Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wrapping A Trial, Awaiting Sentence

"The two accused began to punch her in the face. She tried to fight back, but was taken to the ground and stomped on in the area of the upper body and head. She tried to protect herself and fought back and she did so until she was knocked out by both of the accused."
Crown prosecutor Debbie Buors, Winnipeg Provincial Court

"When I was in the hospital, my mom wanted me to take a semester off. For me, all I could think of was moving forward. Yes, I was hurt, but my spirit was still very strong. I made the choice to return to school just two weeks later. And last year even though I spent weeks in the hospital and was still hurting a lot, I graduated Grade 11 with all of my credits."
"I've learned that if you use your voice, others will join you."
"I didn't choose what happened to me, but I did make a choice to speak out against violence. And that's how I think of myself -- not as a victim, but as a voice for change."
Rinelle Harper, a picture of indomitable courage
rinelle harper
"I never thought he'd plead guilty. We decided as a family not to go [attend the trial]. I was so scared of what would happen if we saw him, like I would just start crying. I'm so angry."
"I'll never forget that day. He almost took [her] from us."
"Of course it's hard for us to read about the details, but I think it's important for people to know how bad it was. These men were not human You can't do these kind of things, one human to one human."
Rinelle Harper's mother 

Now 17, this survivor of a vicious attack was 16 when two young men of aboriginal descent, one 21, the other a 17-year-old came across the young First Nations girl strolling along a path not far from the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg. She was attending high school far from her reserve home, and she had been out celebrating with friends from school, after writing their mid-term exams.

They walked quietly at first beside her, gained her trust, and then turned life upside down and inside-out for her.

They had originally planned to rob her. They did in fact, take her Air Jordan runners, her NorthFace jacket and her iPod after attacking her. They assaulted her mercilessly, then took turns raping her when she fell unconscious. When she gained consciousness, they attacked her again, stripped her of all her clothing and threw her into the frigid waters of the river.

She crawled out of the river after floating downstream, and as she gained the bank they were waiting for her again. And once again beat her, this time with a hammer one of the two had carried in a rucksack. They left her for dead, and had a passerby not found her lying by the river path hours later, she might have died. Twice she went into cardiac arrest, and was revived. A year later she is still recovering, and is scheduled for a second surgery.

Justin Hudson, the 21-year-old, struck a plea deal with the Crown. By pleading guilty the charges against him were reduced. Originally charged with attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault for the attack on the teen, the attempted murder charge was dropped by the Crown as part of the plea deal. Originally charged with sexual assault with a weapon in another horrendous assault that took place the same night, that charge was upgraded to aggravated sexual assault.
Justin Hudson waived his right to a trial in provincial court Tuesday after reaching a plea deal with the Crown. He pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault.
Justin Hudson waived his right to a trial in provincial court Tuesday after reaching a plea deal with the Crown. He pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault. (Facebook )

For after the two had left Rinelle Harper they accosted another aboriginal woman of 23. They walked behind her and as she realized she was being followed and turned around, she was struck on the head by a baseball bat, creating a gash that began bleeding immediately. She too was beaten horribly and repeatedly raped. And as a strange twist to those dreadful events, Justin Hudson's mother and sister came across that woman in a nearby convenience store.

She asked for their help, and they said they would walk along with her to her home, but she left as they were paying for the items they had bought. The woman had gone to her brother's home, where he called 911 for help. She was treated in hospital for the wounds she had received. Hudson's mother on returning home saw her son wearing bloodied shoes, the very runners he had taken from Rinelle Harper, and she questioned him repeatedly.

When he threatened her, his sister called 911 and police arrived. Rinelle Harper's mother is outraged, and so is her entire extended family, one of whom is a regional First Nations chief. The issue of First Nations women facing horrendous assaults from within the community has surfaced as an indication of unequal treatment of First Nations within the larger Canadian community. But it is basically from within the tighter aboriginal community that the violence ensues.

Aboriginal women and those who love them, and that should be the responsibility of all of Canada's indigenous peoples as well as all other Canadians, should be demanding that the culture look within itself to address this deep-seated malaise that simply does not want to fade away. Until and unless a deeper understanding surfaces to explain the dysfunction that exists within aboriginal communities the essential problem cannot be adequately addressed.

The entire community, from its disparate parts to its aggregate whole of the entire national population should care for and about one another. The divisions that separate us are constructions of ignorance and suspicion, none of which does us any credit.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet