Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Canadian Politician Sheila Copps Claims Sexual Assault

Sheila Copps pauses for a moment during a news conference in Ottawa on March 10, 2004. (CP)Former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps says she was sexually assaulted

Sheila Copps pauses for a moment during a news conference in Ottawa on March 10, 2004. (CP)
*Please note that this is an article from Canadian media.  The quotes have been highlighted and analysis has been added in bold type to the article.  
Earlier today, I analyzed the statement of a woman who claimed to have been drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.  I found her statement to be truthful. 
What of this one?
A few weeks ago, she took political heat for defending Jian Ghomeshi, of whom Statement Analysis showed did sexually assault his victim and that he had other victims (leakage), which, over the course of a week, proved to be true.  
Yet here, we find something very different in the language: 


A couple of weeks ago, former Liberal MP and cabinet minister Sheila Copps incurred the wrath of the Twitterverse for defending former CBC personality Jian Ghomeshi over sexual assault allegations. 
Today, she’s not only backtracking, she’s sharing a very personal story of her own. 
“I was sexually assaulted by another Member of the Provincial Parliament within a year of my arrival at Queen’s Park at the age of 28,” she wrote in the Hill Times.   
"The incident occurred when we exited a hotel elevator after enjoying a group dinner following a day-long session in northern Ontario. 
"I pushed back on my assailant, kicking him where it hurts, when he tried to force me up against a wall and kiss me. I never reported him, chalking the incident up to personal misjudgment."
The "incident" would be sexual assault.  She gives the timing of the alleged assault but when she does, she uses the pronoun "we", which indicates unity and cooperation. 
In sexual assault cases, it is not expected to find the pronoun "we" at the time of the assault, nor afterwards.  Repeatedly, when there is a sexual assault, the victim does not see herself as part of a cooperative party, hence, there is no use of the pronoun "we" during, nor after the assault.  
Note "I pushed 'back'", indicating pushing was done previously.  
Note she calls him "my assailant", with the possessive pronoun "my" used.  She is taking ownership of the assailant.  
This is also unexpected, as sexual assault victims do not take ownership of anything to do with the assailant.  One might consider that a victim would not want the word "my" in accord with anything to do with the assailant. 
Copps goes on to write that she was also once raped by somebody she knew but didn’t go into any detail about who raped her or under what circumstance. 
The above "assault" is not rape.  One might wonder why the article has focused on an unwanted kiss, while rape is not discussed.  This is not expected. 
She did say, however, that police told her it would be “impossible” to get a conviction. 
The first incident — at Queen’s Park — is an account consistent with the flurry of stories that we’ve seen in recent weeks about the culture of harassment that exists in our legislatures and parliament. 
Last week, political pundit Ian Capstick alleged that 2 male MPs sexually harassed him several years ago when he was a 20-something political staffer.
"I felt powerless," Capstick said, according to CBC News
 "You feel absolutely without power to be able to report somebody who is 30 or 40 years, in some instances, your senior and is perhaps at a status where you just simply as a 21-year-old can’t challenge that person."
Last week, a day after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suspended two Liberal MPs for an alleged ‘personal misconduct’, NDP MP Megan Leslie spoke to CBC about harassment — physical, verbal or otherwise — on the Hill. 
"It’s a really special place. It’s a glorious place sometimes. But sexual harassment and harassment in general is an issue. Is it worse here? I’ll certainly say it’s different here," she said. 
"I do think that we are back in another decade here. It is a strange place."
And at Queen’s Park, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters that she’s had to take action on sexual harassment complaints while serving as Premier. 
Experts — political and psychological — have, over the past week, offered their opinions as to why harassment exists at a seemingly disproportionate degree in our legislatures. Power imbalances, an old-boys club, alcohol, and politicians being away from home are some of the main culprits, they say. 
But, in her column, Copps notes something that could be another reason for the culture of harassment: No consequences. 
"On Parliament Hill, there are sexual dalliances, affairs, and outright assaults that occur," she writes.
Note the order:
1.  sexual dalliances
2.  affairs
3.  outright assaults
Only the third, and last listed, is a crime.  
"The difference is that victims in that sanctified workplace do not have the right to go beyond the Hill for due process."
The word "that" shows distancing language. 
There is not enough here for a strong conclusion, but there is enough to question the allegation made by Sheila Copps regarding sexual assault.  That she lists "assaults" last, and calls it "outright", gives strength to the belief that her statement is not only false and politically motivated, but that she might have been involved in personal wrong-doing. 
It is not known why she defended Jian Ghomeshi.  


Anonymous said...

Well I guess that explains it. Nuff said.

Pisces Dreamer said...

I tried to comment before, but I'm having trouble getting it to appear. Trying again.

As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, I frequently find myself using the phrase "my abuser" when referring to the man who abused me.

I notice similar language from other survivors.

I'm not sure what compels us to "claim" our abusers (See? I did it again -- "our abusers"), but we do.

I especially see it in those of us who have begin trying to heal. Almost as if we need to claim the act, in order to establish control over it.

What do you make of this, Peter?

Peter Hyatt said...

I've not heard "my abuser" and have spoken to too many victims, but I will consider what you are saying...

I am curious: is "your"abuser, a close relative?

Perhaps this may be a reason, but to say "my abuser" about a stranger??

That is not something I have heard.

A bit off topic;

i am working on "I don't remember" from sex abuse victims, (in open statements and not as a result of a direct question) and it is a fascinating study of how the brain seeks to protect itself.


Peter Hyatt said...

most simply put:
I do not believe Sheila Copps was sexually abused as claimed.

I think she engaged in something and is now using it to cover her defense of the woman-hating Jian Ghomeshi.

Pisces Dreamer said...

My abuser was a male teacher.

I work primarily with survivors of abuse at the hands of people they knew -- teachers, relatives, adult family acquaintances. So, that may be the difference?

Anonymous said...

If weak-minded Sheila Copps ever found herself alone with this mo' f'ker Jian Ghomeshi a coupla times she might not be so quick to defend the b'stard.

Anonymous said...

I just find the headline "Former Liberal cabinet minister Sheila Copps says she was sexually assaulted" interesting. Why is the word "liberal" included? Does it matter? Why not just say "Former cabinet minister"?

Anonymous said...

I agree her elevator story sounds like an unwanted fllirtation that she handled rather deftly. and that at the time she did not walk away feeling victimized. tho the events may have occured as she described - .

it's an interestng question -- if your friend attacks you - and you shut down their advances successfully before you get to point where you feel like a victime and see them as an assailant. ----- what is the defenition of that?

anyway - in this case -- I think she's just trying to sound like she's on this "good" side of sexual assault issue and is essentially just lying.

Anonymous said...

after the attack, usig the expression "my attacker" makes perfect sense to me. you WANT to take as much control of the experience in reflection.

if you keep saying "that bad guy" --- it's like he's still out thre and could still surprise you -- saying "my attacker" extrts control on him and on the trauma as a narrative in your memory.

Peter Hyatt said...

In years of working with sexual abuse victims, including children, this is the first time I have heard the word "my" used in connection with the sexual attack, itself.

In the case of Sheila Copps, it is not the only thing in her language that concerns me.

The comments have raised interesting discussion, and I remain open to learning.

It is something that I will ask attendees at seminars, particularly social workers or police officers who have worked with sex abuse victims.

I limit my response to sexual abuse victims, and not non-sexual violent confrontations.

thank you,


Pisces Dreamer said...

Perhaps the context matters. I am a co-founder of an advocacy group which encourages survivors to tell their stories, in order to amplify them, let others know they are not alone, and to take the story into the light where it can no longer remain a shameful secret.

It is in that context that I see and use the possessive "my."

Sus said...

I belong to a domestic violence group where we commonly refer to our (!) abusers as "my abuser" or " my narcissist." and discussed why. It seems to be because there is still a connection, some bond that keeps us in debt.

I think "my" is used only in reference to a known assailant, not a stranger assault. In that regard it makes sense here. She worked and socialized with the assailant.