Mandi Gray was inducted in Episode 8: Blaming the Victim (27:48 mins)
Today in the League of Extraordinary Women we will be inducting Mandi Gray. She is a graduate student at York University doing her PhD in Sociology. Years ago she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student and decided that her best course of action was to report him to the police. She pursed the case for the last two years through the criminal justice system and on Thursday July 21, 2016 the judge came to his decision. He decided that this man was guilty of sexual assault and moreover, that Mandi was a very credible witness as are all survivors of sexual assault. This case was groundbreaking not only for its guilty verdict and the judges’ statement but also because of Mandi Gray herself.
She asserted herself in claiming legal rights that are afforded to all survivors but are often overlooked and dismissed by judges, lawyers, and juries. She was openly critical of her interactions with the police who shamed and dismissed her. She battled rape culture openly by being herself and asserting her worth as herself. Even when the case was supposedly won, she took time to comment on how her own privilege and how the process served to dis-empower and destroy her. She said, “I am tired of people talking to me like I won some sort of rape lottery because the legal system did what it was supposed to do. My experience is regarded as a demonstration of the progress in sexual assault cases in Canada. I am expected to feel good because a few people within the system believe me. If we are told to be grateful for receiving the bare minimum, and that we should simply allow for social institutions to further oppress us and violate our rights, I am incredibly concerned. Accepting things simply as they are because it could be worse is the antithesis of progress.” I could not agree more with that statement and it is important to keep that in mind because her fight and our fight are not over.
More recently in an appeal case the rapist was let out on bail because the judge was seen as prejudiced against men. As if there could possibly be such a thing. Additionally, she is taking York University to task over their insufficient sexual assault policy. Mandi, you are one strong woman and we here at ToFEMco greatly admire you and your work on behalf of survivors. We know how hard this work is but it is important to know that we believe you. We believe all survivors.