Celebrity sexual assault charges have been erupting on the front pages of news media around the world. And every week it seems like there is someone new.
Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, and Brett Ratner are just a few of those facing sexual assault charges and allegations. The whole industry has been set on its head as this aspect of the entertainment world is being exposed. But the effects aren’t just limited to the entertainment industry.
In Canada and the US, voices are being raised about sexual assault. Social Media movements like #metoo are raising local awareness and bringing sexual assault into the limelight.
In Toronto, aka Hollywood North, memories are being stirred. People are reflecting on their own pasts. For some, this is leading to raising allegations of assault. While others are wondering if they could be the next to stand accused.
Many people who thought they were in the clear are now worried they could be put in the spotlight. But if it happened long enough ago, are you in the clear?
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT?
In Ontario, there is no statute of limitations on civil claims for sexual offences. This is a recent change, occurring in 2016. This is significant as the standard limitation period in Ontario is 2 years.
There is a good reason behind the time limit being removed. Sexual assault is difficult for victims to come forward. Not only can it be taxing emotionally and be damaging to reputations, but there is a fear of career repercussions. There is a fear and a stigma associated with making sexual assault accusations.
Even if they do come forward, there is no guarantee of guilt being found. Sexual assault offences have a lower likelihood of guilt being found than any other violent crime. Nearly half of all cases go unsolved, with the accused being unidentified or due to insufficient evidence.
Victims may end up with a backlash on their professional career. There is not only a fear of losing their current job but that their case will be a red flag for future employers.
This is evident from who we see opening up about sexual assault in Hollywood. Celebrities like Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman are big enough stars that many studios still want to work with them even after they come forward. But for new and growing stars, they could miss out on opportunities in favour of people who don’t “stir the pot.”
Celebrities coming forward is having a positive effect for budding stars. With fear of future accusations or lawsuits, Hollywood bigwigs are changing the way they conduct business. Hotel room and one-on-one meetings appear to be a thing of the past. Directors, producers, and agents are having meetings with talent in offices. They’re also having other people present. While this is done to protect themselves, it also helps to protect the talent as well.
ARE SEXUAL ASSAULT ACCUSATIONS ON THE RISE IN ONTARIO?
Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes. In Canada, self-reported sexual assault rates have been almost unchanged for the past 10 years. But this may change in the near future. As more people speak out, victims may feel more supported in laying sexual assault claims.
Movements like #metoo are showing the effects of celebrities coming forward about assault. Regular people are feeling empowered to speak out against their experience. The public support and willingness to speak out could create a climate for more people to lay sexual assault claims in Ontario.
DEFENDING CHARGES IN TORONTO
If you are facing sexual assault charges in Toronto, it is essential to talk to a sexual assault lawyer as soon as you can. A sexual offence can ruin your personal and professional reputation. As well, a single conviction will result in placement on SOIRA – the National Sex Offender Registry.
The best criminal lawyers in Toronto prioritize your privacy and reputation. They understand the stigma and sensitivity associated with sexual offences. Look for an experienced sexual assault lawyer who has worked on a range of sexual offences such as:
- Administering a noxious substance
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Invitation to sexual touching
- Living on the avails of prostitution
- Luring a child
- Sexual assault
- Sexual interference
Toronto criminal defence lawyer, William Jaksa, understands that you are not your charges. And he works to ensure you get a fair trial and the representation you deserve. Contact Jaksa today for sexual assault charges and protect your reputation.