No jail time for female B.C. teacher who molested 11 year old boy

A former school teacher from Langley, B.C. received a conditional sentence after pleading guilty to sexual interference with an child between the ages of 11 and 13 between 1998 and 2000. The teacher, who was 43, 44, and 45 at the time the crimes took place, will be submitting to 18 months of house arrest, community service, and a curfew.

The difference between this case and the moral outrage that normally accompanies cases of child molestation is that the teacher, Deborah Ralph, now 59, is a woman and her victim was a young boy.

TheProvince reports that her crimes included kissing, touching, cuddling, and oral sex with the child, who was not her student at the time. Like many high profile cases of child molestation where the perpetrator is a female teacher and the child is a young boy a psychiatric report portrayed Ralph as a woman who saw herself in a consenting romantic relationship with the boy.

Justice Selwyn Romilly didn’t view Ralph as a typical predatory child molester saying that she was at a low risk of re-offending and that “she is at a very different point in her life after a great deal of introspection and emotional growth.”

The decision handed down by the judge clearly notes that the sex of the offender influenced the ruling, stating that  “Ms. Ralph’s sexual behaviour with the victim was not consistent with that of a predatory paedophile. Instead the category of female sex offender into which her offending falls is recognized in the literature as the “teacher/lover” who sees herself as part of a consenting romantic relationship with an adolescent and does not recognize any abusive behaviour. However the behaviour clearly violates the normal boundaries present in the teacher/pupil relationship”

What many people fail to realise is that this situation and ones like it show a problem with the advances of modern feminism. While women have fought for years to dispel the image of the mother, the child, the nurturer, or the emotional and docile female the case of Deborah Ralph shows that the courts haven’t yet caught up.

Feminists need to be fighting not only to dispel these notions to protect the advancement of women in the workplace and society, but to ensure harsher penalties for sexual predators who happen to be women to protect our own families, the families of others, and the community as a whole.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Let us know what you think. Should female paedophiles receive equally harsh sentences?

Newsflash: March 26, 2014

In honour of tonight’s Toronto mayoral debate Yahoo News came up with Mayoral Debate Bingo, complete with all the phrases you love like Old Politics, Jack Layton, Downtown Relief Line, Pride Parade, Scarborough Subway, and Bike Lanes. This might be the easiest game of bingo you’ve ever played.

Pauline Marois was schooled by a bunch of high school kids who know what they’re talking about. The Quebec Charter of Values has been a debate in the province and around the rest of the country for a while now and the popularity of the charter others view as racist or bigoted has helped the PQ even in the midst of endless bad press. Good thing these kids have a decent understanding of rights and liberties and throw down the hammer by quoting Marois’ own 1997 education act’s enshrining of respect for other cultures. Hey Mme Marois, maybe it’s time to go back to school.

John Tory says he has a plan for a new north-south subway in Toronto. The details are sparse, but he says he can pay for it somehow and we’ll find out how… sometime before the end of the campaign.

Rob Ford has been snubbed from the Garrison Ball this year after becoming famously (and belligerently) drunk when he attended last year. Although he’s hinted he might crash the party organizers have made it clear that only ticket holders are welcome and RoFo certainly does not have a ticket.

One of Ontario’s most controversial mayors has taken leave. No, not Ford. Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell is the highest paid mayor and has been under fire recently for lavish expenses and also taking a secret pay cut. former MPP Linda Jeffrey left the Ontario cabinet to run against her in the upcoming municipal election.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin broke up and were immediately made fun of by everyone because they called in ‘conscious uncoupling.

There is going to be a Miss Congeniality TV series produced by Gracie Hart herself Sandra Bullock and it will be amazing.

There’s a Snickers ad about empowering women that’s actually a bit sexist

Snickers Australia decided to have some fun with the idea of construction workers putting aside cat calls and lewd remarks for empowering statements and encouragement to professional women.

Christopher Hooton at Independent, however, thinks the commercial spot might have sexist undertones.

In the last frame of the advertisement the Snickers tagline “You aren’t you when you’re hungry” shows up, undermining the message that the commercial set out.

“The advert concludes with the slogan ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ however, suggesting that their actions have been those of someone driven crazy by hunger, and leaving a sour (and faintly peanuty) taste in the mouth of the viewer.

Let’s hope those builders get a Snickers in them soon so they can return to their usual lecherous antics eh? Maybe a Yorkie before they start treating everyone like equals!”

While the intention probably wasn’t to come across as sexist, when you take into account that previous ads in this campaign have included obnoxious celebrities acting awful when they don’t have their Snickers it does stand to reason that the nice behaviour of these construction workers might be viewed as another thing to be remedied with a quick snack.


What do you think, is the ad empowering, poorly executed, or sexist in the end?

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Prayers do come true: Sandra Bullock to produce Miss Congeniality TV show

Today there was finally definitive proof of a just and caring God, one who heard the countless prayers from women and gay men and looked down on us and said “Let there be more Miss Congeniality, and let it be plentiful and weekly” and it was so.

Yes, Hollywood sources say Sandra Bullock is planning on producing a comedic television series based around her character Gracie Hart from Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.

Fans of the original two movies thought they had hit the jackpot when Bullock donned an FBI bulletproof vest, albeit as a different character, in last summer’s The Heat, but just as soon as we were ready to accept it as an unofficial third installment in the Miss Congeniality franchise we learned that Gracie Lou Freebush will live on in the Bullock produced series.

A source told TheSpec “Sandra loved her ‘Miss Congeniality’ FBI agent character Gracie Hart and the concept so much that for years she has continued to keep up friendships with FBI agents she met while researching it. Sandra loves that real FBI agents, particularly female ones, continue to respond to and write her letters about both ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘The Heat’.”

Yes please.


‘Bollywood Logic’ infographics tackle violence against women in India

In the past few years the rest of the world has been startled awake to the long simmering issue of sexual violence and violence against women in India with high profile gang rape cases and terrifying statistics showing lax safety for women, an issue that the new feminist Bollywood movie The Pink Sorrys attempts to address by incorporating violence, dance numbers, and punk rock into the framework of a traditional Bollywood movie to start the conversation.

Check out these infographics juxtaposing Bollywood tropes with harsh realities for women in India and let us know what you think, can a Bollywood style film jump start awareness for women’s issues in India?









Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


5 questions with Morgan Baskin, Toronto’s 18 year old mayoral candidate

Morgan Baskin isn’t a household name — yet — but with her sharp and fresh eyes on the mayor’s chair she is certainly a young woman to watch. We had the pleasure of chatting with her to talk about her start, her ideas, and her advice for her peers who might also want to get involved in their civic communities.


How did you get your start in politics?

In traditional politics I started when I filed my papers to run for Mayor. In more grassroots community politics? When I was born. I have always been active in my community, I was fortunate to have been born into an incredibly active family. I was involved in Scouting at a young age as well as in my church community and made my way through various leadership roles in those communities, many of which I continue to fulfil.


What needs to change at City Hall?

I could write a very long list of things but I’ll stick to the basics.

We need to figure out how to be a team and work as one. Divisive politics have plagued our city for too long and it needs to change. Anyone who says it can’t be done needs to find some optimism. We have to try to find a team spirit, otherwise we will be having the same conversations we have been having for thirty years for the next thirty years.

We need to trust our professionals. We need to work closely with and listen to them. They were hired for a reason and they deserve to be listened to and trusted to do their jobs. The final decisions are often made by politicians, and we need to ask good questions and query the results, but we need to respect the information we pay for.


What is the issue most important to Torontonians in this election?

I can’t speak for the several million of us, but in my opinion transit is shaping up to be a big one. Public transit, bike lanes, roads the whole shebang. It’s causing stress and safety problems and is strangling our economy.


What advantage does your age give you over other candidates twice or three times your age?

It gives me a fresh perspective free of previous political baggage. I am still at a period in my life where I am used to listening, to asking for help when I need it and admitting when I am wrong. These are all skills that I think City Hall could use. I think we need truly fresh voices in politics. I think I can be that voice.


What advice do you have for your peers on how to get more involved in civics and their communities?

Jump in with both feet. There are many opportunities to get involved. Pick one and do it. Whether it’s being an activist on an issue you feel strongly about or quietly working to improve your community through the various community organizations or even party politics. Do something that feels productive and interesting and makes you feel hopeful about your community.


Follow Morgan on Twitter at @MorganBaskinTO.
Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Tina Fey says no to Mean Girls sequel rumours

On Wednesday at the premiere of the new Muppets movie Tina Fey broke the hearts of many twenty somethings who can recite entire scenes from Mean Girls when she gave a definitive no to a reunion movie to mark the ten year anniversary of the cultural phenomenon that spoke to a generation and spawned many a catch phrase — except fetch, fetch is never gonna happen.

Fey told reporters that, despite growing rumours and many cast reunions (not to mention a newly sober Lindsay) there was nothing in the works for a follow up to the movie she had penned. “We’re coming up next month on the 10-year anniversary of the original movie,” she told reporters. “I can’t believe it either. We’re going to see if there’s any way to get everyone together, but not a movie, sadly. We’re all past high-school age.”

#TOpoli with Thomson March 10: Do corporate tax hikes pass the buck and hurt low income families?

Join hosts Sarah Thomson and Travis Myers as they are joined by journalists Andrea Houston and Ashley Csanady with PR guru Lyndon Johnson to discuss the hottest issues in Toronto this week including funny tweets from the #TOpoli hashtag, Strombo’s new job on Hockey Night in Canada, Ed Keenan’s math on corporate tax hikes and how they hurt low income families, and the invisible gridlock tax in Toronto.

This pro-gay loonie designed by a Grade 4 kid is a great idea (and proudly Canadian)

Redditor JimmyCanuck posted up his daughter’s project to the subreddit /r/Canada Tuesday night proud of his daughter’s attitude, not to mention her 4+ top marks.

The parameters of the project were simple enough. “Sketch a symbol you would choose for a new Canadian coin. Why did you choose this symbol for a new coin? Tell why you think this represents Canada.”

While most kids her age might have chosen to do a project featuring an animal or veterans (popular visuals on Canada’s coins) Grade 4 Julie chose to do her project as a celebration of gay rights in Canada — a project with a great amount of heart and compassion that it earned her a 4+ top grade, even if there are a couple spelling mistakes.

Check out the project and read the text below:

gay coin

"This coin represents gay pride. I chose the rainbow because the rainbow is the gay pride flag. I chose the gay pride flag because it is okay to be gay in Canada. I chose two girls holding hands and 2 boys holding hands because gay means love with a person in your gender. I chose black because black represents guilt & sorrow. If you were in a different country where you aren't allowed to be gay and if you are gay you would feel guilt & sorrow. That's why I chose gay pride as my coin."

Hats off to Julie for her fantastic compassion and vision at such a young age — and a challenge to the Royal Canadian Mint to make her project a reality.


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Why we shouldn’t #BanBossy: Bossiness isn’t just for girls and isn’t the same as leadership

Beyoncé wants you to know she isn’t “bossy” — she’s the boss.

This is part of the new campaign from Lean In, a group headed by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg dedicated to the advancement of women. Not too different from some of the work we do here at Women’s Post, actually. One big difference is that they have made the bizarre move to draft celebrities in a war against the word bossy.

According to the campaign’s press materials: “when a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: Don’t raise your hand or speak up.”

For a campaign that is directed at the developed world it manages to ignore study after study after study showing that girls are currently outperforming boys in classrooms. The failing fortunes of boys is such a pressing issue in Canada that the Globe and Mail ran a large series on the issue a few years back. I was shocked to see this campaign claim that the term bossy is reserved for girls. According to Micheline Maynard at Forbes the term is gender neutral. “There are plenty of bossy men out there, too. Bossy is bossy — dictatorial, unyielding, telling people what to do and expecting them to do it without any input.” When I was growing up the bossiest kid I knew was a boy named Kyle.

All of that is secondary to the fundamental flaw this campaign is based on. #BanBossy equates bossiness with leadership and then portrays bossy kids as the downtrodden. The kids who can’t put their hand up for fear of retribution, the kids who would be such bright leaders if their bossiness was allowed to shine through.

The reality is that being bossy is an attitude that exists wholly separate from leadership and it is a bad thing. A kid isn’t bossy when he or she raises their hand to answer a question in class — a kid is bossy when he or she knocks over another kids blocks because they’ve decided they want their turn and they want it now. A kid isn’t bossy when they work together leading others to accomplish goals — a kid is bossy when they dictate the actions of other kids, refuse to compromise, and don’t consider the desires or feelings of others.

The Lifetime clip also features Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, and others.

Bossy behaviour in kids isn’t a charming attribute by any stretch, it more often will result in frustrating situations for parents and teachers who are constantly being undermined or disobeyed and problems for other children who aren’t allowed their own expression at the hands of another child who refuses to relinquish control. What baffles me is why there is a campaign to protect children from being chided for behaviour that many psychologists consider proto-bullying.

Parents and teachers know that the phrase “stop being so bossy” isn’t intended to take away any fair chance from a child who aspires to lead. Instead it is said in sympathy with the other child who is being led against their will. What response would Beyoncé suggest for the parent whose simple trip to the grocery store has been turned into a painful and embarrassing battle of wills with a child throwing food out of the cart in favour of Dunkaroos between sprints to different aisles? How will Beyoncé feel about the term bossy when Blue Ivy is old enough to scream NO, MINE! and MY TURN! at the top of her lungs until she gets her way at the expense of another child’s feelings? Or, heaven forbid, how would she react if Blue Ivy is the child being bossed around?

The most curious thing about the campaign might be the presence of Queen Bey herself in the clip. As a child star being carted around from audition to audition it is hard to imagine the young superstar doing anything but following the orders of her parents-slash-managers on her road to success, as evidenced by her countless thank-yous to her parents for their tireless direction and dedication to her young career.

But beyond Beyoncé and back to the school yard: the term bossy should be offensive. For prepubescent kids the term is a scolding and a wake up call that their behaviour towards their parents and others is unacceptable and needs to be dialed down.

If parents and teachers are ready to throw in the towel and give bossy kids free reign at home and at school we can give up on parenting, caregiving, or teaching as a whole. If your child isn’t blessed with a bossy attitude don’t hope for much out of them in those early years or after they have had their determination, self worth, and aptitude stomped out of them by the loudest kids in the class — ironically enough the same fear this campaign has for bossy children who are simply being expected to follow rules and play nice.

At its heart this is a flawed campaign. Of the many issues that face young girls around the world like access to education or childhood marriages this is, unfortunately, a waste of star power on an problem that is neither gender specific or a problem at all. Kids can be little jerks sometimes, the beauty of childhood is the chance to teach our children how to grow into good people. When a child exhibits the qualities of leadership it is great to teach them how to respectfully involve themselves with others, but when things go too far don’t be fooled into thinking the term bossy is anything other than a label for bad behaviour.