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If Hockey Canada really respected the victims

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What if the hockey players brought a man to their hotel room to take turns beating him? Would we have kept the secret like that?

Posted at 6:00

In the end, the lawyer Sophie Gagnon, general manager of Juripop, asks me the question. Frankly, I don’t think so. Not even her.

Maybe it’s rape culture. This tendency to minimize or even ignore sexual assaults, even the most heinous. And this astonishing revelation, Monday, from the president of Hockey Canada: every year the organization conducts two or three investigations into the sexual assaults committed in its ranks. As if it were normal. Ordinary. The usual routine, what!

Weeks go by and Hockey Canada is embroiled in a plague scandal. The more the leaders of the powerful sports federation try to extricate themselves, the more they sink.

They entered it on May 26, when TSN reported the sordid details of a civil lawsuit filed against their organization. Slowly they got bogged down. They were up to their necks in the mud on Wednesday when Ottawa froze their funds.

The government was criticized for taking too long to react. But it was only this week that we were able to measure the extent of Hockey Canada’s efforts to keep the lid tightly closed on the plate. Prior to the disastrous appearance of its leaders before a committee of elected officials in Ottawa, no one really knew how to handle this.

We agree: the alleged crime is very serious. A gang rape. Eight players take turns attacking a woman. They kidnap her in a hotel room in London. She tries to escape, they hold her back by force. She cries, they laugh. It is unbearable violence and barbarism.

Star player or not, these kids have to answer for their crime.

But now the victim refuses to press charges. Neither the police nor the investigators hired by Hockey Canada to shed light on these allegations. “We can’t force anyone to file a complaint,” recalls Sophie Gagnon. In a sexual assault case, there is no point in going to the police if the victim refuses to cooperate, because the evidence is based almost entirely on her testimony. ”

In other words, you can’t blame Hockey Canada, and neither can the police, if the players managed to escape a criminal trial. “There is only the victim who can do it. ”

But the sports federation could have done even more. He should have done more. He preferred to buy the victim’s silence. And protect his executioners.

Twenty-six months. Hockey Canada’s internal investigation lasted 26 months. And how many actors involved in gang rape have been identified in these two years of investigation? Zero. Not one.

Tell me about effective detectives. I guess they did it on purpose …

Incredibly, players weren’t required to cooperate with the investigation. So, of course, their agents strongly advised them not to; their career was at stake, and here is Hockey Canada pretending to be helpless: if no one wants to collaborate, what do you want, nothing can be done …

It’s too easy. “It wouldn’t take a lot of legal creativity to find leverage to force players to participate in an investigation,” said Sophie Gagnon.

Even without this legal leverage, the lawyer added, the charges were so serious that Hockey Canada could have used them to rescind players’ contracts if they refused to cooperate.

In short, Hockey Canada could act, but it didn’t. For gross negligence. Or, more likely, to protect its players. And his own ass of him, by the way.

The sports federation chose to settle out of court, which had the advantage of hiding gang rape under the rug. Come on, let’s forget everything! The Boys He will continue his career in the major leagues, as if nothing had happened. It would be a real shame to sacrifice all these talents …

Hockey Canada was quick to pay on behalf of the eight players involved, players it should be remembered that the organization says it has never been able to identify. Big bad blank check.

As a precaution, the agreement however prohibits the parties from disclosing the names of the eight John Does. This allows Hockey Canada once again to take refuge in silence: we would like to tell you more, but we cannot, it is confidential. Don’t get us wrong, it’s out of respect for the victim …

That too is too easy.

If Hockey Canada truly respected the victims, it would face the triad of toxic cultures – that of silence, that of impunity and that of rape – that rot its ranks. Importantly, it would never seem like giving players permission to rape with impunity again.

There, Hockey Canada would truly respect the victims. Who knows, maybe it would also give them the courage to file a complaint.

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