolittle. Author, 'Had it coming.'"
Then, it changes again to "The road to hashtag MeToo."

Robyn says I SPENT TWO YEARS TOTALLY
IMMERSED IN THIS TOPIC WHEN
METOO WENT VIRAL, AND I
THOUGHT, THIS IS GREAT, PEOPLE
ARE GOING TO THINK ABOUT RAPE
MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES THAT I HAD
BEEN CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT
SINCE 2015.
I KIND OF THOUGHT I HAD MY MIND
MADE UP ON ALL OF THESE ISSUES.
AND THEN AS STORIES STARTED
COMING OUT AROUND METOO, I
REALIZED IT WASN'T AS SIMPLE AS
I THOUGHT.
THERE WAS ONE PARTICULAR STORY
THAT REALLY GAVE ME A PUSH TO
WRITE THIS BOOK, WHICH WAS THE
AZIZ STORY.

Nam says THE COMEDIAN.

Robyn says FAMOUS FOR BEING WOKE.
HE'S AN ALLY OF WOMEN.
THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN SCANDAL.
AND IF YOU RECALL THE STORY WAS
THIS WOMAN GRACE HAD ESSENTIALLY
ACCUSED HIM OF BADGERING HER FOR
SEX AND SEXUAL ACTS AFTER A
DATE, AND SHE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT
SHE DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.
SHE GAVE, QUOTE, NON-VERBAL CUES
THAT SHE WASN'T INTERESTED.
AND I WASN'T REALLY SURE HOW TO
TAKE IT.
I MEAN, SHE CLASSIFIED IT AS A
SEXUAL ASSAULT.
AND IT WAS INTERESTING, I TEXTED
A BUNCH OF MY FRIENDS AND I WAS
LIKE, IS THIS REALLY A METOO
STORY?
I FELT BAD FOR AZIZ, THAT HE WAS
BEING PUBLICLY SHAMED WHEN THERE
SEEMED TO BE CONFUSION AROUND
CONSENT ISSUES. MY FRIENDS AND
I HAD SUCH A GREAT DISCUSSION
ABOUT IT. THEY PUSHED ME TO SEE,
NO, THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF
CONVERSATIONS WE NEED TO HAVE.
THESE ARE THE REAL SITUATIONS
THAT MOST WOMEN CAN RELATE TO.
AND WHAT STRUCK ME WAS, ONE,
THAT THIS WAS SUCH A GREAT
CONVERSATION I HAD WITH MY
FRIENDS, THAT I LEARNED A LOT
AND EVOLVED, IF I DIDN'T
NECESSARILY CHANGE MY THINKING,
BUT I ALSO REALIZED I WAS NEVER
GOING TO HAVE THAT DISCUSSION
OUTSIDE OF MY VERY CLOSE FRIEND GROUP.

Nam says FOR EXAMPLE, ON TWITTER.
WHY THE TREPIDATION AROUND THAT?

The caption changes to "Robyn Doolittle. The Globe and Mail."

Robyn says TWITTER IS JUST NOT A PLACE
THAT YOU CAN HAVE KIND OF
COMPLICATED CONVERSATIONS.
YOU'RE REALLY AFRAID OF SOMEONE
JUST LATCHING ONTO A SINGLE
SENTENCE AND TAKING YOU OUT OF
CONTEXT OR MAYBE YOU HAVE A
QUESTION THAT IS A BIT
CONTROVERSIAL, IS THIS REALLY A
METOO STORY?
YOU CAN SEE PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY
PULLING OUT THEIR PITCH FORKS
AND WANTING TO DRAG YOU OFF.

Nam says WHEN YOU HAD THE
CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR FRIENDS,
WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT YOU
WEREN'T SURE ABOUT BEFORE?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Robyn says YEAH.
I THINK, LIKE FOR ME, BECAUSE I
SPENT SO MUCH TIME LOOKING AT
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND
THINKING ABOUT THESE ISSUES IN A
PURELY LEGAL CONTEXT, WHEN THIS
WOMAN GRACE... I MEAN,
JOURNALISTICALLY, THERE WAS A
LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH THAT STORY.
SO I'LL PUT THAT KIND OF ON THE
SIDE JUST TO THINK ABOUT.
BUT WHEN GRACE SAID SHE FELT
THAT SHE HAD BEEN SEXUALLY
ASSAULTED AND WHEN... UPON MY
READING OF THE STORY, THAT IT
WAS MORE THAT SHE JUST FELT...
SHE DIDN'T WANT TO BE THERE BUT
SHE DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING, SHE
DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO LEAVE... THIS
WAS MORE SHE HAD BEEN SOCIALIZED
TO BE AGREEABLE.
THIS IS A DIFFERENT ISSUE...

Nam says IT'S NOT A LEGAL OR A
CRIMINAL ISSUE.

The caption changes to "Robyn Doolittle, @robyndoolittle."

Robyn says YES.
AND I WAS THINKING ABOUT IT
PURELY IN THE LEGAL SENSE.
AND IT MADE ME REALIZE, NO, WHAT
WE REALLY NEED TO DO WITH
METOO IS STOP OBSESSING ABOUT
THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND THINK ABOUT
THESE THINGS MORE FROM AN
ETHICAL AND A MORAL ONE.
IT'S NOT ILLEGAL TO BADGER
SOMEONE INTO HAVING SEX WITH YOU
IF THEY'RE ULTIMATELY AGREEING...

Nam says BUT THIS HAD HUGE
REPERCUSSIONS FOR HIM AND FOR A
LOT OF OTHER MEN, AND IN SOME
SITUATIONS, RIGHTFULLY SO.
AND ALSO IN THE INTEREST OF FULL
DISCLOSURE, YOU ALSO INTERVIEWED
OUR HOST, STEVE PAIKIN, WHO HAD
ALLEGATIONS LEVELED AT HIM.
WHEN YOU WERE WORKING ON THIS
BOOK, DID YOU FIND MOST PEOPLE,
MEN IN PARTICULAR, WERE OPEN TO
TALK TO YOU ABOUT THIS?

Robyn says I THINK... THERE WAS A LOT OF
HESITATION AMONG MEN RIGHT NOW
TALKING ABOUT THIS, AND IT GETS
BACK TO A BUNCH OF THINGS.
ONE OF THEM IS THE FACT THAT I
THINK THEY'RE NOT SURE WHERE
THEY FIT INTO THE MOVEMENT.
THEY WANT TO BE... YOU KNOW, AT
LEAST THE MEN IN MY LIFE.
THEY WANT TO BE SUPPORTIVE, BUT
THEY AREN'T SURE MAYBE IF THEY
SHOULD BE SPEAKING...

Nam says ARE THEY ALSO WORRIED
ABOUT HOW PEOPLE WILL RECEIVE
THEM AND THE BLOWBACK?

Robyn says THERE ARE OTHER ELEMENTS,
WHAT IF THEY SAY THE WRONG THING
OR THEY ASK THE WRONG QUESTION
AND IT GETS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT.
THIS GIVES BACK TO THE FACT
SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT A SAFE SPACE
TO HAVE NUANCED DISCUSSIONS.
A LOT OF THE MEN I INTERVIEWED
FOR THE BOOK HAVE REAL CONCERNS
ABOUT WHERE THEY FIT, AND WE
NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BRING
THEM IN AND PART OF THAT IS
ACKNOWLEDGING AND DISCUSSING
SOME OF THE FEARS THAT THEY HAVE.
THE FEAR OF BEING FALSELY
ACCUSED IS VERY REAL.
I'VE NOW BEEN DOING BOOK EVENTS
FOR TWO WEEKS, AND THIS QUESTION
COMES UP LIKE OVER AND OVER
AGAIN, WHETHER I'M ON TALK RADIO
OR WHETHER IT'S AT AN EVENT.
WELL, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE
WHO ARE MAKING FALSE ACCUSATIONS?

Nam says WELL, YOUR BOOK STARTS
WITH A REALLY INTERESTING STORY
ILLUSTRATING WHAT RAPE CULTURE IS.
WHEN THE STORY BROKE THAT
BASKETBALL SUPERSTAR KOBE BRYANT
HAD BEEN ACCUSED OF RAPE, WHAT
WAS YOUR INITIAL REACTION?

Robyn says THIS SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT
PLACE TO START THE BOOK BECAUSE
I SPEND A LOT OF TIME ASKING
PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT RAPE MYTHS
AND STEREOTYPES.
THESE ARE THE OUTDATED IDEAS
THAT WE ALL CARRY AROUND WITH US
ABOUT WOMEN AND POWER AND SEX
AND GENDER AND WHAT REAL VICTIMS
ARE GOING TO DO IN A SITUATION,
AND, AGAIN, I THOUGHT I HAD MY
MIND MADE UP WHEN I WAS WORKING
ON "UNFOUNDED," BUT WHEN YOU
THINK MORE, IT'S UNCOMFORTABLE
TO ADMIT THESE BELIEFS LIE IN YOU.

Nam says WHY IS IT UNCOMFORTABLE?

Robyn says I DON'T THINK WE WANT TO SEE
OURSELVES IN A NEGATIVE WAY.
WE ALWAYS WANT TO THINK THAT
WE'RE ON THE RIGHT SIDE.
AND THEN WHEN I WAS DOING MY
RESEARCH, I CAME ACROSS THE KOBE
BRYANT CASE AGAIN AND I READ IT
AND I WAS LIKE, OH, MY GOD.
LIKE, THERE WAS... THOSE CHARGES
WERE WITHDRAWN, I SHOULD SAY,
AND HE APOLOGIZED...

Nam says BUT THERE WAS A CIVIL SUIT.

Robyn says HE DIDN'T ADMIT GUILT.
THERE WAS A CIVIL SUIT AND A
SETTLEMENT.
BUT THERE WAS A LOT OF EVIDENCE
IN THAT CASE.
AND THIS WAS A 19-YEAR-OLD HOTEL
STAFFER WHO ALLEGES THAT HE
RAPED HER AND CHOKED HER IN A
HOTEL ROOM AFTER SHE GAVE HIM A
TOUR OF THE HOTEL.
AND I REMEMBER BEING 18 AND
HEARING ABOUT THAT CASE, AND MY
FIRST THOUGHT WAS, WELL, WHAT
DID THIS WOMAN THINK GOING TO A
HOTEL ROOM AT NIGHT WITH AN NBA
PLAYER?
LIKE, WHAT DID SHE THINK WAS
GOING TO HAPPEN?
AS AN ADULT NOW LOOKING BACK ON
THAT, WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
THAT WAS MY INSTINCT?
THIS GIRL WAS PRACTICALLY MY
AGE.
I ALSO WORKED IN A HOTEL AT THAT
POINT.
THE TREATMENT THAT SHE WAS
HANDED FROM THE PRESS WAS CRAZY.
THE HEADLINE IN THE L.A. TIMES
WAS ESSENTIALLY, "KOBE'S ACCUSER
IS AN EMOTIONAL PARTY GIRL."
KOBE BRYANT, OF COURSE, IS AN
ALL-STAR BASKETBALL PLAYER, IN
CASE PEOPLE AREN'T FOLLOWING THE
NBA.
BUT THE COURT STAFF LEAKED
CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT
HER SEXUAL HISTORY TO REPORTERS
BY ACCIDENT.
THE TREATMENT THAT SHE WENT
THROUGH I JUST THOUGHT WAS SUCH
A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF HOW TO
INTRODUCE PEOPLE TO THIS CONCEPT
OF RAPE CULTURE.

Nam says NOW, AS AN ADULT AND
HAVING DONE THE WORK THAT YOU
DID, YOU'RE THE SAME AGE... YOU
THINK BACK, YOU WERE THE SAME
AGE AS KOBE BRYANT'S ACCUSER,
AND YOU COULD IDENTIFY WITH HER.
AND YET YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE HER.
WHY ARE WE APT NOT TO BELIEVE
WOMEN WHEN THEY COME FORWARD?

Robyn says THIS IS THE QUESTION WE'RE
TRYING TO UNPACK IN THIS
MOVEMENT AND THAT I'M TRYING TO
UNPACK IN THIS BOOK.
I THINK THIS RAPE... RAPE
CULTURE, THIS IS THIS SYSTEM
WHERE WE ARE SUSPICIOUS OF
WOMEN, SUSPICIOUS OF SEXUAL
ASSAULT COMPLAINANTS, AND WE
WANT TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR THE
PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING HARM, IS SO
WOVEN INTO OUR CULTURE THAT WE
DON'T EVEN NOTICE IT.

Nam says BUT YOU ALSO SAY THAT
HISTORICALLY IT'S BEEN THERE.
HOW FAR BACK DOES IT GO?

Robyn says IT GOES BACK TO THE BIBLE.
I MEAN, LIKE, LET'S THINK ABOUT
ADAM AND EVE.
THERE'S A STORY IN THE BIBLE
ABOUT A WOMAN FALSELY ACCUSING A
SLAVE IN HER HOME OF RAPE.
LIKE, THIS IS... LIKE, BIBLICAL
IN NATURE, THIS MISTRUST OF
WOMEN.
AND WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
I MEAN, THESE ARE JUST THE
CLASSIC RAPE MYTHS THAT, YOU
KNOW, THAT IF A WOMAN HAS HAD
SEX BEFORE, IT'S NOT AS BAD TO
HAVE SEX AGAIN, THAT SHE IS KIND
OF WALKING AROUND AS DAMAGED
GOODS.
SHE IS IN A CONSTANT STATE OF
CONSENT.
THAT WOMEN ARE NOT TO BE
TRUSTED.
THAT WOMEN'S WORDS ARE TAKING
DOWN MEN AROUND THE WORLD, AND
THAT'S WHERE WE'RE HEARING I
THINK THAT FEAR FROM MEN
CONTINUES TO PERSIST TODAY.

Nam says AND LEGALLY TOO IT'S
BEEN THERE TOO, RIGHT?

Robyn says THE LEGAL QUESTION IS SUCH AN
INTERESTING ONE BECAUSE, WHEN I
STARTED DOING THIS WORK, I
DIDN'T REALIZE IT, BUT CANADA
HAS SOME OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE
SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS IN THE
WORLD, AND YET THIS SYSTEM, THE
FEELING IS THAT IT'S NOT
WORKING.
YOU KNOW, IN CANADA WE HAVE AN
AFFIRMATIVE CONSENT STANDARD.
SO IT'S NOT ABOUT SAYING NO,
IT'S ABOUT INDICATING YES.
WE HAVE LAWS THAT PREVENT A
WOMAN'S... OR A COMPLAINANT'S
SEXUAL HISTORY FROM BEING
INTRODUCED.
THIS GETS BACK ADDRESSING THAT
RAPE MYTH ABOUT AN UNCHASTE
WOMAN.
WE HAVE LEGAL DECISIONS ON THE
BOOKS THAT ARE VERY CLEAR THAT
RAPE MYTHS AND STEREOTYPES HAVE
NO PLACE IN OUR COURTS.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO FIGHT BACK TO
BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN CANADA.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SCREAM FOR
HELP.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO REPORT RIGHT
AWAY.
A JUDGE CAN CONVICT WITHOUT
OUTSIDE CORROBORATING EVIDENCE.
ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE MEANT TO
ADDRESS THESE BIASES THAT EXIST
IN OUR SOCIETY.
BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE LAWS
ARE GREAT, BUT IF PEOPLE AREN'T
GETTING RID OF THESE OUTDATED
IDEAS IN THEIR HEART, THEY'RE
NOT GOING TO ENFORCE THE LAWS.
AND THAT'S I THINK WHAT'S
HAPPENING.

Nam says METOO WAS AROUND
WITH WHAT HAPPENED WITH HARVEY
WEINSTEIN.
BUT IN CANADA, WE KIND OF HAD A
SEMINAL hashtag MeToo MOVEMENT,
DIDN'T WE, BEFORE?

Robyn says A POINT I TRY TO MAKE OVER
AND OVER AGAIN IN THE BOOK IS
SOME PEOPLE TALK ABOUT METOO
LIKE IT SORT OF JUST DROPPED OUT
OF THE SKY IN OCTOBER 2017 WITH
THE HARVEY WEINSTEIN
INVESTIGATION AND THE MELISSA
MILANO TWEET.
THE REALITY IS WE'VE BEEN
MARCHING TOWARDS THIS MOMENT FOR
A VERY LONG TIME.
JIAN GHOMESHI OF COURSE I THINK
ARE THE FIRST CRACKS YOU'RE
SEEING OF THIS CULTURAL
RECKONING HAPPENING AND THAT WAS
2014.
THE BILL COSBY CASE.
THOSE ALLEGATIONS ABOUT BILL
COSBY HAD BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS,
BUT SOMETHING ABOUT THE WAY THAT
WE WERE PRIMED IN THE CULTURE
MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THAT STORY
TO REALLY OUTRAGE PEOPLE RIGHT
NOW.
WHY IS THAT?

Nam says YOU SAY SOCIAL MEDIA
PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN THAT.

Robyn says I THINK SOCIAL MEDIA DID.
I LOOK AT THE CASE OF, FOR
EXAMPLE, FORMER NOVA SCOTIA
PREMIER GERALD REGAN WHO HAD
BEEN ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT,
VERY SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS BY MANY
WOMEN BEGINNING BACK IN THE
19... LIKE, GOING BACK DECADES
AND DECADES, '50S, '60S,
'70S.
HIS TRIAL WAS IN THE '90S
GOING INTO THE 2000S.
BUT PEOPLE DEBATING THAT CASE
AND HAVING A VOICE ON IT, BUT
REALLY A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, OLDER
WHITE MEN IN LEGACY NEWSPAPERS.
ONE COLUMNIST IN THE NATIONAL
POST BASICALLY SAID LIKE A MAN'S
ABILITY TO GET A FAIR TRIAL IN
THIS DAY AND AGE IS AKIN TO A
JEW IN A TRIAL IN NAZI GERMANY.
THESE ARE THE OPINIONS WE WERE
HEARING.
SOCIAL MEDIA OPENS UP THAT
PLATFORM TO EVERYBODY.
EVERYBODY CAN HAVE A VOICE.
THAT'S WHAT WE WERE SEEING WITH
JIAN GHOMESHI, THIS IS THE FIRST
TIME PEOPLE WERE DISCUSSING THE
BIGGER ISSUES ABOUT THE LEGAL
SYSTEM AND VICTIM BLAMING AND
HOW HARD IT IS FOR SEXUAL
ASSAULT COMPLAINANTS TO COME
FORWARD.

Nam says IT SOUNDS LIKE SOCIAL
MEDIA IS GOOD AND BAD.
WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT
LATER.
WHAT DOES THE TERM "UNFOUNDED."
MEAN?

The caption changes to "Unfounded."

Robyn says IT'S SUCH A TRICKY WAY TO
EXPLAIN IT, BUT BASICALLY, WHEN
I STARTED DOING THIS "UNFOUNDED."
INVESTIGATION WITH THE GLOBE AND
MAIL, WHAT I ESSENTIALLY WAS
TRYING TO DO IS IF YOU CAN
QUANTIFY RAPE CULTURE.
IS THERE A WAY TO PROVE THAT THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM OR POLICE WERE
TREATING SEXUAL ASSAULT
COMPLAINTS DIFFERENTLY?
AND I ENDED UP FOCUSING UP ON
THIS ONE STATISTIC, WHICH IS THE
UNFOUNDED RATE.
SO WHEN POLICE INVESTIGATE A
CASE, AT THE END OF IT, THEY
GIVE IT A CODE TO SIGNIFY WHAT
HAPPENED FOR STATISTICAL
PURPOSES.
ONE OF THOSE CODES MEANS WE'VE
CHARGED SOMEONE OR THE
COMPLAINANT DIDN'T WANT TO PRESS
CHARGES.
WE HAD DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY.
WE HAD ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT
CODES.
ONE OF THEM IS UNFOUNDED.
AND UNFOUNDED MEANS THAT THIS
ACCUSATION IS FALSE OR BASELESS.
SO, YOU KNOW, SOMEONE MAKES AN
ACCUSATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND
THE OFFICER SAYS, "I DON'T THINK
THAT THIS HAPPENED."
IT'S NOT THAT THERE WASN'T
ENOUGH EVIDENCE.
IT'S NOT THAT THEY COULDN'T FIND
A SUSPECT.
IT'S THAT IT'S AN INVALID
ACCUSATION.
AND WHAT'S KEY ABOUT THAT IS,
BECAUSE IT'S INVALID, IT WASN'T
BEING COUNTED AT ALL.
IT WAS JUST COMPLETELY
DISAPPEARING OUT OF THE SYSTEM.
AND WHAT I FOUND WAS THAT ONE IN
FIVE SEXUAL ASSAULT COMPLAINTS
WAS BEING COMPLETELY SCRUBBED
FROM THE PUBLIC RECORD.
WAY HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER CRIME.
ABOUT DOUBLE FOR REGULAR
PHYSICAL ASSAULT, BUT
DRAMATICALLY HIGHER THAN EVERY
OTHER TYPE OF CRIME.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Nam says THE LEGWORK THAT YOU
DID FOR THIS WAS INCREDIBLE AND
FOR THE SERIES YOU DID FOR THE
GLOBE AND MAIL, YOU HAD TO DO
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, YOU HAD
TO SEND LETTERS TO ALL THE
POLICE DIVISIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY?

Robyn says YEAH, WE HAD TO COLLECT
STATISTICS FROM MORE THAN 870
POLICE JURISDICTIONS.

Nam says WHEN YOU DID THAT AND
YOU WERE DIGGING DEEPER INTO
THESE UNFOUNDED CASES, HOW DID
YOU FIND THAT POLICE HANDLED
THESE SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES?

Robyn says SO I'VE COLLECTED THE
STATISTICS, BUT NUMBERS DON'T
REALLY MEAN THINGS TO PEOPLE
UNTIL YOU HAVE A HUMAN
CONNECTION.
SO I ALSO INVESTIGATED 54
SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL
ASSAULT, AND WHAT I FOUND WAS,
WHETHER THE CASE ENDED UP
UNFOUNDED OR NOT, SEXUAL ASSAULT
INVESTIGATIONS WERE JUST BEING
SYSTEMATICALLY MISHANDLED BY
POLICE.

Nam says IN WHAT WAY?

Robyn says IN A LOT OF CASES.
BASIC INVESTIGATIVE STEPS LIKE
COLLECTING EVIDENCE,
INTERVIEWING WITNESSES, TRYING
TO FIND A SUSPECT, SENDING
EVIDENCE AWAY FOR FORENSIC
TESTING WAS NOT BEING DONE
ROUTINELY.
I WATCHED MANY POLICE INTERVIEWS
OF COMPLAINANTS WHERE THEY MADE
A DECISION BEFORE THE END OF THE
INTERVIEW.

Nam says WAS THERE A REASON
THEY DID THAT?

Robyn says AND I THINK THIS COMES BACK
TO ONE OF THE BIG THINGS I WRITE
ABOUT IN THE BOOK, WHICH IS HOW
COMPLAINANTS ARE PRESENTING IN
THESE POLICE INTERVIEWS.
POLICE ARE NOT WELL-INFORMED, OR
AT LEAST THEY WEREN'T WHETHER I
WAS DOING THIS WORK, ON THE
IMPACTS THAT A REALLY TERRIFYING
EXPERIENCE, A TRAUMATIC
EXPERIENCE, CAN HAVE ON
SOMEBODY.
THIS IS WHAT WE'RE CALLING NOW
THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF TRAUMA.
AND YOU'RE REALLY TERRIFIED FOR
YOUR LIFE, YOU FREEZE.
MAYBE YOU CAN'T SCREAM.
YOU'RE GOING TO BE PROCESSING
THIS EVENT DIFFERENTLY.
YOU'RE GOING TO BE REMEMBERING
IT DIFFERENTLY THAN SAY YOU
WOULD IF YOU WEREN'T TRULY
TERRIFIED.
YOU'RE GOING TO BE FOCUSING ON
THE REALLY CENTRAL DETAILS OF AN
ATTACK, NOT THE COLOUR OF THE
WALLS.
THIS IS SOMETHING THAT GOES
AGAINST THE WAY THAT POLICE ARE
TRAINED ON HOW TO DO THEIR
INVESTIGATION.
THEY'RE REALLY FOCUSED ON THESE
PERIPHERAL DETAILS.
AND I THINK A BIG PART OF
OVERCOMING RAPE MYTHS AND
STEREOTYPES IS UNDERSTANDING THE
BIOLOGICAL REASONS THAT SOMEONE
MAY ACT IN A LOGICAL BEHAVIOUR.
LIKE, WHY WOULDN'T YOU SCREAM IF
YOU'RE REALLY SCARED?

Nam says RIGHT.
SO WHEN THE POLICE OFFICERS WERE
INVESTIGATING THE CLAIMANT, THEY
MIGHT NOT ACT IN THE WAY THEY
WOULD IF SOMEONE HAD BEEN
ASSAULTED.

Robyn says I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
BECAUSE WHEN I WAS INTERVIEWING
THESE POLICE OFFICERS, THEY
WEREN'T BAD PEOPLE, RIGHT?
I THINK THEY JUST HONESTLY
WEREN'T SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF
SOME OF THESE SITUATIONS.
LIKE, IF YOU'RE INTERVIEWING A
SEXUAL ASSAULT COMPLAINANT AND
YOU SAY, OKAY, TELL ME WHAT
HAPPENED.
AND THEY'RE, LIKE, KIND OF
WISHY-WASHY, THEY... THE POLICE
ARE TRAINED TO START FROM THE
BEGINNING, GO TO THE END.
IF THEY'RE NOT REALLY SURE WHERE
TO PICK UP, IF THEY SEEM, YOU
KNOW, JUST CONFUSED BY WHAT
HAPPENED, THEY'RE LIKE, "I DON'T
KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THIS."
OR IF SOMEONE SAYS YOU'RE BEING
SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, WHAT DID YOU
DO?
I DON'T KNOW.
LIKE, WHY DIDN'T YOU SCREAM?
I DON'T KNOW.
WHY DIDN'T YOU RUN?
THERE WERE PEOPLE OUTSIDE.
I'M NOT SURE.
WHY DID YOU STAY IN A ROOM WITH
HIM AFTER IT WAS OVER AND HE
WENT TO SLEEP?
WELL, I DON'T KNOW.
YOU CAN SEE WHY AN OFFICER, IF
THEY'RE NOT INFORMED ABOUT THE
WAY THAT TRAUMA CAN IMPACT A
VICTIM, WELL, THEY MIGHT THINK,
THIS JUST DOESN'T SEEM TRUE.

Nam says FROM ALL THE RESEARCH
THAT YOU DID, WHY DO THE COURTS
HAVE SUCH A TOUGH TIME GRAPPLING
WITH CONSENT IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES?

The caption changes to "Consent."

Robyn says I MEAN, SEXUAL ASSAULT IS
SUCH A TRICKY THING BECAUSE
ALMOST ALWAYS IT IS ONE PERSON'S
WORD AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON'S
WORD.
AND IT ALL HINGES ON
CREDIBILITY.
THERE IS NO GETTING AROUND THAT.
THEY ARE GOING TO BE TRICKY
CASES.
I THINK PART OF IT IS THAT THERE
ARE GREAT LAWS ON THE BOOKS THAT
COURTS AREN'T ENFORCING, AND
PART OF IT IS THAT THESE ARE
JUST INHERENTLY DIFFICULT CASES
TO DEAL WITH.
THAT SAID, EVEN CASES WHERE
THERE IS LOTS OF EVIDENCE, THE
COURTS DON'T ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT
RECORD.
LOOK AT THE CASE OF THE YOUNG
WOMAN IN HALIFAX.
THIS IS A WOMAN WHO WAS AT A
BAR, WAS WITH HER FRIENDS, GOT
VERY DRUNK, WAS KICKED OUT OF
THE BAR BECAUSE SHE WAS SO
DRUNK, GOT PICKED UP BY A TAXI
DRIVER.
WITHIN TEN MINUTES OF LEAVING
THE BAR, GETTING IN THE CAB, A
POLICE OFFICER HAPPENED TO BE
WALKING BY A STREET AND NOTICED
THAT THIS TAXI WAS PARKED ON THE
SIDE OF THE ROAD IDLING.
AND WHEN SHE WENT UP TO THE CAR,
THIS POOR YOUNG WOMAN WAS PASSED
OUT ASLEEP.
SHE HAD URINATED ON HERSELF
BECAUSE SHE HAD BEEN SO
INTOXICATED.
SHE WAS NAKED FROM THE CHEST
DOWN AND HAD HER FEET UP ON THE
HEADREST.
THE DRIVER WAS RECLINED IN THE
SEAT AND HAD HIS PANTS PULLED
DOWN.
THE JUDGE FOUND THAT IT'S
POSSIBLE SHE SAID SHE WAS
INTERESTED IN HAVING SEX WITH
HIM BEFORE SHE PASSED OUT.
NOW, THIS JUDGE... I MEAN, SURE,
WE WEREN'T IN THE CAB.
THERE'S NO VIDEO OF THAT
CONVERSATION.
BUT LOGICALLY, ANY WOMAN... CAN
YOU IMAGINE BEING SO DRUNK THAT
YOU'RE ABOUT TO PASS OUT, YOU'VE
URINATED ON YOURSELF, YOU MEET A
STRANGER, AND YOU DECIDE THAT IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT YOU WANT
TO HAVE SEX WITH THIS STRANGE
TAXI DRIVER IN A SPAN OF TEN
MINUTES?
SO THESE ARE THE KINDS OF
THINGS, WHAT IS IN THAT JUDGE'S
MIND THAT THAT SEEMS LIKE
LOGICAL BEHAVIOUR?

Nam says I WANT TO QUICKLY READ
A BOARD FROM YOUR BOOK BECAUSE
WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME, AND
YOU WRITE...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Sobriety and consent." The quote reads "I've encountered well-intentioned student activists at two large Canadian universities whose frosh presentations include warnings that consent must be sober. In addition to not being true in either the legal or the ethical sense, that's not realistic advice for many first-year university students. They may as well be pitching abstinence."
Quoted from Robyn Doolittle, "Had it coming." 2019.

Nam says WHAT DO CONSENT
EDUCATORS GET WRONG?

Robyn says CONSENT IS SO CENTRAL TO
EVERYTHING THAT WE TALK ABOUT
WITH METOO.
AND UNFORTUNATELY, THE WAY THAT
WE AS A SOCIETY TALK ABOUT
CONSENT IS JUST COMPLETELY
SETTING US UP FOR FAILURE.

Nam says IN WHAT WAY?

Robyn says THINK OF ANY, YOU KNOW, AD
YOU'VE EVER SEEN ABOUT CONSENT.
IT'S NO MEANS NO.
AGAIN, WE HAVE A AFFIRMATIVE
CONSENT STANDARD.
IT'S NO WONDER SO MANY POLICE
OFFICERS FIXATE ON THIS NO MEANS
NO. YOU DON'T HAVE TO VERBALLY
SAY YES.
YOU JUST HAVE TO INDICATE YES.
ALL OF THIS FOCUSES ON VERBAL
NEGOTIATION.
BUT WHAT WE KNOW IS MOST PEOPLE
DON'T HAVE SEX LIKE THAT.
THEY COMMUNICATE THROUGH BODY
LANGUAGE, AND PEOPLE AREN'T VERY
GOOD AT UNDERSTANDING OTHER
PEOPLE'S BODY LANGUAGE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Nam says WE'RE GOING TO
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION...

Robyn says GOOD.
THERE'S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Nam says ROBYN IS GOING TO STAY
WITH US AS WE ADD MORE VOICES TO
THIS CONVERSATION SO STAY TUNED.

Watch: Robyn Doolittle: Calling Out Rape Culture