“A decisive snapshot of this moment in history that considers where we were, and sets the stage for where we might go, and will no doubt be used to describe this moment long after we move on to a new normal.” —Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People
An illuminating, timely look at the changing landscape of sexual politics by the author of Crazy Town.
For nearly two years, Globe and Mail reporter Robyn Doolittle investigated how Canadian police handle sexual assault cases. Her findings were shocking: across the country, in big cities and small towns, the system was dismissing a high number of allegations as "unfounded." A police officer would simply view the claim as baseless and no investigation would follow. Of the 26,500 reported cases of sexual assault in 2015, only 1,400 resulted in convictions.
The response to Doolittle's groundbreaking Unfounded series was swift. Federal ministers immediately vowed to establish better oversight, training, and policies; Prime Minister Trudeau announced $100 million to combat gender-based violence; Statistics Canada began to collect and publish unfounded rates; and to date, about a third of the country's forces have pledged to review more than 10,000 sex-assault cases dating back to 2010.
Had It Coming picks up where the Unfounded series left off. Doolittle brings a personal voice to what has been a turning point for most women: the #MeToo movement and its aftermath. The world is now increasingly aware of the pervasiveness of rape culture in which powerful men got away with sexual assault and harassment for years: from Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, and Matt Lauer, to Charlie Rose and Jian Ghomeshi. But Doolittle looks beyond specific cases to the big picture. The issue of "consent" figures largely: not only is the public confused about what it means, but an astounding number of police officers and judges do not understand Canadian consent law. The brain's reaction to trauma and how it affects memory is also crucial to understanding victim statements. Surprisingly, Canada has the most progressive sexual assault laws in the developed world, yet the system is failing victims at every stage.
Had It Coming is not a diatribe or manifesto, but a nuanced and informed look at how attitudes around sexual behaviour have changed and still need to change.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We’ve long known that rape culture is a problem, but the emergence of the #MeToo movement in 2017 has given many more women the courage to speak out about their own experiences with sexual assault and harassment. In Had It Coming, journalist Robyn Doolittle—who wrote the “Unfounded” series for Toronto’s Globe and Mail—tackles how the system continues to fail victims, and how #MeToo needs to evolve in order to effect long-lasting change. Delving beyond high-profile cases like Jian Ghomeshi’s, Doolittle focuses on everyday sexual-assault investigations, revealing that even trained police officers can be unclear on issues of consent and harassment. We finished Doolittle’s book with more questions than answers—and with a healthy sense of anger that made us determined to see this culture change.