In April 2019, LEAF submitted a community impact statement in the sentencings of James Sears and LeRoy St. Germaine. The statement outlined the negative effects of hate speech on women.
Hate speech perpetuates harmful stereotypes, which act as barriers to equality for women in all areas of their life. The reinforcement of negative stereotypes risks contributing to prejudice and bias against women.
LEAF’s statement highlighted that hate speech against women:
- Injures women’s dignity and causes psychological harm;
- Undermines women’s safety from violence;
- Perpetuates stereotypes and erects or reinforces barriers to women’s social, economic, and political participation.
Sears and St. Germaine were editor and publisher of community newsletter Your Ward News. They were found guilty in January 2019 of 2 counts of willfully promoting hatred. Their materials advocated, among other things, for the commission of physical and sexual violence against women. Sears received a 12-month jail sentence. St. Germaine was sentenced to 12 months’ house arrest. The court characterized their promotion of hate towards women as especially aggravating.
Read and download LEAF’s community impact statement below.Sears-St-Germaine-LEAF-community-impact-statement