Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession--Book Review.

AuthorSiu, Megan

"That the process is likely to always be difficult for complainants does not make it any less important both to recognize the ways in which lawyers and judges contribute to the trauma of the trial, and to take whatever steps are reasonably possible to make the process more humane."--Elaine Craig

On 'me too' and #MeToo

Long before Alyssa Milano's tweet, African-American civil rights activist Tarana Burke has led the original 'me too' movement for over a decade. Burke is the founder and director of Just Be, Inc. where she is committed to supporting and empowering girls and women of colour. She conducts workshops on topics including romantic relationships, the objectification of women's bodies in media and music, and sexual assault. It is important to recognize the years of work that Burke has done and continues to do in this area.

While the #MeToo hashtag has helped us demonstrate just how common sexual assault is, it places a lot of responsibility on the victim. It asks the victim to self-identify openly as a sexual assault victim by using the hashtag and face backlash and re-traumatization. It creates opportunities for anonymous Internet trolls to use targeted online harassment against them.

Both 'me too' and #MeToo raise some questions. Can speaking out actually bring justice to victims of sexual assault? If so, who is responsible for bringing justice to them? Are there ways that victims of sexual assault can seek help without bringing further harm to themselves? I still don't have all the answers to these questions, but literature is being developed around this topic that suggest some possible ways to achieve justice for victims of sexual assault.

Putting Trials on Trial

In particular, Elaine Craig, associate professor at Dalhousie University's Schulich School of Law recently published a new book entitled, Putting Trials on Trial: Sexual Assault and the Failure of the Legal Profession. In 227 grueling pages, Craig unapologetically puts the legal profession on trial, while citing uncensored excerpts of court transcripts, so that the reader can see clear examples of both humane and inhumane treatment of sexual assault victims in court. 30 pages of detailed bibliographic notes follow the final chapter, reminiscent...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT