R. v. Ewanchuk

In the case of R. v. Ewanchuk, a 17-year old woman went for a job interview in a trailer at a city mall in Alberta. By the time she left she had been subjected to unwanted sexual touching by a 49 year old man – her prospective employer. She had said “no” to his sexual assaults three times. At the trial, the lower court judge concluded that the young woman had not clearly stated her unwillingness to the man’s sexual touching. The judge believed that the young woman had “implied consent” because she did not resist her assailant strongly enough. Historically, women involved in sexual assault trials have been subjected to myths and stereotypes about their willingness to engage in sexual activity.

LEAF intervened in this case to show that when a woman says “no” to sex, she must, in law, be respected. This was another precedent-setting victory for LEAF because the Supreme Court upheld the principle that no one has the right to sexually touch another without that person’s clear consent. The Court also took the unusual step of convicting Steve Ewanchuck of sexually assaulting the young woman.

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SCC Judgment