Added: March 28, 2015 – Last updated: May 30, 2015


Author: Constance Backhouse

Title: Carnal Crimes

Subtitle: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975

Place: Toronto

Publisher: Irwin Law

Year: 2008

Pages: 442pp.

ISBN-13: 9781552211519 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781552211786 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781552212578 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Canadian History Cases: Offenders / Francesco Angione, Stephen Croft, Léo Fiola, Joseph Gray, Henry Kissel, Alfred Kohnke, Arsène Lamontagne, Albert Lassonde, Georges Mollot, Willimae Moore, Antonio Paquin, Henri Perrotte, Joseph Probe, Ovila Soulière, Albert Thivièrge, Léodore Venne; Bob Wilson; Cases: Victims / Mary Ann Burton, Yvonne Collin, Velma Demerson, Ethel Machan, Rose Marie Roper, Ana Tesla, Beatrice Irene Tisdale, Marie Tremblay, Laura White Offenders: Women; Types: Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Workplace Sexual Violence


Link: Author's Personal Website (Free Access)


Author: Constance Backhouse, Faculty of Law - Common Law Section, University of OttawaAuthor's Personal Website, Wikipedia


  Foreword (p. vii)
  Acknowledgments (p. ix)
  Chapter 1. Introduction (p. 3)
    The Sample from Which the Cases Were Selected (p. 5)
    Theoretical Frameworks (p. 9)
  Chapter 2. "Don't You Bully Me... Justice I Want if There is Justice to be Had": The Rape of Mary Ann Burton, London, Ontario, 1907 (p. 15)
    The Events of 8 July 1907: Mrs. Burton's Narrative (p. 17)
    Joseph Gray's Response (p. 20)
    "You Insult Me": The Cross-Examination of Mary Ann Burton (p. 22)
    Betrayal from Other Quarters (p. 37)
    The Trial: "The Case against the Prisoner Gray Is Lamentably Weak" (p. 44)
    "Justice I Want if There Is Justice to Be Had" (p. 48)
  Chapter 3. "On pensait que la fille était bonne à rien": Fiola, 1917 (p. 51)
    Sexual Assault in a Hudson Super Six (p. 52)
    Female Risk-Taking and the Sexual Dynamics of Men in Groups (p. 59)
    The Crime of Seduction (p. 67)
    The Curious Role of the Police (p. 70)
    Wrestling with the Legal Interpretation of Seduction (p. 74)
  Chapter 4. The Prosecution of Henry Kissel in the Roaring Twenties in Halifax (p. 79)
    Ethel Machan's Testimony: Raped on a Date in a Bachelor Suite (p. 87)
    The Decision to Prosecute a Dalhousie Medical Student (p. 89)
    The Case for the Defence: Cross-Examination of Ethel Machan and Surprise Witnesses (p. 92)
    The Crime of Rape: Carnal Knowledge without "Consent" (p. 96)
    The Outcome: Prosecution Halted in Its Tracks (p. 99)
  Chapter 5. Sexual Battery: Gynecological Treatment in the Mercer Reformatory, 1939-40 (p. 105)
    Dr. Edna Guest: Surgeon, Medical Researcher, and Feminist (p. 107)
    Velma Demerson: Life before the Mercer (p. 109)
    Branded as "Incorrigible": The Criminal Justice Process, or Lack Thereof (p. 114)
    "Unbelievable Pain": Inmates at the Mercy of Dr. Guest (p. 117)
    The Question of (Il)legality (p. 124)
  Chapter 6. Sexual Assault and Disability: Saskatchewan, 1942 (p. 131)
    A Deaf Childhood (p. 134)
    Employment after Graduation and the Cricumstances of the Sexual Assault (p. 138)
    The Courtroom Challenges of a Deaf Witness (p. 140)
    Courtoom Skirmishing over Evidence of Physical Force (p. 146)
    Insinuations of Sexual Promiscuity (p. 150)
    Joe Probe's Version (p. 152)
    Unlawful Carnal Knowledge of a "Deaf and Dumb Woman" (p. 157)
    Aftermath (p. 164)
  Chapter 7. Child Witnesses – "By Psychological Definition ... A Disservice to the True End of Justice": Soulière, 1951-52 (p. 165)
    Child Sexual Abuse (p. 166)
    Sworn and Unsworn Testimony from a Child Witness (p. 168)
    The Dubious Rationale for the Doctrine of Corroboration (p. 171)
    The Narrow Construction of "Corroboration" (p. 173)
    Corroboration under Scrutiny in the Court of Appeal (p. 179)
    The Lamented Dr. Antonio Barbeau (p. 185)
    The Consequences of the Corroboration Doctrine (p. 190)
  Chapter 8. Canada's First Capital "L" Lesbian Sexual Assault: Yellowknife, 1955 (p. 193)
    A Newcomer in Yellowknife (p. 193)
    The Sexual Overture (p. 196)
    The Laying of Criminal Charges (p. 203)
    "These Types of People" (p. 206)
    The Eductation and Work History of Beatrice Gonzales (p. 207)
    Beatrice's Testimony at Trial (p. 213)
    The Trial Verdict: An "Invitation to Lesbianism" (p. 218)
    Appeal to Edmonton (p. 221)
    Postscript (p. 224)
  Chapter 9. "Sordid" but "Understandable under the Circumstances": Kohnke, Croft, and Wilson, 1967 (p. 227)
    A Tragic Childhood (p. 229)
    Residential Schooling (p. 234)
    A Ride That Culminated in Death (p. 240)
    A Prosecution Infected with Racism (p. 246)
    Appealing the Outcome and the Sentence (p. 255)
    The Aftermath (p. 260)
  Chapter 10. "Imprisonment Would Be of No Assistance to the Accused": Angione, 1974 (p. 263)
    A Cast of Three: Montello, Houlahan, and Haines (p. 266)
    The Case That Spawned the Plea Bargain (p. 272)
    Sexual Assault in the Workplace (p. 276)
    Sentencing: "Restitution for Wrong Done" (p. 278)
    The Glare of the Media Spotligth (p. 283)
  Chapter 11. Conclusion (p. 287)
  Notes (p. 299)
  Index (p. 437)

Description: »Carnal Crimes: Sexual Assault Law in Canada, 1900-1975 is an engaging and powerful book about sexual assault crimes in Canadian history written by one of Canada’s foremost legal historians. Using a case-study approach, Constance Backhouse explores nine sexual assault trials from across the country throughout the twentieth century. We move from small towns to large cities, from the Maritimes to the Northwest Territories, from the suffrage era to the period of the women’s liberation movement. Each of these richly-textured vignettes offers insight into the failure of the criminal justice system to protect women from sexual assault, and each is highly readable and provocative. The most moving chapters document the law’s refusal to accommodate a woman who could only give evidence in sign language, and the heartbreak of a child rape trial. Backhouse deals sensitively and deftly with these difficult stories.« (Source: Irwin Law)

Lectures: Backhouse, Constance. »Canada's First Capital "L" Lesbian Sexual Assault Trial: Yellowknife, 1955.« Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association. Montreal 2008.

Reprint: Chapter 8: Backhouse, Constance. »Sexual Assault and Disability: Saskatchewan, 1942.« Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women's History. Edited by Mona Gleason et al. Don Mills 2011: 217-238.

Reprint of: Chapter 2: Backhouse, Constance. »"Don't You Bully Me … Justice I Want if There is Justice to be Had": The Rape of Mary Ann Burton, London, Ontario, 1907.« People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture. Edited by Jonathan Swainger et al. Vancouver 2003: 60-94.


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