by Constance Backhouse, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa. Published with Irwin Law, 2008.
An engaging and powerful book about sexual assault crimes in Canadian history, by Professor Constance Backhouse, whose previous books for the Osgoode Society have won major awards. Using a case-study approach, Professor Backhouse explores nine sexual assault trials from across the country throughout the twentieth century. We move from small towns to large cities, from the Maritimes to the Northwest Territories, from the suffrage era to the period of the women’s liberation movement. Each chapter offers insight into the failure of the criminal justice system to protect women from sexual assault, and each is highly readable and provocative. The most moving chapters document the law’s refusal to accommodate a woman who could only give evidence in sign language, and the heartbreak of a child rape trial. This book is the best kind of legal history – a vivid exploration of the past which also gives us the tools to assess the efficacy (or in this case lack of efficacy) of the legal system