By Amy Alkon
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.
In Canada, It’s Now Criminal To Be Upset Or Creeped Out By Somebody’s Comment
Christie Blatchford writes for the Nat Post about a case involving a guy’s tweets — which a detective said involved no threats to anyone.
This is the trial of Gregory Elliott, a 53-year-old artist and father of four, who is charged with three counts of criminal harassment against three Toronto feminists.
The officer in charge of the case, Toronto Police Detective Jeff Bangild, testified this week in his investigation, he found no tweets from Mr. Elliott that contained any threats to any of the women; had he, Det. Banglid said, he would have laid different charges.
Apparently, a criminal harassment charge is rooted in the alleged victim’s perception of the offending conduct.
If said conduct, whether that be actually physically following someone or repeatedly communicating with that person, causes the person “reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety”, that’s enough, says the Criminal Code.
This explains the tone of prosecutor Marnie Goldenberg’s questions Thursday to Stephanie Guthrie, the 29-year-old feminist who was the first complainant to come forward about Mr. Elliott.
Several times, as Ms. Goldenberg would wrap up an area of examination with Ms. Guthrie, she would ask how she “felt” about a particular set of Tweets.
And Ms. Guthrie, who is preposterously articulate and self-possessed, would reply, “I was feeling a bit stalked” or “it made me feel scared for my safety … I felt very much like he was obsessed with me, fixated on me” or “It led me to believe he had an unhealthy fixation … “
You get the drift: She felt creeped out by Mr. Elliott; therefore, he is criminally charged.
Yet it’s clear Ms. Guthrie can dish it out pretty well, too.
In 2012, the same year in which Mr. Elliott allegedly harassed her, she drew attention to a 25-year-old man from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., who had invented a “beat up Anita Sarkeesian” video game, where users could punch an image of the feminist video blogger until the screen turned red.
Ms. Guthrie wondered aloud online if she should “sic the Internet” on the man and Tweeted “I want his hatred on the internet to impact his real-life experience.”
Free speech is in jeopardy, and I believe feminism has caused a good bit of this jeopardy. As I tweeted recently:
Those clamoring for Bora’s head on pike are for women not as equals but eggshells