Thursday, 11 April 2013

An open letter to The Toronto Star and Rosie Dimanno re: "Sexual assault case involving four female suspects a bizarre anomaly”

I am extremely disappointed and disgusted not only with the column written by Rosie Dimanno on Tues, April 9th entitled “Sexual assault case involving four female suspects a bizarre anomaly”, but also with the lack of response from The Toronto Star afterthefact. This bit of sensationalistic tripe served no purpose but to insult and degrade the victim and make light of the crimes committed against him. This is a perfect example of why so many sexual assaults go unreported, and why this particular victim chose not to be interviewed by The Toronto Star. Who could possibly trust your publication with the details of such a grievous violation when they will more than likely wind up nothing more than a punchline?

Survivors read your publication. Rapists read your publication. A community who has not yet decided how they should appropriately react to disclosures of sexual violence, read your publication. You have a responsibility to the community to do better, because at present you are helping foster and support an extremely hostile environment to survivors that will ensure many more don’t go to the authorities to report crimes of sexual violence committed against them.

Perhaps more troubling than even her delight in pondering the details of this most recent case, is this is not nearly the first time that Rosie Dimanno has stooped to such levels in degrading victims of sexual violence and minimizing their experiences. Just on January 18th of this year, she lead with the sentence “She lost a womb but gained a penis,” in her account of the trial against Dr. George Doodnaught. Because of her history of such degrading articles addressing sexual violence, Rosie Dimanno has proven that she is incapable of showing respect to survivors of sexual violence. The Toronto Star should not be paying her to degrade victims.

If The Toronto Star wants to continue to keep Rosie Dimanno on staff without losing any more readers, your audience needs not only an apology but some sign that she and your editors understand why her articles have caused such uproar and distress, and a commitment to do far better. If that is not possible, either she needs to find another calling or you will need to find new readers. Until such time as a formal apology from The Toronto Star and Rosie Dimanno are published, you will be losing this long-time reader and I will encourage as many people as my voice will reach to also boycott your publication.

Survivors deserve better, Toronto as a whole deserves better, and I am personally demanding better.

Sincerely,

Natalee Brouse

2 comments:

  1. You took the words right out my mouth. After reading the article, I thought that I was Just being oversensitive to her comments, so I'm glad I'm not alone. I did a presentation on male sexual assault at Ryerson university last month. You can see it yourself on my blog ssibani.WordPress.com

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  2. Well written, and to the point Natalee.

    My own letter elicited a canned, pre-fabricated response as well. So far, nothing remotely resembling a personal response. As a male survivor myself, (I was one of the men on the Oprah 200 Men episodes) I found Rosie DiManno's article repugnant, rude, and extremely sexist. DiManno seems either unwilling, or unable to consider that men can be sexually assaulted. Even more appalling is that The Star published it. What a sad commentary.

    Something I did following the Oprah show, to demonstrate that male survivors exist, and can heal from sexual abuse and assault.
    vimeo.com/18771269

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