Local advocates find holes in condom ruling by Supreme Court

By ,Ottawa Sun

First posted:


Having sex with your girlfriend after poking holes in the condoms in an underhanded bid to get her pregnant is rape, the Supreme Court ruled Friday in upholding a Nova Scotia man's sexual assault conviction.

The decision sending Craig Jaret Hutchinson back to jail is being hailed by an advocate for sex assault victims who says it affirms that yes can't mean yes when a victim is being deceived and robbed of that fundamental choice.

"This decision is a good one because it clearly makes the line that when women put conditions on their consent, if those conditions aren't met then consent is null and void and it is sexual assault," said Bailey Reid of the Sexual Assault Network.

"When there's deliberate sabotage to get a woman pregnant, that's not allowing her to have freedom of choice about her own body. Forcing someone to become pregnant is not allowing her a choice at all."

But while a men's rights advocate agrees that Hutchinson should be convicted, he argues so should women who do the reverse -- lie about birth control and have sex with "unwilling sperm donors" in a bid to get pregnant.

"A woman deciding to get pregnant by claiming that she can't get pregnant and (who) does get pregnant -- that's equally a form of rape in my view as someone putting holes in a condom," argued          the Ottawa Men's Centre.

"It's exactly the same."

Hutchinson knew the woman didn't want to get pregnant but in 2006, their relationship was failing.

It was only after she conceived, and broke up with him, that he texted to say he'd sabotaged the condoms to urge her not to use them, presumably with someone else.

The woman had an abortion, suffering complications and went to police. Hutchinson got an 18-month jail sentence.

The decision noted that not every sexual deception should be criminalized and that to be fraud -- which negates consent -- the lie has to carry a risk of harm.

The majority found that the risk of the "profound" changes pregnancy makes to a woman's body are just as serious as the risk of being hurt in the traditional sense.

However "financial deprivations or mere sadness or stress at being lied to" are not.

Townsend argues that the burden for deceived men isn't just financial but emotional and that they're then "robbed of being a father" by a gender-biased court system.

Reid argues that writing a check or feeling distress aren't the same violation as being forced to get pregnant, a tactic of abusive men. A woman then faces choices she never wanted to make - having an abortion or carrying to term, giving a baby up for adoption or caring for a child, which has traditionally fallen on mothers.

"Men, if they really want to not have someone become pregnant, even if she says she's on birth control, they can still wear a condom," Reid said.

"If they're not sure, men still have that option."


Twitter: @ottawasun_megan