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Allard Hall

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
Phone: 604 822 0637
Fax: 604 822 8108

June 18, 2018

Ms Jamie Klukach
Ministry of the Attorney General
Crown Law Office – Criminal
720 Bay Street, 10th floor
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2S9

Re: R. v. James Sears and Lawrence St. Germaine

Dear Ms Klukach:

I write in response to your request for an analysis of the content of selected issues of the
publication Your Ward News (YWN) with respect to possible examples of sexism and
misogynistic hatred. In particular, you have asked me to consider how the various articles
and statements about women in these publications can be understood in both the historic
and current context of sex discrimination and prejudicial beliefs about women. You have
also asked me to consider specifically whether these materials advocate or endorse
violence against women and, if so, how that particular form of expression relates to
misogynistic belief systems. Finally, you have asked me to relate the kinds of statements
about women found in this publication to woman-hating movements more generally, as
found on social media and other forms of communication and organized activity.

My Background and Experience

I am a faculty member at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British
Columbia, where I hold the rank of full Professor. I joined UBC in 2005 as an Associate
Professor after six years at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. I was granted
tenure at both York and UBC.

My scholarly research has focused on legal responses to sexual violence against women,
including sexual assault, pornography, prostitution and sexual harassment in employment

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and education; I have conducted research and produced peer-reviewed publications on
all of these topics. I have particular expertise on the history of rape/sexual assault law
reform and have situated this process of reform in the context of longstanding myths and
stereotypes about the nature of men and women, and way that such misconceptions
influence the perceived distinction between sex and sexual violence. In conducting this
research I have been exposed to, and drawn from, the literature on men’s rights activism
and misogynistic resistance to rape prosecutions and sexual assault law reform.

In addition to my scholarly research, I have been qualified as an expert on similar topics.
In particular, I acted as an expert witness for Presenting Counsel into the Canadian
Judicial Council inquiry regarding Robin Camp, where I produced an expert report that
detailed the connection between misogynist rape myths and current misapplication of
sexual assault laws.

I am a frequent presenter in judicial education courses on sexual assault laws, including
on the topic of myths and stereotypes in sexual violence cases, and my scholarship has
been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada as well as trial and appellate courts.

Sexist Themes in Your Ward News

The issues of YWN provided to me, through their articles, letters and photo collages,
reflect a number of themes about women, feminism, sexuality and sexual violence that
are frequently repeated in the publication. The predominant themes are:

 Women and men have innate or fixed qualities, roles and abilities that correspond
to their sex and that must be respected, with men rightfully occupying a dominant
role over women in the home and positions of power in society;

 Women are base, unclean and dirty and use their sexuality as a way to trap and
control men;

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 Feminism is a movement that denies this natural sex hierarchy and is designed to
humiliate and punish men; feminists are a justifiable target of male harassment
and violence; and

 Women frequently bring false complaints of sexual and physical assault and the
criminal justice system colludes in supporting those complaints and in interpreting
the law in a way that is unfair to men; most of what is labelled sexual assault or
domestic violence is normal and natural behaviour that women ask for.

Examples of These Belief Systems in Your Ward News

The following examples of the themes outlined above are taken from a review of YWN
issues from 2015-2018. Obviously, the themes overlap and so some excerpts could fit
into multiple categories.

Male Dominance is natural

 We do not want our leader [Justin Trudeau] to be too discreet with his fornication
as the world is judging us through our leader’s virility. (Jan 2016)
 Men have become eunuchs who have lost the natural instinct to patronize and look
down upon a woman (Feb 2016 p. 10)
 Lesbians are disillusioned and waiting to be converted by men (Feb 2016)
 True Christianity promotes male polygamy [men having multiple women as sexual
partners] and women’s bisexuality [all women should be open to male sexual
partners] (Feb 2016)
 Testosterone is needed to succeed (Fall 2016)

Women are Inferior

 Women’s vaginas that are too loose should be surgically tightened (Dec 2015)
 Bill Clinton (unlike JFK) was indiscreet, his wife was hideous closet-bull dyke
Hillary Clinton and he fornicated with disgusting pigs like Monica Lewinsky. (Jan

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 Justin Trudeau’s nanny needs to be attractive, but “not be so hot that insecure
cunts resent her” (February 2016)
 Women are cognitively defective and not rational enough to have the right to vote
(Spring 2017)
 Women are “tri-orificed” chattel (Spring 2017)
 Women lie without remorse because they lack men’s moral fibre (Fall 2016)
 Sexual attractiveness defined in racist ways, with black women being universally
the least attractive women (Feb 2017)

Harassment of Feminists/Violence against Women is justified

 The author indicates that “I was elated in the way one is upon hearing that an
abortion doctor was assassinated – you do not agree with violence, but when they
roll out the bullet-ridden body of the mass murdering psychopath, it puts a smile
on your face. “(May 2015)
 Readers are told that “Dr. Sears also aggressively promotes male masculinity by
educating the public on the new world order’s agenda of chemically and
psychologically castrating Western men. As Canada’s top seduction guru, he
provides one-on-one coaching for men looking to hone their skills in the taming of
the FemiMarxist shrew.” (Jan 2016)
 Women withhold sex because of resentment to anyone with a penis (Feb 2016)
 Feminism is unnatural and satanic, the notion that women are equal to men is
preposterous, feminists create the illusion of rape culture that victimizes them,
which encourages hard-up men to rape them. (Feb 2016)
 Jews are funding feminism (Feb 2016)
 Article celebrating police beating of Pussy Riot protesters in Russia (Feb 2016)
 Coverage of criminal harassment trial of Gregory Elliott for online twitter
harassment; main complainant referred to as Femi-Marxist, She-Hag, She-devil,
Femi-Marxist CUNT for “planning to ruin the man’s life by publicizing what he did,
publicly shaming and attempting to destroy his reputation” (Jan 2016)

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 Main complainant depicted in cartoon as trying to kidnap a pregnant woman
claiming her baby is the result of rape and that she will forcibly abort it. (Jan 2016)
 The author describes an encounter with this complaint “I hypothesized that she
enjoyed being slapped across the face, roughed up, and sexually ravaged after
provoking a man into a state of rage (a lot of women do.) The right man has not
yet domesticated this feral shrew.”(Jan 2016)
 Author notes that it is “frustrating promoting masculinity in such a feminized culture.
Men have become pussy-whipped fags. A generation ago rarely a day passed by
when I did not witness a man pinning his woman up against a wall by her shoulders
or meting out a strategic slap, while chastising her for something she did.” (Jan
 Artificial wombs and sex robots can be used as a threat to keep women in line and
get them to meet the sexual demands of men to avoid being replaced. (Summer

Legal System is Biased Against Men

 Mass shootings described as “false flags” engineered by Israel or other
government forces (Jan 2016)
 Should be no crime in “groping a juicy ass, tugging on a pair of ripe tits, or raping
a woman who cockteased him incessantly” (Fall 2016, p. 10)
 Expresses incredulity that ravaging one’s own chattel – raping one’s wife – has
been criminalized. (Fall 2016 and Summer 2018)
 Claim that it is not rape if there is no violence (incidental roughing up or minor anal
and vaginal tearing is not sufficient violence) (Fall 2016)
 Age of consent laws are arbitrary; reference is made to a 15 yr old Latina “flashing
her tits.” As long as she was “horny and willing”, no harm was done. (Fall 2016)
 Women are abused because they provoke it or they chose to stay because they
enjoyed it.
 Male reader is encouraged to become a “lone wolf gender warrior” by trying to
secure position as jury foreman and engaging in jury nullification (Fall 2016)

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 Laws restricting cross-examination on sexual reputation are unfair to men and
unconstitutional (Fall 2016)
 Most of what is labelled rape is actually seduction; Cartoon depicting how to rape
a woman and get away with it (Summer 2018)

Historical and Social Context for These Beliefs

The beliefs about women outlined in this publication are extreme and risk being dismissed
as irrational outliers that bear little relationship to real-life interactions between men and
women. However, it should be recognized that the statements listed above, and the
themes they reflect, have deep roots in legal and social systems of women’s inequality.
The sexist notions that men are biologically programmed to dominate women, and that
women are men’s inferiors physically, intellectually and morally, has been reflected in law
in various ways for well over a hundred years.

In particular, our social and legal understanding of violence against women, including
sexual violence, has been premised on the idea that women routinely lie about sexual
assault, that sexual immorality makes women more likely to lie, and that false complaints
of rape are common. The corroboration requirement, the doctrine of recent complaint
and the use of sexual reputation to undermine credibility are all examples of legal rules
that were premised on the innate dishonesty of women. The following excerpts from
scholarly journals of the period indicate that such now-discredited beliefs were pervasive:

“[A] person of bad moral character is less likely to speak the truth as a
witness than one of good moral character, and … a woman who is chaste
will be less likely to consent to an illicit connection, than one who is

“At the outset it must be realized that a jury is very selective in enforcing
the law. Defence lawyers know this and if they can demean the victim they
increase their client's chances of acquittal. In the guise of enquiring into
consent they engage in character assassination which can be absolutely

1 Frederick Eisenbud, Note, “Limitations on the Right to Introduce Evidence Pertaining to the Prior Sexual
History of the Complaining Witness in Cases of Forcible Rape: Reflection of Reality or Denial of Due
Process?” (1975) 3 Hofstra L Rev 403 at 403 n3, citing Brown v State, 280 So 2d 177, 179 (Ala 1973).

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devastating to the female, especially if she is unmarried, or separated
from her husband. Here are a few illustrative questions:

1. Were you on the pill?
2. Have you ever had an illegitimate child?
3. Have you ever had an abortion?
4. Have you ever been treated for a venereal disease?
5. How old were you when you first had sexual intercourse?
6. With how many men have you had sexual intercourse?
7. Have you had sexual intercourse with X, with Y, etc. etc.?
8. Do you have sexual problems?
9. Do you smoke marijuana? Do you take drugs?
10. Are you married to the man with whom you are living?” 2

In addition, social understandings of sex and sexual assault, as reflected in the law of
rape, are based on the idea that men are naturally sexually aggressive, that sexual
intercourse often involves a considerable degree of force, and that women enjoy this force
even if they feign non-consent. This is based in the idea that women are inherently
masochistic, and that they fantasize about being raped. These beliefs led to a generous
ambit for the defence of mistaken belief in consent and the application of the resistance
requirement, as well as the idea of “implied consent.” Scholars until at least the 1970s
validated these ideas:

“. . . When the defiled woman says ‘that is the man who raped me’ we
need corroboration. If her jaw is broken, for example, that is proof of force.
Otherwise how do we know she was raped? The difference between rape
and romance is a very thin line and we have to be careful.”3

“The judges feel that in this type of situation [stranger in a dark alley] the effects
on the woman can be traumatic, and they make an effort to buffer her court
experience. . . . However, judicial attitudes can be very different in cases which
may be rape according to law but which they classify as “consensual intercourse.”
In these situations they see the complainant as “asking for it.” An example would
be when a woman meets a man in a bar, agrees to let him drive her home, and
then alleges he raped her. Judges have several graphic ways of describing this

2 E L Haines, “The Character of the Rape Victim” (1975) 23 Chitty’s Law Journal 2 at 57.
3 Leslie T Kuchta Sullivan, “The Anatomy of Rape” (1976–77) 40 Saskatchewan Law Review 1.

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situation: “friendly rape”, “felonious gallantry”, “assault with failure to please”, and
“breach of contract”. . . .”4

Finally, the notion that women ceased to be full legal persons when they married, and
that marriage indicated an ongoing consent by wives to sexual intercourse with their
husbands, was embodied in the marital rape exemption:

“We are speaking of a biological activity, strongly baited by nature, which is
regularly and pleasurably performed on a consensual basis by
mankind...Occasionally some husband continues to exercise what he regards as
his when his wife refused him...What is wrong with his demand is not so much the
act requested but his timing, or the manner of his demand. The fearsome stigma
of rape is too great a punishment for husbands who use their strength in these

While each of these doctrines has been discredited and the law reformed, there is still
scope for these ideas to reassert themselves in cross-examination, in assessments of
credibility and reliability, and in sentencing. If the beliefs on which they rest persist, and
are in fact encouraged and promoted, it undermines the effect of these reforms.
Conversely, this history also demonstrates that where such beliefs gain widespread
acceptance as fact, they will be institutionalized as legal doctrine.

There is a demonstrated correlation between men’s acceptance of rape myths and their
self-reported likelihood of engaging in sexually assaultive behaviours.6 Thus such beliefs
have had and continue to have, a concrete impact on women’s lives.

4 Carol Bohmer, “Judicial Attitudes Toward Rape Victims” (1973–74) 57 Judicature 303.
5 Glanville Williams, “The Problem of Domestic Rape Part I” [1991] 141 New Law Journal 206.
6 See Martha R Burt, “Cultural Myths and Supports for Rape” (1980) 38 Journal of Personal and Social
Psychology 2, 217-230. See also Koss, Mary et al., “Nonstranger Sexual Aggression: A Discriminant
Analysis of the Psychological Characteristics of Undetected Offenders” (1985) 12 Sex Roles 9/10; Veanne
Anderson et al., “Gender, Age and Rape-Supportive Rules (2004) 50 Sex Roles 77; Sarah Murnen et al.,
“If Boys will be Boys, then Girls will be Victims?: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Research that Relates
Masculine Ideology to Sexual Aggression” (2002) 46 Sex Roles 359.

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Similarity to Other Present-Day Misogynistic Social Movements

The beliefs about women expressed in YWN are not rare and are part of present-day
male supremacist belief systems with sizable numbers of adherents. These movements
are described below (from the specific to the general.)

Incel Groups

The recent killing of ten pedestrians in North Toronto by Alek Minassian, most of whom
were women, drew public attention to “incel” discussion groups and forums. These
groups have become an online meeting place for misogynists who blame women for their
involuntary celibacy and who maintain that they have a right to sexually access women’s
bodies. These sites often celebrate the actions of those who commit acts of violence
against women as an expression of this frustration. In particular, incel sites are known to
valorize the actions of Elliott Rodger (who killed six people and injured 14 others near the
UC Santa Barbara before taking his own life) and George Sodini (who killed 3 women in
a fitness studio in Pennsylvania in 2009 before killing himself). Both identified women’s
refusal to have sex with them as a precipitating factor for their actions. Nikolas Cruz, who
killed 17 in a Florida school shooting in February 2018, was reported to have left an online
post glorifying Rodger and so has become another incel hero. Marc Lepine, who
murdered 14 women at the University of Montreal in 1989 and stated that he was
motivated by his hatred of feminists whom he believed had ruined his life, is also seen by
some incels as a forerunner to their cause.

YWN is not a publication authored by an incel, but rather by someone who is a “pickup
artist” (PUA) or a “player” – its main author brags repeatedly about his success in bedding
multiple women, and suggests that men are naturally polygamous – but in so doing it
makes clear that being sexually active is a man’s right and that being celibate is a failure
which the author can help incel readers overcome. The most prominent PUA today is
Daryush Valizadeh, also known as “Roosh V”, whose website The Return of Kings
advocates for the decriminalization of rape on private property. A similar ethos is found

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on the website Danger and Play run by Mike Cernovich, which advocates choking women
during sex as a useful indicator of a man’s strength. These sites and their accompanying
twitter feeds, have tens of thousands of followers. The relationship between PUAs and
incels is explained by journalist Zoe Williams:

In the sphere of the “pickup”, seduction is weaponised in the gender war: there is
a huge amount of discussion [on incel message boards] about its finer points, but
its core and only principle is that you get women to sleep with you (and behave)
by making them feel insecure.

When this, amazingly, doesn’t work, incels disappear down the wormhole of the
black pill: the game is rigged from the start. Appearance is everything. If you’re
dealt a bad hand, you’ve lost before you’ve started. This escalates to violent
fantasy, since if the game is rigged, then the only thing that will get attractive
women to sleep with you is force.7

The incel movement is characterized by a contradictory belief in the need for a return to
traditional values and a demand for sexual availability of women, who are referred to in
degrading terms such as bitches and sluts. YWN validates and repeats all of the central
beliefs of the incel movement. It refers to women in derogatory terms, reducing them to
their sexual organs (cunt, cocktease); it contains articles on how to exploit women’s
insecurities to gain sexual access to them (for example how to take advantage of women
on the day after Valentine’s Day) and it justifies resort to violence when men are denied
sexual access (arguing for men’s right to grope women, or an end to marital rape laws).
YWN justifies incel beliefs in its Summer 2018 issue, referring extensively to Minassian
and his attributed beliefs as logica and triggered by a “cruel feminist cunt”. (page 7) The
author says of incel men: “Most of these men felt deep resent[sic] toward women, and
rightfully so because they were humiliated for sport by mean bitches who felt that an
inelegant sexual proposition accompanied by a thousand-yard stare was tantamount to
an affront to their dignity” and predicts a coming incel uprising.

MRAs (Men’s Rights’ Activists)

Zoe Williams, “’Raw Hatred’: Why the incel movement targets and terrorizes women” The
Guardian (25 April 2018)

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The incel movement is a subset of men’s rights activism. Anti-feminist sentiments similar
to those expressed in YWN can be found in men’s rights groups who have claimed that
the family law system is biased against men and that anti-sexual assault campaigns
unfairly brand men as rapists for sexual behaviour that is normal. One of most well-known
sites is A Voice for Men, run by Paul Elam, but there are many others including discussion
forums on reddit and 4chan which have tens of thousands of users.

Some MRA groups use claims about men’s health, and male suicide in particular, as an
entry point for espousing sexist and anti-feminist beliefs. Other claims include the
assertion that women are more violent than men in domestic relationships, or that women
frequently alienate their children from their fathers.8 The legal system is a particular focus
of MRA’s, as are public awareness campaigns about sexual consent. Some of these
groups target individual feminists and women’s groups with poster campaigns and other
tactics.9 There is a large body of critical scholarship on men’s rights movements in the
U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia.10

Alt-Right Movement

Male supremacist ideology as expressed by the incel movement, or MRA’s more
generally, is linked to white supremacist beliefs. This collection of beliefs has become
known as the “alt-right” movement. These groups endorse, and are in turn endorsed by,
the current U.S. President, giving them added profile and legitimacy.

8 In Canada there are a number of local MRA groups, as well as the national group CAFE (Canadian
Association for Equality) and CCMF (Canadian Centre for Men and Families) that promote some of these
ideas. CAFE does not describe itself as a men’s rights group, conceding only that this is a label given to it
by others.
9 Lise Gotell and Emily Dutton, “Sexual Violence in the ‘Manosphere’: Anti-Feminist Men’s Rights
Discourses on Rape” (2016) 5 International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 65-80.
10 Two book-length treatments are: Michael Kimmel, Angry White Men (New York: Nation Books, 2013);

Molly Dragiewicz, Equality with A Vengeance: Men’s Rights Groups, Battered Women, and Antifeminist
Backlash (Boston: Northeastern University, 2011).

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The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the United States, has
documented the links between male supremacist and white supremacist beliefs in the alt-
right movement:

A tight overlap exists between the "alt-right," white supremacist and male
supremacist circles, which feed each other’s narratives of the dispossession and
oppression of white men, which is blamed on minorities, immigrants and women.
Both the alt-right and the manosphere agree that feminism is the cause of Western
civilizational decline. In fact, the misogyny intrinsic to the "alt-right" might very well
be one of its distinctive features, or a “gateway drug.”

Xenophobia and racism had found a home in some corners of the men’s rights
activist movement from the beginning. Fathers Manifesto, an early fathers’ rights
group, included a call to exile blacks from the country on its website. The National
Coalition for Men protested that undocumented people could use the Violence
Against Women Act to stay in the U.S. In male supremacist subreddits, whether
/TheRedPill, /incels, /MGTOW or others, xenophobic rhetoric abounds.

The SPLC has a clear and well-supported summary of these groups and their beliefs on
its website.11

Effect of these Beliefs on Women

When challenged, proponents of male supremacist and misogynist beliefs typically
describe the reactions of those who oppose them as “offence” – and assert that offensive
speech is protected expression. For example YWN states in the June 2015 issue that
“The Toronto Police launched a hate crimes investigation against us after some histrionic,
neurotic, FemiMarxist loon lodged a complaint. She claimed our paper reduced her to
tears! Nothing will come of it because I know the law well-enough not to cross the line.”

While expressions of hatred toward women are doubtless offensive to many people, in
the sense that they find them disturbing, distasteful, annoying or upsetting, there are
concrete and measurable harms to the promotion of misogyny. These include:


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Decreased Participation in Public Life

Harassment and verbal abuse of women can lead women to modify their behaviour to
avoid the abuse, or can drown out their ability to participate in public life. For example
the men who sneak up on women television reporters and shout sexually violent and
profanity-laced slogans (“FHRITP”) make it more difficult for these women to do their jobs
and may cause some women to abandon their chosen profession altogether.
Misogynistic hatred, if unaddressed, can impose barriers that have both economic and
mental health consequences for women.

The targeting of individual women for their feminism or opposition to sexism is also a
common tactic of these groups. These personalized attacks are designed to discourage
these women from continuing their efforts and other women from joining them. For a time
A Voice for Men ran a website called “Regist-Her” which encouraged posting of photos
and names of women who were enemies of the men’s rights movement. Some of these
women were then subject to online harassment as well as threats of violence.

Violence and Fear of Violence

Male supremacist publications often advocate, condone or celebrate physical and sexual
violence against women. Such advocacy may be re-cast as “satire” when subject to
criticism. For example leading male supremacist Paul Elam has repeatedly advocated
for October to be renamed “Bash-A-Violent-Bitch” month. In 2014, the online campaign
called #gamergate targeted women active in the video gaming industry with death and
rape threats.

Decreased Access to Justice

Paul Elam has also stated publicly that were he ever to serve on a jury in a rape case, he
would automatically vote to acquit the accused. Similar calls can be found in other MRA
forums and publications. The statements are very similar to the article in the Fall 2016

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edition of YWN. This is part of a campaign to roll back legal gains for women and to
undermine those laws that currently exist to address male violence. Promulgation of
these beliefs allows rape myths to persist and discourages women from reporting male
violence to authorities.


In summary, the content of Your Ward News falls squarely within the most common
themes of male supremacist or misogynist ideology. It endorses the superiority of men
and the inferiority of women; the control of women and their sexuality by force, and the
demonization of those who support and promote women’s equality. In its writings on
women, the publication follows the standard pattern of other kinds of hate propaganda:
demean members of the targeted group through crude names and disparaging
comments; elevate those who do not belong to the group as physically, morally and
mentally superior, blame the targeted group for a series of wrongs, based on false or
distorted facts, that have harmed those outside the group; use this as justification for acts
of discrimination or violence against the targeted group.

I hope that this information is sufficient for your purposes. If you require anything further,
please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,

Janine Benedet, LLB, LLM, SJD
Professor of Law

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