29 July 2015

Mediation and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario - will it work for everyone?

Following is my email response to a suggestion that I  might like to try mediation to resolve the problem I had with my previous family doctor. See email below mine for copy of that email from the Human Rights Tribunal, received today, July 29, 2015.

In April, 2015, I submitted an application to have the case heard by the tribunal. I had already had a taste of the kind of response I was likely to get from the doctor in question, from having laid a complaint about him with the CPSO (College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario). I am concerned that no one is actually looking at the Application I submitted, or taking time to compare that with the Response the doctor sent to that. As with emails sent to the Registrar of the HRT, it is more likely that a customer service rep reads my response and decides what to do with it – file it or toss it, or hand it to someone else to deal with, than it actually gets into the hands of the individual whose name is on it .

----- Original Message -----
From: Sue McPherson
To: Brennenstuhl, Keith (MAG)
Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 4:58 PM
Subject: Fw: Human rights Application ----------  Susan McPherson v. ----------

Dear Mr Brennenstuhl,

Tell me this: how am I supposed to respond to the lies and distortions of truth he tells in his Response, that he isn't required to show evidence for? Am I just supposed to tell my "interpretation" in my Reply? Am I allowed only to add new facts if I can back them up with evidence? What is this - a game of he says, she shows evidence of? And if he says more than what she has evidence of, he wins?

You would have to convince me that anything could possibly be accomplished through mediation in this situation before I would agree to it. So far, the doctor hasn't admitted to any wrongdoing or poor judgement in my attempts to have this resolved, here or elsewhere, so I just don't see how mediation can help.

When I looked it up online, briefly, I saw that mediation was useful in cases where, for instance, a young person had committed a minor crime against a homeowner, and once found guilty, legally, the process of mediation could begin. That, and cases where married couples are divorcing, and I imagine, for the sake of the children, mediation is offered in order to ease the path for future tolerance of their situation, in which due to the children, their paths might well cross occasionally. Neither of those scenarios fit this one. The doctor has not admitted to anything, and in fact is blaming me for behaviour that he has invented, or must be imagining (and wishing to hold me accountable for), such as shouting at him and his staff.

We have no mutual interests that would require our paths to cross again, since my health and well-being is obviously not one of his, and he appears to have no desire to educate himself in matters of ageing, ageism, and discrimination on the grounds of gender and family status, from the looks of things.

I can see how for the doctor to choose mediation would act in his favour, as he can only benefit from presenting himself as willing and cooperative, for starters, and then, not having admitted to any of the things he has done, he has an advantage right from the start. It could only lead to me having to defend myself against accusations he makes (which he has already started to do) for which he doesn't have to present evidence, as he is a doctor, and I am only an older woman living alone without family beside me to grant me credibility.

No, mediation isn't going to work, unless something really changes in a hurry; for instance, the doctor admits to lying about me and being disrespectful, and to distorting incidents that happened and trivializing my concerns, and agrees to attend courses and programs that hopefully would contribute to making him a better doctor to people in similar circumstances as me.

Sue McPherson

----- Original Message -----
From: Brennenstuhl, Keith (MAG)
To: s.a.mcpherson@sympatico.ca
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 12:05 PM
Subject: Human rights Application ------------- Susan McPherson v. ----------

Ms. McPherson,

In reviewing this file I note from the Response that the respondent has agreed to try mediation to resolve your Application. In your Application, you have not indicated a willingness to try mediation. Mediation is one of the ways the Tribunal tries to resolve disputes and it is highly recommended by the Tribunal. It is a less formal process than a hearing. If mediation does not settle all the issues between the parties, a hearing will take place at a later date. Mediation can only happen if both parties agree to it. Please let me know by return email if you are willing to try mediation. Thank-you.

Keith Brennenstuhl

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

16 July 2015

Doctors and the CPSO - women growing older

According to the latest letter I have received from the CPSO, my case is now going under review, to see if they think it is worth taking to the committee or will be dismissed.  I have written many letters to them over the last year, responding to questions and letters from them with details about the doctor  - my family doctor, that I laid the complaint about.

Usually, when patients lay a complaint, it is because something of great magnitude has happened – a loved one has died while in their care, or there has been sexual abuse, or outrageous acts of unprofessional or negligent behaviour. I didn’t see my experience as any of those, at least not until the last official appointment with that family doctor, in April, a year ago.

Before then, I had approached a local organization, the London and District Academy of Medicine, LDAM, to help resolve problems I had had with the doctor in question, who had been my family doctor for about a year and a half. I had thought that, as a doctor opening a new practice, that it was stressful and needed time to adjust to, and so thought his attitude and ways of communicating, as well as organizational methods, etc, would improve over time. However, as time went on, I came to realize he wasn’t improving. In fact, his attitude and ways of conducting his practice were getting worse. Moreover, it was obvious he didn’t want me as a patient, in fact, he asked me to find a new doctor, something I was reluctant to do due to the difficulty in finding one in the first place. Surely, a doctor should be able to do his job, treating patients that come to him, without having personal biases interfere.

Recently, I have come to think that he was treating me as a walk-in patient, not as one of his registered patients. Having to go to his office every three months to have prescriptions renewed, by hand, not on the form, at the risk of errors being made, was just one example of that. Although the pharmacy provided a form that had the items on it to be checked off, he required me come in so he could do it by hand, which itself resulted in the occasional mistake and further consultations with the pharmacy, and another trip to the doctor to sort it out.

There came to be an accumulation of instances by him of unprofessionalism, including lack of attention to the details of making referrals, discussing reports, prescribing medications, demeaning comments, trivializing my health concerns and in general, offering a lack of quality time in assessing what treatment I needed - five minutes or so, but not enough. At the end of the my time with the doctor as his patient, however, I felt I had been subjected to more than what I should have had to put up with, and in a manner that was more than disrespectful. It was an attack on me as a human being - as a woman, an older person, and as a single person living in a separate city from other family members.

It was as though he had no time for me. And sometimes, it seemed as though some things that happened that were harmful to my health and sense of wellbeing were done on purpose. Possibly what happened to me was not any worse than how many long-term Canadian doctors are towards their ageing patients, at least the ones they see as being a burden on the system.

It was a year ago that I laid the complaint against my previous family doctor. CPSO stands for College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. For the most part the CPSO seems to be an organization for the benefit of the doctors, so having one’s complaint dealt with in a serious manner is no easy matter. I wrote on my blog almost a year ago about my first encounter with the ‘investigator’ at CPSO. See ‘CPSO complaints against Ontario doctors’. More recently, not having much faith left that the second assigned CPSO investigator was addressing my concerns objectively, and having come to see what happened in terms of discrimination and not only as bullying, abuse and lack of attention to the administrative aspects of his practice I decided to open a case of discrimination against the doctor with the Human Rights Commission of Ontario. See on my blog, ‘Health care among single, older women – a case of discrimination for OHRT’.

A while back I also founded a discussion list on Yahoo - Ageism in Canada's health care system. Anyone wishing to join would be welcome, to discuss issues of concern, whether for the young-old at home, or in hospital, or the old-old, in long term care homes.

The subject of health care among those growing older is so wide I decided to start with my own experience in this blog piece and see where it leads. Twenty-five years ago I studied ageing while at Western University (was UWO), and wrote several essays and research papers as well as conducting interviews with older people – mainly of close to retirement age, about their experiences and thoughts on the subject. Several of these are on my website – the Diversity in Retirement website.

I started my first website with a research essay about my grandmother, Gertrude McPherson, which also was about aging, actually about the life cycle and how women (she was born in 1882) were able to contribute to society and achieve fulfilment over the course of their lives. And of course, for many, that meant marrying and having children. Along the way she became a missionary (in Hong Kong), an artist and art teacher, was married and raised three daughters, and wrote a book, The Grey Cottage, hence the title of my new photo essay, adapted from the original 2001 edition, Gertrude McPherson and the Grey Cottage.

My interest in aging and life cycle development started while at Western University, where I went many years after graduating from high school in Woodstock, Ontario. Taking courses on sex and gender, and aging and the life cycle in Sociology, while I was going through my own midlife changes put me on the path I would take, researching these areas of study and more. No career came of it, though I started the websites and have continued to do research.

List of resources

Ageism in Canada's health care system
Yahoo discussion group
founded by Sue McPherson
Feb 25, 2015

Baby boomers, longevity, and health care
Sue’s Views on the News
April 9, 2012

CPSO complaints against Ontario doctors
Sue’s Views on the News
July 30, 2014

Diversity in Retirement website
Sue McPherson
since 2004

Gertrude McPherson and the Grey Cottage
photo essay by Sue McPherson
adapted 2015 from 2001 essay

Healthcare: Technology is a bigger cost driver than demography
By Julia Belluz
February 10, 2012

Health care among single, older women – a case of discrimination for OHRT
Sue’s Views on the News
April 12, 2015

12 April 2015

Health care among single, older women – a case of discrimination for OHRT

Added April 23, 2015: transcript of excerpt of audio recording of Dr’s appointment April 28, 2014.

This week, on April 10, I submitted an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (OHRT), alleging discrimination by my family doctor on the grounds of sex; family and marital status; and age.  The general area of discrimination I filed it under was ‘Goods, Services and Facilities,’ specifically, ‘Medical/health services’.

I had already tried to resolve the matter, or various aspects of it, through LDAM, the London and District Academy of Medicine, with no success, then filed a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), in June, 2014. I have received very little feedback on that, except that it is still in progress, I am told. While the CPSO complaint is directed largely towards a lack of professionalism in general in the behaviour, attitude, and practices of the doctor, the application for the HRT is about specific incidents and situations that reflect discriminatory attitudes as well as practices that discriminate on grounds covered by the Code.

The CPSO form was quite vague in the way it asks for information, and even though I included headings under which I thought the behaviour or attitudes would fall, the first investigator immediately changed it to what she saw as the problem. Having the “investigator” be the one who decides what will be told to the Committee is hardly reassuring. While they may claim to be unbiased, even the fact they claim to be suggests they aren’t. If a person cannot acknowledge normal human frailties, but think they are superhuman in their ability to be objective, how can we have faith in their decisions?  I especially did not like the CPSO’s decision to file my complaint under the heading “Communication and termination” as it seemed to minimize what happened, and to clinically sanitize, as it were, what was really going on – the biases the doctor held and the actual incidents of bullying, harassment, and unprofessional behaviour.

I decided to go forward with the application with the Human Rights Tribunal, based on grounds covered by the Human Rights Code. What this means is that, in this case, I have stated in the application that my HRT complaint is on the grounds of sex (meaning male or female); family and marital status; and age. I have focused on two incidents only (and their ramifications), and gone into greater detail on these two incidents than I did in the original CPSO complaint. One incident was an ultrasound test I was sent for, which not only created much discomfort and risk but seemed to be altogether unnecessary. The other event was an appointment with the doctor which turned into a scenario of outright hostility and the outrageous and uncalled for demand that I submit to a urine test for what he called “street drugs” (see excerpt of transcript of audio recording of April 25, 2014 appointment).

The human rights tribunal application is a more structured form than the CPSO complaints form, although perhaps it also makes a difference that over this last year my thoughts on this period in my life have become clearer, in terms of their significance, so I am better able to express them, and more concisely.

Below are the headings for my responses to the questions on the two incidents and for their effect on me, and why I believe it was discrimination, for the Human Rights Tribunal. To read, follow the links to the pages. The information is the same as what appears in the application itself, though I have not disclosed the name of the doctor who is the subject of the complaint.

The two events are described in terms of what, who, when and where. Following that is an explanation of the effect it had on me.

1. Pelvic renal ultrasound incident   and Effect on me of Pelvic renal ultrasound incident

2. Urine sample, “street drugs” and termination
    Effect on me of Urine sample, “street drugs” and termination

The last part directly addresses the matter of discrimination, and why I believe I was discriminated against.  For this part, the starting point is the type of discrimination. And the three types of discrimination are 1. sex,  2.family and marital status, and 3. age. For each of these, I explained why I believed I was discriminated against, eg., starting with ‘sex,’ I told how I was discriminated against on the basis of being female. For ‘family and marital status’ my focus was on not having family close by, nor a husband, and how that can affect quality of health care.  And finally, age, the one factor that seems to have everyone concerned about the burden older people are presumably putting on the health care system – or some of us, at least.

These are the three areas I wrote about, on the HRT application, explaining why I believe I was discriminated against:

3. Discrimination on the grounds of sex
    Pelvic renal ultrasound test
    Urine sample, “street drugs,” and termination

4.  Discrimination on the grounds of family and marital status
     Pelvic renal ultrasound incident
     Urine sample, “street drugs,” and termination

5.  Discrimination on the grounds of age
     Pelvic renal ultrasound incident
     Urine sample, “street drugs,” and termination

There were other questions asked on the application form. See links following for my responses:

6. Remedy I am asking for

7. Why the other proceeding (LDAM) could not deal with my complaint

8. Other important information the tribunal should know

9. Practices and policies complained about

In my responses, I have quoted from other sources, though I had virtually no advice on how to go about this HRT process and am not sure I did this the way they wanted me to. I can only hope it will be taken seriously. It certainly was serious for me.  Regardless of what happens, I want it to be known that this is what I experienced. Whether it was a unique kind of situation, or one that others have experienced, I do not know, although I do know that discrimination on the grounds of sex, as well as on the grounds of family and marital status, and age, exists in various ways within the healthcare system.

List of References used in the application form questions on discrimination for the HRTO

Ageism: Concepts and Theories, Law Commission of Ontario, 2009. Retr Jan 20, 2015

Code Definitions (I), Code Protections for Relationships (III), POLICY AND GUIDELINES ON DISCRIMINATION BECAUSE OF FAMILY STATUS, OHRC. March 28,  2007. Retr March 22, 2015.  http://www.ohrc.on.ca

Collaborating with Patients and Others,  Duties: To the Patient. Principles of Practice and Duties of Physicians. CPSO Policies and Publications. Retrieved March 26, 2015.

Defining Discrimination Based on Family Status, OHRC Policies etc on family status. Retr Jan 25, 2015 http://www.ohrc.on.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Policy_and_guidelines_on_discrimination_because_of_family_status.pdf

Ending the Physician Patient Relationship, CPSO Policies and Publications, Sept 2008.
Retrieved March 26, 2015.

Incontinence: The Canadian Perspective, Cameron Institute, Canadian Continence Foundation, Dec 2014. Retr Mar 25/15.

‘Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code’, Policy Number:#5-08.  Policy Category: Practice, Publication Date: December 2008, Introduction. Retrieved Feb 22, 2015.

‘Principles of Practice and Duties of Physicians,’ Policies and Publications, CPSO website. Retr March 24, 2015. http://www.cpso.on.ca/Policies-Publications/The-Practice-Guide-Medical-Professionalism-and-Col/Principles-of-Practice-and-Duties-of-Physicians

30 July 2014

CPSO complaints against Ontario doctors

See additional info added Friday, Aug 8 & Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014; one paragraph revised Aug 18, 2014; minor revisions throughout and update Sept 2, 2014, paragraph added Sept 3, 2014).

Today, in the newspaper - July 30, 2014 - the suggestion was made that complaints about Ontario doctors be made public (see Make all complaints about Ontario doctors public). Trial lawyers aren’t the only ones in favour of this potential exposé of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, an organization supposedly meant to protect the province of Ontario’s public and not only its physicians. Commenters on the article in the Star had the opportunity to express their views, if only for a few hours, before the comments section was closed to further comments. Those comments still remain, for anyone interested. It is one aspect of the health machine on which proponents of an improved health system have not yet been able to give their views, in only due to the secrecy involved in dealing with complaints by the public.

As chance would have it, today was also the first call I received from someone from CPSO in response to the complaint I submitted a month ago. I’m not sure, from our brief chat, however, that my complaint is being taken seriously. She started off speaking in such a shrill voice that I thought she must be new to the job, and a bit nervous.  She also spoke too loudly for me to hear her without holding the telephone receiver a few inches away, and even then, her voice was muffled and unclear. Combined with that were various interruptions, from being cut off for a few seconds to scratchy background noises, as indicated in these excerpts from the CPSO's rep's ten minute phone call , combined in one MP3 - 3 minutes long - and playable on various media.  It's difficult to get across how it felt to receive this phone call from this supposed investigator, who seems to be so unprepared and unprofessional (Paragraph revised Aug 18, 2014).

I eventually asked the CPSO contact to call back, after she had sorted out the problem with the new system she said she was using. When I inquired, she said she had been doing this job for 7 years, though it seems to me she was quite disorganized and had not even made herself familiar with the letter of complaint I sent to her.  She didn’t act like a person who was representing the CPSO and dealing with an official complaint. She sounded more like a receptionist - a particular receptionist with the same habit.  I’m not sure what kind of way that is some women have, of speaking three octaves higher than what’s normal. Is it done intentionally, or just a bad habit, I wonder.

The girl from CPSO, said she had dealt with this kind of case before and I asked what kind of case, exactly, and she responded “communication” and “termination.”  To me, the kind of case it was and the kind of treatment I received while under the doctor’s care was more of an abuse problem than one of his inability to communicate well.  And it was not so much that he decided to “terminate” me than the way he did it. Apparently, doctors can get rid of a patient, if they have good reason, and if they contact the CPSO and inform them, and provide reasons. That’s not how it happened in this case. I don’t consider myself a difficult person, and especially under such circumstances where my health depends on the good will of the doctor, I am not going to make life difficult for him. I always think a person deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The girl informed me about the process of an investigation, which involves her collecting information from me, then writing up her own "unbiased" report, and sending it to the committee of doctors and other members of society who would examine the case and rule on it. She said to me that she had sent to the doctor a copy of the letter of complaint that I had submitted to the College but had not yet requested a response from him. Instead, she was calling me and asking me about what was already in the letter of complaint, that she appears not to have read too thoroughly. She wondered what was most important, what I would like to see happen from this, and I could only respond with several important issues, as I saw it, not just one or two.

As far as this girl who called from the CPSO to deal with my case, I have already given her the benefit of the doubt, and there is little doubt left. And that goes for the doctor, too. I had already tried to have this situation resolved through the London & District Academy of Medicine, in a letter presented at their board meeting, with no response at all from them, except to find a new doctor. I presented them in writing with what at first was a minor issue but which soon evolved into something more serious. And yet these issues were not dealt with at all in the written response I received, nor in the telephone conversation I had with the President.

While many readers from the discussion on the article in the newspaper agree that it would be a good idea to make cases public, there can be no agreement how that would happen. If the CPSO is left to make them public, there needs to be a standardized complaints form for the main issues that are the basis of the complaint, or to describe what the problems were. As it is right now, when I attempted to complete the form, I found that the issues I listed as concerns – "manipulative, hostile, and bullying tactics," "rushed decision-making, irrelevant treatments and tests," and "unprofessional, lack of attention to maintaining records" did not match up precisely with the details I wrote about in the letter of complaint. The girl from the CPSO seems to have picked out a couple of items with the intent of focusing on them, apparently, when I speak with her next, after she has sorted out her new telephone system. So instead of seeing the entire time I spent with the doctor as a pattern of abuse, she appears to want to simplify it into a couple of specific problems. The form itself, as it stands, requires a list of behaviours, or areas of concern. She has taken those that I listed and changed them into two areas of concern – or two issues – "communication" and "termination." But that doesn’t cover it. It doesn’t make sense.

To be continued

Added Friday, Aug 8, 2014

I could speak at length about this, as there are so many things about not only the doctor himself but now, the person assigned to look into what happened, not to mention the complaints form itself.

The CPSO girl and myself spoke again the day after, on July 31. Her telephone was still not working as it should, her voice coming across loud and unclear at times. I found it difficult to talk to her and answer her questions as, like the doctor himself, she seemed to be missing the point or unable to understand, or chose to go off on a tangent – or perhaps use information retrospectively, to try to explain something that had not yet happened.

She did ask, at one point, did I still want him as my doctor, an indication that she did not comprehend one main aspect of my complaint, that the doctor quit, and did so suddenly, without a closing-out period to wind up, which is not the way the CPSO directs their physicians to “terminate” (her words) a patient.

Up to that point, when the doctor became exceptionally hostile and mean, I was still thinking that we might be able to work things out. But it is as though one must not bring shortcomings to some doctors’ attention, but simply put up with it, which I did for over a year, in this case.

So, she asked me if I still wanted him as a Dr and I said no.  But the doctor did make accusations against me, in a letter to me. And was I expected to be happy about the idea of this man still being my doctor, after receiving this letter?  What did she think, that I would want to still have him as my doctor, or was she going to use this statement of mine to imply in the formal report that I was going to quit the doctor anyway?

The CPSO girl also asked me whether the doctor had sent the final closing-out letter by registered mail. But that information was also available in the material I had sent to her. Perhaps there was too much to read through, or was she going to try to find a trivial matter to lay on the doctor, as an explanation for my insistence that he did not follow policy.

As it stands, the doctor made accusations against me, and according to CPSO policy, if he does that he is supposed to back them up. Although I did make an attempt to find a new doctor after he sent the letter to me, I did not succeed, and soon decided that I should not be the one to quit, as I did previously with a former doctor who had written nasty, untruthful comments about me in a letter of termination.

Doctors can do this – become unlikeable, thus an encouragement to the patient to leave the practice. I realize because of my research and writings, and somewhat controversial views, that some individuals and groups in society might not appreciate what I have to offer. So if being unkind doesn’t work, the doctor can then resort to harsher methods, such as blaming it on the patient in writing, after which, normally, I imagine, the patient would become only too willing to seek another doctor and try to put the past behind her. I know I did, the first time. And I now I suspect, from a comment made by the President of the London & District Academy of Medicine, that my past did come back to haunt me (via the letter written by the first doctor) and was being used against me in this new scenario with the doctor under complaint.

Thus, despite encouragement by walk-in clinics, where I have had to go for treatment and prescriptions, I have not continued to seek a new doctor. I have had a doctor make false accusations against me. If I let them go, they will stand as truth. So I am obliged to speak out. What’s more, it is entirely possible that the CPSO girl has misunderstood to such an extent that the real issues won’t even get looked into, possibly no farther than his not using registered mail to send his final letter to me.

How it stands at this time, after a second talk on July 31, with the same girl, she is going to contact the doctor and have him respond to some of the issues we have discussed, and I have a feeling they are not going to be the ones I asked about in my letter of complaint.                                                                                              

Update Tuesday August 12, 2014

Today I sent a letter to the Registrar, CPSO, explaining that the person assigned to my case was distorting what I said to her on the phone, ignoring what I had written in my letter of complaint, and generally, appeared to be either completely on the side of the doctor in question or just enjoying her position of power as mediator/troublemaker in this case.  I stated in my letter to the Registrar (dated Aug 11, 2014) that I would like to have someone else take over, that I will not speak with her again; I also requested a copy of the letter she informed me she had sent (the second letter) to the doctor I made the complaint about. But now, to return to the main problem . . .

This is about the doctor and letting him know what I hope to accomplish by making this official complaint. There was no space on the form to state what I hoped would come from it. If the girl had read what I wrote originally, however, she would see that it was implied in the details I gave. I would like to have my reputation restored, that was harmed by his harsh attitude towards me on April 28, 2014, at his office.  I need to have another doctor, and trying to obtain one while having unexplained problems with a previous doctor makes it more difficult. Of course, a patient with chronic medical issues, and with no apparent connection with the community, might be seen as not worth taking on. For these reasons I need to have the doctor take responsibility for his behaviour towards me, which was uncalled for.

So to make it clear, contrary to what the girl has assumed in her letter dated Aug 1, I am not seeking a new doctor. I have not derostered myself in order to be able to take on a new doctor. The doctor has made accusations against me in a letter to me, part of the method of termination of a patient. But he needs to stand by those claims, and not simply allow his claims about me to drop by having me deroster myself.  I did not deserve to be treated the way I was at the end, nor from the start, as it happens. Why the doctor did so, and what other people – other girls in the secretarial pool said to him I don’t know. I just want this done with so I can find a doctor to look after my health concerns as I grow older.

Update Tuesday, Sept 2, 2014

On Aug 29, 2014, I sent a letter to the CPSO - to Sandy McCulloch, the Director, and Associate Registrar, Investigations and Resolutions.

The letter was a followup to the letter I wrote about two weeks ago, on Aug 11, to The Registrar, from whom I never did hear back – though I did get a response to the letter from the girl investigator. I have decided not to post here the letters she  - the girl - has sent me as they would only draw the readers away from the complaint I made, which is probably her intention.

I am trying to get her taken off my case and someone put on it who hopefully would treat my complaint with sensitivity instead of making a joke of it and taking the doctor’s side.

Added Sept 3, 2014)
One main point in all this is that the doctor terminated me as his patient, with no follow up of current medical issues, and made accusations against me in the letter he sent to me. And yet it appears that I am expected to deroster myself formally so that I am able to register with another doctor instead of having to attend walk-in clinics and see whoever is available. But if I deroster myself with the Ministry of Health, then he is off the hook and doesn't have to explain his questionable comments about me. And it is these remarks and accusations by him that I would like the CPSO to investigate so that they can be shown for what they are  - as distortions and untruths (paragraph added Sept 3, 2014).

Reference List

Hospitals and doctors must make openness a top priority: Editorial  (added Aug 8, 2014)
The Star
Jul 29 2014
Make all complaints about Ontario doctors public: trial lawyers
By: Theresa Boyle
The Star, Health
Wed Jul 30 2014

Should cautions issued to health professionals be publicly reported?   (added Aug 8, 2014)
by Jeremy Petch & Mike Tierney
Healthy Debate.ca
Feb 7, 2013

19 January 2014

London City Council: controversies relevant to the 2014 election

Added Feb 15, 2014: Background information and Letter to the Editor re article and comments on vandalism in London depicting male genitals and a swastika.

Added Jan 22, 2014: An additional controversy over a workshop to encourage female candidates to run as councillors. Due to the Comments’ section having been deleted from the web page online, see article and comments as saved on my website: ‘Outgoing Ward 5 Coun. Joni Baechler will be joined by other former and current female politicians in running a workshop to encourage London women to run in the upcoming municipal election,’ by Carl Hnatyshyn, Jan 21, 2014). It’s disillusioning when comments on such a controversial issue are excluded from the London Free Press online, where readers might get a chance to see what others in the community think about it.


Following are a selection of articles, including comments’ sections if available - even though incomplete - providing a sample of the issues affecting Londoners. Now that an election is drawing closer for the election on Oct 27, 2014, of London's Mayor, Ward Councillors and School Board Trustees, how some of the scandals and other problems within London, Ontario, have been handled might be of interest.

Key words are included with each of the articles and Letters to the Editor listed in the reference list below. For some of those articles and Letters, an additional link is provided, to my website, which will include a more complete list of comments than the comments in the official version.

For the most part, the articles and Letters sections I have selected are ones I contributed comments to, in a local London newspaper, which offers a place for discussion of relevant issues, or at least it did, for me, even though a good number of my comments were being deleted by moderators.  If my perspectives weren’t welcome, that is unfortunate, but that doesn’t seem to me to be a good enough reason for them to be deleted in such quantities as they were, and eventually, in my not being able to have submissions approved. In a city such as London – a university city - where a diversity of viewpoints should be expected, I am disappointed that mine were not considered acceptable in that rather biased environment. I am not the only person to run into the problem of overzealous moderation, of having comments removed for no reason, though not everyone who complains about it had good reason to; rather, they might be using that tactic to suggest that they have no personal advantage in that forum.

I have gathered the articles from the London Free Press (LFP) online, from which I am now banned from expressing online where other residents and outsiders are offered the freedom to do so, in a forum that, except for me, could be considered informative and vibrant. One purpose is to provide interested readers a variety of viewpoints on these issues, including my own. Another is to have my views reinserted into the sections from where they have been removed, as much as possible, and to have them available to readers, who might otherwise only be getting to read the ‘acceptable’ views on some of these issues.

Since my research interests include gender and sexuality and class divisions, I tend to focus on these when the subjects appear in the news, not just to advertise my blog, as I am so often accused of, but to attempt to get other views across, and not simply the traditional views, or the increasingly sexualized views that so many people have in today’s world.

Prostitution is now a national issue, with the impact of legalizing brothels holding the possibility of a changed London. It might be a subject some don’t want to discuss, but fortunately, it has been, to some extent, mentioned within the pages of the LFP. Keeping in mind that tactics to silence me and distort what I say are not uncommon, I include pieces on the subject of prostitution as well as related pieces on things sexual (see on my website, Letters to the Editor, Dec 24, 2013, Dec 23, 2013; and Letters to Editor, Dec 30, 2013, Dec 29, 2013). See also on a CBC news video what a former sex worker in London, Ontario, has to say about the changes in the law: ‘Former Sex Worker Opposes Legal Brothels' (video, by Wei Chen, June 14, 2013.
The issue of an image of Katy Perry on the side of a London bus by London City Transit (LCT) is one that was controversial but quickly dealt with and cast aside. It brings to mind another incident some time ago, in which London MP Irene Mathyssen objected to what she perceived to be an incident of sexism during a parliamentary session and ended up apologizing for mentioning it. I wrote about this on my blog, the only piece mentioned on this page that is not from the LFP. See ‘Public displays of private matters - Irene Mathyssen and James Moore, by Sue McPherson, Dec 7, 2007).

More on Kate Perry, Sandy White, and the N-word is on pages 19-21 in Comments section on my website in ‘London city councillor Matt Brown running for mayor in 2014 municipal election,’ by Patrick Maloney, Jan 10, 2014 .

The class divide includes issues of wealth and poverty, as well as the idea of class based on education and/or occupation. Both of these types of divisions come into play in some of the articles and comments. For discussions, see my saved versions of comments on ‘London city councillor Matt Brown running for mayor in 2014 municipal election,’ by Patrick Maloney, Jan 10, 2014; and ‘Dysfunctional, erratic, even “a bit of a disaster,' by Chip Martin, Jan 3, 2014.

Term limits for councillors was a topic of discussion in one Letters to the Editor section, comments I had made being deleted for no apparent reason. The series of 3 comments is as follows, including a response that remains in the LFP version and my comments which was deleted.

********** S McP to J A (comment deleted)
If a previous councillor were encouraged to become a mentor to newcomers to local politics, it wouldn't be a matter of simply tossing them out, as you put it. The experience they gain in politics can be applied to other occupations, if they chose to, or after one or two terms out of office they might well go into it again.
We have already covered this in the other article's comments section, but here goes again. Just as many of the unemployed become exasperated at the request for 'experienced candidates only' restriction, so it must be in politics when people want to try but there is no encouragement. If there were permitted, no doubt it would be soon enough that they also came to be seen as "proven" and the "best." That's why all who can, who have something to offer, should have the chance, instead of the same ones over and over again counting on voters' loyalty to their name, or complacency when it comes to spending time on this important democratic process.

P E to S McP
“If a previous councillor were encouraged to become a mentor to newcomers to local politics”
You might want to rethink that idea, and before you do, just consider one name, Orser.

*********  S McP to P E (comment deleted)
I said "if".

End of selection of 3 comments, one of which is in Letters to Editor, Jan 7, 2014 (Jan 6, 2014).

It seemed like a good idea – not a unique one, by any means, but not deserving of the putdown by the other commenter. For anyone considering the idea of mentoring, whether formally, through a program, or informally, the idea is to match up mentor and protégé, and not even to think that everyone was capable of being a good mentor or would want to be. And yet, it was my comments that got left out of the LFP version.

Regarding Nazi symbols in London, what was most important, it seems, was whether the person creating them was wealthy or not, in other words, the economic class of the perpetrator, which would enable one to be privately open about their interests, the other, doing so publically, in public. See ‘Vandal defaces downtown London business with swastikas,’ by Dale Carruthers, Nov 16, 2013; also see ‘Martin Weiche kept Hitler's memory alive by styling his London estate after the Fuehrer’s Bavarian retreat,’ by Jane Sims, Jan 10, 2014.


added Feb 15, 2014

The article about vandalism focused mainly on the Nazi symbol – the swastika – though there had been another image drawn on the window – male genitals, mentioned briefly in the article but not at all in the comments. Eventually, I noticed the reference to the other offending image, and was in the middle of writing a comment about it to post online when Comments were close, just 24 hours after the article had been posted. Instead, I submitted it as a Letter to the Editor, mentioning the omission of the other image from the title, and deleted from the window before the police arrived, and ignored in the discussion in the writeup. I received a notice saying the LFP had received my submission, but it was not published in the Letters to the Editor section. This is the Letter.

Letter: Re 'Vandal defaces downtown London business with swastikas' , Nov 16 by Dale Carruthers.

"If the swastika offended the owner because it was so close to Remembrance Day, why didn't the depiction of male genitals offend him as much, seeing as it is so close to the Dec 6 commemoration of violence against women.

Even though we know that male genitals have a good side to them, they do also symbolize the harm that is done to women through rape. And many more women suffer rape and sexual violence, surely, than Jews did what happened to them at the hand of Nazis. So why is it this symbol of Nazi oppression and death continues to haunt the world. Why will they (Jewish people, mainly) never let what happened slip farther down in their consciousness! Why is this always a reason to bring it up again, and again!
Rhetorical questions.

The kids will learn about the Nazis in school, though each generation will use the swastika symbol to shock. And they will continue to use the symbol of the penis to shock, although it seems that in today's world most people don't object to that " (Sue McPherson). End of Letter to Editor.

As with the Kate Perry images on the side of the city’s buses, some images are deemed acceptable to show and to discuss, and some not.


Another question for council is why money has been granted for a study into how to help sex workers when two local women – a physician and a police officer - are already working on the front lines, doing what they can (In Person: Dr. Anne Bodkin works with Sgt. Lorna Bruce to help those in dangerous, unhealthy street-level trade, by Randy Richmond, Sept 29, 2013; Intention to get women off the streets, by Randy Richmond, Jan 13, 2014. Obviously, the two are connected – the practical side of it and the research. But since the two women had already started working with sex workers, why was no mention made in the more recent article of how they view their efforts over the last three months. In contradiction to the thoughts of Megan Walker, I would think that focusing on ending prostitution isn’t really a reasonable possibility. Read also, Letters to the Editor: Dec. 30, 2013, Dec 29, 2013).

Language itself is a subject worthy of note here, as it is often used in such forums in ways that are deceitful and controlling. Specific examples can be viewed in Comments’ sections, for instance, about the use of the words ‘academic’ and ‘profession, and variations of them.

The use of the term ‘academic’ became an issue in the comments section of ‘London city councillor Matt Brown running for mayor in 2014 municipal election, by Patrick Maloney,’ Jan10, 2014). On pages 24-25 in my copy of the article and comments, now saved onto my website ( http://samcpherson.homestead.com/files/Miscellaneous/2014_Jan_LondonCityMattBrownForMayor.doc ), I have restored the comments that I made during the discussion of the word ‘academic.’ The word was being used incorrectly, although resistance was great to accepting my viewpoint on that.

Worse are intentional uses of language in ways that distort another’s words.
See this, in my comment, “What will there be to indicate to boys and girls that sex is special, that it isn't something you go around having just for fun, with this person or that, or to get the job you want” (on my website: Comments, LFP Letters to Editor, Dec 24, 2013 (Dec 23, 2013). My url

The response, by P E, begins with a quote from that sentence: "that it isn't something you go around having just for fun," distorting what I said. Worse, my comment isn’t on the LFP website article and Comments’ section. Only P E’s response, taking part of the sentence out of context, leaving a completely inaccurate perception of the original sentence. It’s not hard to do that, and people who do aren’t demonstrating any sense of comprehension for what was said, only trickery, or duplicity in their responses.

Another example of useless internet interaction was during a discussion on poppies – in colours red and white (Letters to the editor Nov 8, 2013, Nov 7, 2013). Sometimes it seems as though a commenter may just be waiting until the other person makes a mistake, when he can then pounce on the offending party with everything he’s got. It’s another example of taking a phrase out of context, without considering anything else the commenter has said, but using the mistake as an opportunity to present basic knowledge on the issue, while belittling the other commenter for his or her apparent lack of  knowledge.

It is frustrating dealing with people who have an agenda that seems to be based more on winning, rather than discussion for the purpose of greater understanding or thinking of solutions. It’s even more frustrating to try to have a discussion when the intentions of others may not be that, but in fact may be to suppress information or certain commenters.

It leaves the moderators in a difficult position, as they cannot read every comment for its meaning, or if they do, cannot be expected to get it right every time. So they end up taking sides, against commenters themselves, sometimes, or against the world views of the commenters, and not simply against individual comments.

Other notable incidents in London’s recent history include the city hall being lit up in purple (Now a whole month of demonization of men over violence, by Herman Goodden, Nov 15, 2013), and an announcement of a partial list of recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals (And the winners are . . .  , Oct 30, 2013).

This has not been a complete summary of scandals and problems London has faced over the year, but a selection based on my own interests, including that of flaws in the comments system that leaves it biased and susceptible to corruption by certain individuals whose agenda may not be the good of the city of London.

If readers discover errors in citing sources, for instance, kindly let me know, and I would prefer that you do not attempt to use one or even two mistakes as evidence that my writing and ways of thinking do not have merit. If the mistakes of any commenter go on and on, and the games go on and on, then it might be time to consider what their purpose is, on the discussion forums of the London Free Press.

List of Articles and Letters to the Editor

Outgoing Ward 5 Coun. Joni Baechler will be joined by other former and current female politicians in running a workshop to encourage London women to run in the upcoming municipal election.
By Carl Hnatyshyn, Special to QMI Agency
London Free Peress
Jan 21, 2014
View article plus comments on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

Taxpayers paid almost $100,000 for lawyers to represent city councillors in the Billy T's probe
[questionable activities of mayor and councillors]
By Patrick Maloney
The London Free Press
Jan 16, 2014

Letters to the editor: Jan. 14, 2014
[fresh faces on council, submission and dominance, moderation of comments]
London Free Press
Jan 13, 2014
View on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

Intention to get women off the streets
[prostitution, city-funded study]
By Randy Richmond
The London Free Press
Jan 13, 2014

Martin Weiche kept Hitler's memory alive by styling his London estate after the Fuehrer’s Bavarian retreat
[gender, Nazi symbol, class]
By Jane Sims
The London Free Press
Jan 10, 2014

Macartney: "There are likely no perfect answers, and arguments from both sides are worthy of more discussion.”
[term limits for city council, municipal election]
By Gerry Macartney, Special to QMI Agency
Jan 10, 2014

London city councillor Matt Brown running for mayor in 2014 municipal election
[municipal election, choosing a candidate, Kate Perry, Sandy White and the N-word; class divide]
By Patrick Maloney
The London Free Press
Jan 10, 2014
View on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

No economic ‘downturn’ for London Mayor Joe Fontana
[budget, police and fire depts]
By Patrick Maloney
The London Free Press
Jan 9, 2014

Letters to the editor: Jan. 7, 2014
[city council, mentorship]
Free Press readers
Jan 6, 2014

Dysfunctional, erratic, even 'a bit of a disaster': Critics see blood in the water for incumbents mounting London mayoral or city council runs this year
[council, criminal charges, group of eight, class divide, performing arts centre, gender, masculinity]
By Chip Martin
The London Free Press
Jan 3, 2014
View on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 30, 2013  
[mailboxes, prostitution, sex ]
Free Press Readers
Dec 29, 2013
View on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 24, 2013
[prostitution, sex]
Free Press Readers
Dec 23, 2013
View on S.A.McPherson website. To access using google chrome, download when prompted to appropriate place on your computer, save, and click open at bottom left-hand corner of page.

Letter to the Editor
[vandalism, swastika symbol, masculinity symbol]
By Sue McPherson
to London Free Press
Nov 17, 2013 12:05 pm

Vandal defaces downtown London business with swastikas
[Nazi symbols, class, masculinity]
By Dale Carruthers
The London Free Press
Nov 16, 2013

Now a whole month of demonization of men over violence
[feminism, city hall lit purple]
By Herman Goodden, Special to QMI Agency
Nov 15, 2013

Letters to the editor Nov 8, 2013
[poppies,  Remembrance Day]
London Free Press
Nov 7, 2013

And the winners are . . .
[Queen’s diamond jubilee medals, city council, partial list]
London Free Press
Oct 30, 2013

London council gives pay freeze cold shoulder
[pay increase for city council and mayor?]
By Chip Martin
The London Free Press
Oct 21, 2013

In Person: Dr. Anne Bodkin works with Sgt. Lorna Bruce to help those in dangerous, unhealthy street-level trade
[health, housing, prostitution]
By Randy Richmond
The London Free Press
Sept 29, 2013

Former Sex Worker Opposes Legal Brothels (video)
By Wei Chen, CBC
June 14, 2013

Trashing kate Perry seems odd
[gender; sexism; Katy Perry, Sandy White and the N-word]
By Dan Brown
The London Free Press
Mar 8, 2013

Sandy White demanding apology from fellow London councillor Harold Usher
[Katy Perry, Sandy White and the N-word]
By Chip Martin
The London Free Press
Mar 7, 2013

Public displays of private matters - Irene Mathyssen and James Moore
[politics, sexism, gender]
By Sue McPherson
Sue’s Views on the News
Dec 7, 2007

2 November 2013

No Fault Car Insurance - how it works in a real-life incident

Revised Nov 14, 2013; Updated Dec 6, 2013 (minor changes in wording Dec 7).

Just over a month ago I was involved in a collision, here in London. I say I was “involved,” but what I really mean is that I was sitting in my parked car minding my own business when another vehicle rammed into mine. The driver of the jeep was very gracious, admitting fault, taking pictures, exchanging information with me, and advising me to go to the Police Reporting Centre to report the collision. He wasn’t interested in taking down my name at first, until I suggested that he did. After all, wouldn’t his insurance company ask for it? I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but looking back, it was an indication of something, wasn’t it?

Reporting the accident

Within an hour, after having my xray taken (nothing to do with the accident), at the medical building outside which the collision took place, I was on my way to report the accident. Pictures of the car were taken, and I had a couple of forms to fill out as well as write out a statement telling what happened. I returned home, reported the accident to my insurance company and dealt with that over the next week or so. The car was fixed, the insurance paid for it, and that was that. I was a bit concerned that my insurance rates would go up, especially because I still had nothing in writing that said the accident was not my fault. I was assured that with no-fault insurance, it was my insurance company that would pay for the damages, although I could not get anything specific from them in writing at that early stage, within a few days of the accident. The adjuster assured me I was not considered to be at fault, and that the deductible would be waived, but when I requested something in writing, I received a cryptic letter in response, confirming nothing and in fact, implying that I might be at fault. See the letter on my website: Notwithstanding, I decided to let the matter go, as it seemed pointless to pursue the matter further with him.

Insurance company – 'fault'

A few days later I received another letter – a form – from my insurance company, informing me that a claim had been made “on my policy” and asking me to fill out the form and return the letter to them if no such loss had occurred.  This was intended to reduce fraud, and so naturally I returned the completed form, informing them that, as far as I knew, the accident had not been my fault and so there should not have been a claim “on my policy”. At the same time, I was now seriously contemplating the idea that the claim actually had been put through my collision coverage, resulting in a deductible that I ordinarily would have had to pay, but for some reason, according to my claims adjuster, had been waived.

A few weeks later, on Oct 30, my claims adjuster called, to make sure everything was fine with the service – getting the car fixed, etc. By that time I had thought that the incident was long over and everything was back to normal so I responded briefly, and that was that. 

Police investigation

Then, out of the blue, the following day, on Oct 31, I received a phone call, from an officer in the Traffic Unit of the London Police Service. To my surprise, the police officer informed me that he was conducting an investigation into the collision. It wasn’t only a surprise, it was a shock. Suddenly, everything made sense.  The insurance adjuster had been withholding something from me. I suspected that he must have known the situation was not resolved when he wrote the letter to me in that cryptic manner.

Apparently, the driver of the other vehicle, that had hit mine, had not reported his involvement in the accident to the Police Report Station. I recall there being some inconsistencies in the interaction with the driver, but that was 6 weeks ago now. It hadn’t seemed important at the time but now I wondered. 

So now, 5 weeks later, a Traffic Unit officer was investigating the incident.  I had not stopped to find witnesses to the event, although several people came in and out of the medical centre while we were standing there, the jeep’s bumper jammed into the wheel well of my front passenger side. There was a CCTV camera on the Pharmacy wall, and windows all across the various stores and offices. And he had no doubt been in one of those place himself. No other stores were easily accessible from the parking lot.

Police Reporting Centre

I want to mention the experience I had within the Reporting Centre, as I felt my case was not dealt with as expertly as one might expect. Mainly, I realized that the writing of my statement was being taken over by the gal whose job it was to gather all my information. To begin with, I was going to write that I had just come from the swimming pool, parked the car, and was brushing my damp hair before going into the building. She suggested I not write in such detail (added Nov 12). She had more experience than me, about what was required, so I was agreeable in having her direct me in the writing of it, until she made a slip, and  continued to describe what happened in a way I wouldn’t have myself. 

One was just an error, I’m sure, when she was saying what to write and she referred to the jeep as a pickup, obviously because, in showing her how the accident occurred, she used tiny toy cars to demonstrate, one being a pickup. A second glitch was her attempt to describe the scene when the two vehicles became tangled together. She used the word ‘attached’ as in “the two vehicles were attached”. I decided to write down that his vehicle’s bumper became jammed into the wheel well of my car as he backed out, which seemed to be more descriptive and more accurate than using the ‘no-fault’ description she had suggested. 

Not in my report, but relevant, is that the other driver's wrap-around bumper and possibly the wheel are what caused the damage. The jeep’s bumper was quite large, protruding farther than ordinary ones. It, or the bumper cover, ended up with a football-sized dent in the front of it, and what other damage there was I don't know. See http://www.carid.com/2013-jeep-wrangler-bumpers/  (added Dec 7).

Diagram from PRC self-report. The triangles
on each vehicle indicate the front end.

The space on the page was too small to contain everything I would have liked to say, and no additional page seemed to be available. When it came to the end of the space, that was it. I do want to emphasize this because I am sure I am not the first person who could have written a more explanatory statement had I been given more space, and the officer from the Traffic Unit seemed to think more information would have been advisable. Before leaving, I was given a copy of part of the form the two of us had completed, but not of the statement I had made, so when the police constable commented on it I was unable to respond properly, except to say that the girl behind the desk had encouraged me to write it a particular way.

I was naïve, for sure, in believing that the man whose jeep hit my car was genuine in his concern for my predicament, leaving me in a situation which could just mean my rates would be increased as well as my reputation damaged. I have no proof that the incident happened the way I said, and 6 weeks after the fact, who in that medical centre would remember anything that could help?  Would the bodyshop I took the car to have saved any paint chips from the parts of my car they replaced? And then, why did the Police Department wait so long to investigate?

Was the officer serious when he said, Could I identify the driver of the jeep from a lineup? Does he realize I know his name and he knows mine? His vehicle is worth 20 or 30 times as much as mine.  Yes, I could identify him if I saw him in a lineup. And could probably identify his voice too. Just have him repeat a few words – like Oh darn! Darn it! What a darn thing to have happen!

I agree. At first I had felt sorry for the man. To do such a thing would make a person angry at what they’d done. And his was such a nice new vehicle. And why was it that the girls in the x-ray department, where I went afterwards, whispered and acted as though this was a situation that might lead to something, providing the results to my test to me within a day instead of two weeks later, as is usually the case?

No fault insurance

Of course, when I started talking to the adjuster, I began to feel more concern for myself.  Having done all that I could to keep my old car in shape and running, I was now in a situation where my car might be considered a write-off, due to the black book prices. That resolved, the next surprise came when I discovered the investigation wasn’t complete, which to me explained the carefully worded letter from the adjuster when I requested confirmation that I was not at fault.  I was annoyed at the insurance adjuster for withholding from me the fact that the driver didn’t bother to have a Police Report filled out, or pics of the big round dent in his front driver’s side bumper taken, or to explain how he had damaged my car. I had assumed everything was finished with, but I had been wrong. Later, I was told that there might be little exchange of knowledge and facts between the police and the insurance company, each having their own situation to work out.

I am sure I still don’t know all the ins and outs of no-fault insurance, but I have learned quite a bit from going through this. I have been reassured by the insurance company that the problem of wording in communications between us has been resolved, and I am considered by them to be not at fault, and that something will be put in the mail to that effect.

The entire situation was handled by the insurance – my insurance – as though it didn't made a difference who was at fault. But the other half of this is the police investigation. So when I say the entire situation was handled by the insurance, that may not be entirely correct. If there’s a glitch, as, for example, the other driver does not report it, then it’s not altogether over.

Implications of not reporting the accident

It looks as though the driver of the other vehicle might only be charged with not reporting the accident, if that. I’m sure it wouldn’t take someone like him to realize within a minute or so that the damage done to my vehicle could be less than $1000 worth – considering the car itself is worth less than that. He could always claim that, and  no doubt the police officer would agree that he could hardly have thought otherwise.

So after a month of thinking the situation was resolved, now I discover no real investigation was done – no one questioned, no attempt to find a witness, and no responsibility taken by the driver of the jeep that rammed my car in the parking lot.

I'm just wondering . . . if I had been the one that hit the other car, would it have left the kind of damage that my car received? And wouldn't my car have had to move sideways to inflict that kind of damage onto its bumper? I hope this doesn't become a situation where I have to show I couldn't have been responsible for the damage.

What happens, under our legal system, if the driver of the jeep pleads not guilty to leaving the scene, for whatever reason. If he goes to court over this, and there is not enough evidence to convict him, who will take responsibility for the accident?

Additional notes – added Dec 6

Court case – failing to report

The police constable, calling me 6 weeks less a day after the day the collision occurred, had commented on the lack of detail in my official hand-written statement that I had provided at the Police Reporting Centre.  When he called I did not have a copy of it to refer to as I had not been given one at the PRC so a few days later I did go to the Police Station to pick up one, as well as try to find out more about the possibility of getting this matter sorted out properly. As it stands, it’s likely to be me left holding the bag. I have learned that the case is going before the judge, that the driver has been charged with failing to report an accident to the Police Reporting Centre.  I wouldn’t like to see the man charged with the offence being the only one allowed to speak. And I would appreciate the opportunity of explaining more about the incident.

I have, since then, in fact today, been back to both the Police Reporting Centre and the Police Station, to draw their attention to errors. The first error, if that’s what it was, was made by me when I filled out the accident report form at the PRC. I was still under the impression, at that moment, that the other driver had been cooperating with me and would be along shortly, and admit to being at fault. So when he had informed me, while I was checking out his driver’s licence at the scene, that the address on it was not his current address, I took his word for it, crossing it out and referring to his ownership details for his address. And it was this address that I gave as “his address” when asked at the PRC. There was no space for two addresses, as drivers are supposed to have only one official address, so it was a non issue, as far as filling out the form was concerned. The clerk helping me also took for granted that if the driver had said that first address was an old one, then it must have been.

Also, a minor adjustment was needed of the diagram of the vehicles on the constable’s report, as it didn’t depict accurately the position of the two vehicles when one hit the other. The drawing he made of the incident was not the same as the drawing on my report of the accident, made at the PRC.  So, that I did, using a marker for emphasis, changing on the sketch the direction the jeep was headed as it backed out - not this way but that way. So this would be new information for the court when he appears.

I decided to set the matter straight at the PRC, and report the other driver’s original address as it appeared on his driver’s licence. From there I went to the Police Station, to leave for the constable in charge of the incident a copy of his report, with the correction/addition of the additional address, in case he was having difficulty locating the man, and the change in the sketch of the cars on the official police report.


Does it make any difference whether he is named as the one responsible? Yes, I think so, otherwise it is simply me left with no explanation of how the damage to my car occurred. There are two parts to this. One is the  initial settlement of the claim by the insurance company, which in this case, resulted in my being declared fault-free. But if the other driver gets off, then, under our adversarial legal system, it leaves the situation as having no one at fault. If he declares he wasn’t there at all that day, at the parking lot in the medical centre, is anyone going to investigate the truth of that?  Would the various health departments in the medical centre be checked to see if he had filled a prescription that day, or had an xray or blood test, or visited a doctor there?  It wouldn’t be that hard to check, though it has to be someone with the proper authority to do so, to ask questions about the person by that name.

Handwritten statement

One further issue is the lack of space for writing details about the accident. By now, my handwritten statement would have been typed up, ready for the judge, who  might not realize there had not been enough room on the form to write down all that I would have liked to.

On measuring the space allowed for my statement (after correcting for the resized version I received a copy of) I found it came out to just over 9 square inches, which for ease of understanding I will reshape into a space 4.5 “ wide x 2 “ high, the size of a business card plus an extra inch in width. To visualize it more clearly, take a business card, put it on a piece of paper and use it to draw a rectangle. Then add one inch to the width, to 4.5 “. If I type out my statement, it takes up just under 4 lines, Times New Roman font, size 12, on a standard letter-size page.  If you have never seen this Self Reporting Collision Report form before, that is the amount of space you would have to write the details of an accident.

This form is called a Self Reporting Collision Report. It is intended that the person reporting the accident provide some of the information to the clerk, who fills in some of the blanks, while other parts of the form are to be completed by the person him or herself. The handwritten statement is also to be completed by that same person. That might be difficult for someone doing it for the first time, not knowing what was required and what not to bother stating, if it seemed obvious.

I would advise anyone faced with writing the statement out to make sure it reads as it happened, and that the facts are included, regardless of whether there is a proper space to put them. If you assume that the person who hit your vehicle will do the right thing and take responsibility, you may find out otherwise. In these days of identity theft, one never knows, but if the driver locates the required documentation with no problem, even though the address may not be current on one of them, plus the fact he was coming out of a medical centre which places a focus on his reason to legitimately be there, one could expect that he was who he said he was. 

Why I am writing about this incident 

There are websites devoted to enabling violators of traffic laws to avoid being penalized for their misdeeds.  But what is there to help the persons involved who become ‘collateral damage’?  My hope is that readers of my story can learn from it and thus take precautions if they are involved in a collision, to achieve the proper outcome.

I am not writing this to intentionally cause problems for the other driver, but to draw attention to my side of the story, including the implications of having damage done to my car while no person is seen to be legally “at fault,”despite my naming the person responsible for the incident outside the public medical building and collecting his details, as required. If I have done everything I needed to, as required, I should be able to feel satisfied that justice will be done. 

On another level . . . . 

The legal system is based on the idea of opposites, as are most ways of thinking in society. There is a winner and a loser, unless one can get mediation and find a middle ground.  However, in my life, justice has usually been one-sided. One person is left being made responsible for the incident, while the other walks away. Usually, this depends on which one has the most power – the wider social network, the most potential in life, the ability to get others on his/her side. So sometimes truth is not the issue at all. As with other legal cases that I have written about on my blog, outcomes may not always seem fair, even if it seems obvious to most people what the result should be, and despite legitimate exceptions.

In some ways, the legal system works against people, making them oppose one another in court, instead of considering alternative solutions that suit both parties. I don’t want to be left thinking to myself, We are left with no one taking responsibility for this incident, despite the fact I saw him do it and he knows he did it. If he gets off would it be because someone didn’t do their job properly, and they don’t care about that? 

14 April 2013

Anne Kneale and Bill Mates: age, gender, and sexual exploitation

Summary: added June 7, 2013, revised June 10 and 12, and Aug 7, 2013:

Anne Kneale was traumatized, and felt used by someone she thought was a friend. She wanted to protect her sister, whom Bill Mates had approached 3 years or so after the sexual encounter in Africa. The trouble was, in this era of 'hook-up culture,' that Mates might not have known she hadn't liked it, because she never said otherwise. She never told him, not even when he approached her sister to have lunch. Even then, she didn't tell him to lay off her sister, nor did she warn her sister. Under the guidance of her therapist she went to the police. By this time, if not before, she would have realized that Mates had broken some rule of conduct if not the law itself by having sex with her before age 18, as someone who, officially, was in a position of authority over her while on the trip to Africa. But the meaning and significance of their sexual encounter would have been something apart from that, something beyond the law - not above it, but outside it. Sex has a tendency to do that to some women, even when it's by mutual consent, leaving them with feelings they may not understand. Society has led women to feel guilt, or emotional attachment, or sometimes powerless to the point of being submissive.

In this case, the idea of it being considered mutually consensual sex was not possible under the law, since he was the one who had been granted authority to make decisions, and who had the material power to make things happen. If Anne was reluctant to question his authority when it came to having sex, we don’t know. If she feared him - or whether she trusted his judgement - we don’t know. If she felt powerless to resist, we don’t know. Was she afraid of the very real power he held over her, to write good references, to recommend her for the kind of educational opportunities she wanted?  Would she have received them from him if she had rejected him sexually?

If it was his power over her that was the reason she stayed silent when he pressured her into having sex, then the cut-off line of age 18 is simply an arbitrary point imposed by the legal system. It can happen at any age, and does, between anyone who has power over the other, or access to hard-to-get resources. Bosses, doctors, film producers and husbands have all been known to use their power to get what they want. Would it have helped Anne if she had taken an assertiveness training course before going to Africa as a ‘high-achieving’ teen? Did it help me at midlife to learn how to say ‘no’ to those powerful men and the women who supported them? See the story of my life.

The fact Mates was many years older than Anne is something that probably leaves some people saying to themselves “Wow.”  He was 52, she was almost 18, but not quite. Such relationships do happen in our society, but usually, people might say, they happen when the young woman chooses to have one. But if they are doing so in order to gain something they need – money, a career, or a hike in social status, is it a real choice? On the other hand, aren’t there also situations in which a younger woman can truly fall in love with a much older man, especially in society today where there are so many more diverse kinds of relationships? Anne and Bill were close. But the sex they had may not have reflected that closeness for her – a bad experience that got worse the longer she thought about it and the more she listened to others.
[Added June 12]

At university, under the influence of feminism, Anne would have learned that she shouldn't have had to feel the way she had, and that if she did feel emotionally unsettled it was because someone did something to her to make her feel that way, because she had been 'sexually exploited.' When she told her therapist about Mates approaching her sister, the therapist suggested she contact the police to lay the charge of 'sexual exploitation' against him. It would be unlikely that anyone would ask her what she could have done differently. For feminists, that would be the same as 'blaming' her. Instead, recognition of Anne's 'rights' would be the focus, but not any responsibility on her part for what happened. Anne would have heard the feminist viewpoint on all this, which is that she can wear anything, or say anything, and it was still her right not just 'not to be raped' but also 'not to be seen as wanting sex,' even if in his eyes that's how she came across, as agreeable to sex. How he felt or what he thought wouldn't have been her responsibility, according to feminism. She was innocent, her sexual power completely ignored in all of this; her reputation would remain intact. Under the law, he was guilty, and that's what matters in our society.

The case was adjourned to June 20, 2013 on May 10, 2013, in London, Ontario. Case adjourned to Aug 7, 2013.

On Aug 7, 2013, Bill Mates received a one-year sentence (William Mates sentenced to one year for sexual exploitation, by Brent Boles, Aug 7, 2013).


Added May 22, 2013 – paragraphs in sections ‘Feminism,’ ‘Beyond
                                       the Law,’ and ‘Conclusion.’
Added May 19, 2013 – 2 adjustments in ‘Justice and Trust’ and ‘Betrayal’.
See also, response to comment:
Added Apr 25, 2013 – additional article. See end of Conclusions.

This story of questionable consent comes out of Ingersoll, Ontario. The situation started several years ago, the accused, Bill Mates, now being 59 years of age, the complainant, 23. In July, 2007, when the sexual incident took place, she was 17, a month short of her 18th birthday, while he would have been about 52 years of age. The result of this error in judgement was a charge against an older, more experienced man, Bill Mates, of sexual exploitation of the young woman. Not rape, not sexual assault. He was charged with sexual exploitation, and convicted of the crime.

The age difference was one factor that resulted in this being called ‘exploitation.’ In this case, the girl was in the care of Bill Mates, one of sixteen young people that he and two other adults took to Africa as part of a Duke of Edinburgh awards program for high-achieving youth (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013).  An older man having sexual intercourse with a teenage girl simply isn’t appropriate, there being a difference in sexual experience and knowing how to respond to them, and sometimes, at least in the past, girls may have been raised to see an older man as a figure of authority – a father figure – a ‘patriarch,’ and more inclined to submit to his judgement (for more, see ‘Child sexual exploitation and the age of consent by Katherine Covell, Sept 6, 2007. See alternate link in list of references).

If a man is older, and practiced in his ways of seduction, of catching a girl off-guard, can she be expected to be able to counteract that, to fight back verbally or physically, or say no to his advances? And if the man is in charge of her well-being while she is on a trip like that, would she want to risk saying no, or even to run away, taking even further risk? But as for the betrayal aspect of this, it’s part of what all girls learn while growing up.

Becoming a woman

Many women grow up having sexualized encounters (not necessarily sexual intercourse) with the opposite sex. Growing into the teen years, even the babyboomers – rumoured to be repressed or prudish – could not have been without sexual curiosity, for both genders. Isn’t this part of how girls learn how to become women? So says Simone de Beauvoir (see Felicity Joseph’s ‘Becoming A Woman: Simone de Beauvoir on Female Embodiment,’ 2008). Contary to what people might think, girls do have to learn how to be women. They aren’t born knowing how. In today’s world, there are increasingly more laws, and social norms, about how and when that can start to happen.

Women can recover their lives, following such an incident that came about unexpectedly, even though the experience may influence their choices in the future, and their ability to trust. I am thinking of Anne Kneale, age 23 and now in med school after having experienced a betrayal of trust. In the case of the teenage foster daughter of Howard Smith, however, it seems the journey has been especially difficult. Now 50, she has been though ordeals related to the abuse all her life. Thirty years later, however, even though her tormenter received only house arrest and probation, she has finally received validation of her experience (Sometimes judges just don’t get how to handle child sexual assaults, by Christie Blatchford, Apr 5, 2013).

In the Second Sex, writes Felicity Joseph, “Here de Beauvoir raises the core question of female embodiment: Are the supposed disadvantages of the female body actual disadvantages which exist objectively in all societies, or are they merely judged to be disadvantages by our society? (Becoming A Woman: Simone de Beauvoir on Female Embodiment, by Felicity Joseph, 2008).

Bill Mates wanted Anne Kneale’s body, even though he was in a position of trust over her and should have known better. But was the incident so terrible that she saw him as a “poisonous influence?” (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013). Was the emotional pain that Ms Kneale felt caused by him doing what he did, or more by the way she thought about it afterwards, and later on, at university, when she heard about her ‘rights’ as a woman?

In the piece about de Beauvoir, sexual exploitation or assault are not mentioned specifically, though Felicity Joseph does say this, about sexual intercourse:

"Ultimately, is it the biological penetration itself which causes the distress, or is it the culturally-engineered ignorance of young women? Joseph writes that de Beauvoir thinks the biological facts need not be traumatic: the distress is due to a lack of generosity in the man ’s sexual behaviour, combined with the woman’s fear of being objectified before an aggressive sexual gaze" (Becoming A Woman: Simone de Beauvoir on Female Embodiment, by Felicity Joseph, 2008).

This may not apply to the situation of the young Anne Kneale, whose distress was mainly through the betrayal rather than the sex itself, as I understand it. But betrayal is something most women have to learn to deal with, one way or another. One doesn’t have to be far away in Africa to be afraid to speak up in such a situation.


Justice can be served, even if years after the fact. But in another way, after time has moved on, it seems that passing judgement on a person and the crime they committed is one thing and punishing that person is another. Christie Blatchford would like to see a harsher sentence than house arrest for sexual incidents committed many years earlier by Howard Smith against his 15 year old foster daughter, another situation involving a man in a position of trust (Sometimes judges just don’t get how to handle child sexual assaults, by Christie Blatchford, Apr 5, 2013). That case was about sexual assault not sexual exploitation, but I question the need to punish someone, using a law-based schedule of sentencing, who might not even be the same person that far down the road. Then it really does become a matter of an eye for an eye, revenge rather than justice, this much farther on. What would justice look like, in such cases, or is it that people just don’t change?

What I see here is a young woman who has gained some credibility in her life through being a medical student at Western University, and who is being heard when she tells about what happened to her. Meanwhile, other young women who run into the same kind of behaviour may not ever have the opportunity to speak out, and if they do, may not be listened to. I realize we are supposed to look at this as well-deserved justice for Anne Kneale, and a step forward for women, but it seems to me it will end up in men being ever more careful in the future who they attempt to have sex with.

A girl with no strong family network, such as the foster daughter of Howard Smith, will still be vulnerable, as will girls who don’t end up in med school but for unknown reasons aren’t seen as credible or worth bothering about. Kneale appears to be doing all woman a favour but I wonder about that. As stated in a recent newspaper,

“Kneale decided to reveal her identity ‘out of concern that there may be other victims and out of concern with the predatory way that Bill acted.’ … ‘I wanted to it all to come out – for him to be seen for who he was,’ she said” (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, By Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013).

Once in a while a man is caught and punished, in part as a warning to others, but the question is, Is Bill Mates is still the same kind of person that he was. Sometimes, after a man has thought about it, he might see that he made a mistake even though he was never caught and punished. Or did he hold the belief, and still does, that men have the right to pursue sex wherever they can get it and they won’t get punished. Did he think he could get away with it or did he not even think? Especially after several years have passed, in the case of Bill Mates, one has to wonder what kind of punishment, or justice, would be appropriate.

This case only came to the attention of the police in 2010, three years after it happened (Sexual exploitation charge: Accused led youth trip, by Heather Rivers, July 4, 2011). Mr Mates had already lost his job over the incident by the time the police got into the picture, after his girlfriend reported it to his employer when he told her at the time (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013).

Added May 19, 2013 – the job Mates lost at the time was the one with the Duke of Edinburgh awards program (Ingersoll Didn't Fire Mates over Charge, 104.7 Heart FM, Mar 2013).

  The event that brought this to mind again for Anne Kneale was that her sister was about to meet up with Mr Mates, at his request. The age of this sister wasn’t mentioned, or if it was her older sister, the one already in the program with Mates, before she joined up (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013). Incidents such as this are likely to bring up past memories, and if the sister planning to meet Bill Mates was legally still a child, then there was every reason to report the 2007 incident that occurred with Anne Kneale. But the age of the sister was not given in the articles I read.

Age and age difference

The age difference, between Mates and Anne Kneale, and also between Howard Smith and his foster daughter, is one of the main issues, and not just the age of the young women at the time of the incidents. Otherwise, it would be the kind of situation that any young woman could find herself in, while growing up. There is an age at which such relationships are seen as legal, if not altogether socially acceptable, and neither of these cases seem to fall within the category of ‘legal.’ That age is 18, according to this brief extract about Canada’s laws – 153. Sexual exploitation, YourLaws.ca. Thus Anne Kneale was still under that age limit and not to be approached sexually by men outside her age range. The unnamed foster daughter in the other case was only 15 (see ‘Sometimes judges just don’t get how to handle child sexual assaults,’ by Christie Blatchford, Apr 5, 2013).

Since I am unfamiliar with changes in the laws and other organizations’ take on them, I have to assume the information at ‘153. Sexual exploitation, YourLaws.ca’is fairly recent, but is not covered within the same laws under ‘Child’s Rights Approach’ on the CCRC website, which mentions the legal age for sex and the allowed age difference (see Child sexual exploitation and the age of consent, by Katherine Covell, Sept 6, 2007. See alternate link in list of resources).

Trust and betrayal

Although age and the age difference are important factors in the case of Anne Kneale and Bill Mates, the third factor in the case of sexual exploitation laid against him is the fiduciary nature of the relationship, one of trust between a young charge and her mentor, especially considering that she was in a foreign country, in his charge, when the incident happened.

The fact that Ms Kneale felt betrayed is not so out of the ordinary, even considering that the man accused of the act was in a position of trust. In everyday life, women encounter men – or women – in whom they put their trust, such as academic supervisors or professors, and colleagues or bosses, not to mention medical professionals and husbands. But it must have been because of her age, the age difference, and the mentoring relationship, that it was determined that she had been ‘sexually exploited,’ under the law.

As I understand it, some of the laws that take into consideration age, age difference and relationships of trust formed with vulnerable people have been introduced because of changing attitudes towards disabled people, girls drawn into internet relationships, and increased awareness of trafficking of girls and women.

Added May 19, 2013: the law against sexual exploitation in relationships of trust came into existence in 1998 (Parliament of Canada Bill C-22, by Robin MacKay, Feb 21, 2007).

Even though Ms Kneale was considered to have been ‘sexually exploited’ under the law, I can’t help think that she doesn’t appear to have been, in the way we usually think of it. If she hadn’t liked Bill Mates, hadn’t enjoyed his company and sharing secrets, and his attention, she might have been able to let him know sooner that she wasn’t interested sexually, and might have been able to ward off any serious attempts by him to have sex. This kind of predatory behaviour isn’t out of character for a man, even for one who is in a position of trust – or older. She was under his care in a foreign country; however, she was with someone with whom she had developed a friendly relationship. He had no right to do what he did, but if such a friendly casualness between a charge and her mentor had not been permitted to continue, would it have been as likely to become sexualized?

Ms Kneale spoke of Mr Mates decision to plead guilty, once it all came to light and he was charged with sexual exploitation. The article states that he “owned up to the pain he caused” as though he knew he had caused her pain and cared. Kneale herself thought that he probably didn’t mean it but said that as it was the best course of action rather than plead not guilty. Had he done that, he would have appeared as being unwilling to take responsibility for his actions. In my experience, people who have done me harm sometimes do express regret for their actions, usually not publically, and usually not saying specifically what went wrong, but for the most part I haven’t seen that translate to making things right, in ways that would make a positive difference.

The article states, “ ‘Up until now,’ she said, ‘he had shown no regard for my state of mind’.” (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013). But on the other hand, she hasn’t shown any regard for his state of mind.

I am wondering what qualities a ‘high achiever’ for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program is expected to have. On the website, it states that “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded by His Royal Highness The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, to encourage personal development and community involvement for young people” (Philosophy and Operational Principles, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website, 2013).

It’s not difficult to see that one of the mentors in charge of the month-long trip abroad was lacking in personal integrity, but should all the responsibility be placed on this one man, or were there decisions made prior to the trip that could have avoided this kind of trouble. Are the young people provided with the information they needed, and did they have the character traits that would enable them to handle difficult situations. We’re not talking about a disabled person here, or a vulnerable girl being sold into slavery. We’re talking about a teenage girl travelling to a foreign country on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award program, having a good time with her supervisor. It went too far, and it looks as if someone had to be blamed, even though mistakes were made throughout the process.

Miscommunication and exploitation – sending the wrong signals

Women can often feel close to a man, as a friend or mentor, only to have him see the friendship as something else – guided by his hormones, his psyche, and by social conditioning. A criminal justice website from Scotland explains under the heading Sexual Offences how they understand the concept of consent:

"This approach to consent presumes that there is a generally agreed understanding of when someone is consenting to sex and when they are not. However, the Commission points out that men and women tend to adopt different perspectives of sexual interaction. For example, what for a woman is simply friendly behaviour can be interpreted by men as sexual flirtation. Additionally, failing to provide a definition of consent can allow an accused to exploit the vagueness and uncertainty this creates by persuading a jury that, although the complainer at trial says she did not consent, her behaviour at the time, for example being drunk or wearing revealing clothing, suggested otherwise. This can appeal to inappropriate social perspectives of the victim and the victim's role in the offence (4), drawing attention away from the conduct of the accused" (Making Sense of Rape and Other Sexual Offences, by Fiona Southward, Apr 26, 2006).

The problem in this case of Bill Mates and Anne Kneale was that she was underage, and with a much older man who was supposed to have her best interests at heart, while in a foreign country. Due to her youthfulness and inexperience, I think, she was viewed as having been exploited by the older man. But isn’t this only part of the story?

Men can be exploited too, as sex can sometimes be a bargaining chip for women. Sometimes, when a girl has sex with a man, she may be unaware that she benefits from that, for being the kind of woman that men approve of. While young, women participate in sex as a normal human activity, one could say – and in so doing, perpetuate the values and customs of society, and the promise of a next generation. Only in saying ‘no’ might they come to see the value of sex in society. If all women who had unwanted or coerced sex saw themselves as exploited the world would seem a dangerous place indeed.

I know what it’s like to be involved in sexualized incidents, and sometimes with boys/men I would then encounter in my daily life. On occasion, I tried to tell about the incidents but was silenced, and then usually blamed. But we learn to live with it. It isn’t always retribution that women want, perhaps just to have some understanding, or to have the person out of our life, depending on the circumstances. After a while, even getting understanding might not be an aim. I don’t see that retribution is always the answer, either. Men are hardwired, depending on personal characteristics, to seek sex. To me, trying to understand why they did what they did has been something that I can do, and I can write about. I write about such situations from both perspectives. But that’s what people do – find meaning in the bad things that happen.

I don’t know how good young women are at putting to use the word ‘no’ when interpersonal social relationships become sexualized. I was able to extricate myself from unwanted sexual encounters. But sometimes it seemed as though I was punished for doing so. I wonder whether having sex first and then laying a complaint only much later, if at all, is how some students are able to move forward in their lives and careers. Not having sex, a tactic feminist activists promote for those who don’t want to, seems to me to be a self-defeating practice and attitude to have. It doesn’t lead to one being ‘liked’, which I am told is how a university might do their hiring. For more on this, see my life story, revised this year, 2013, from being a summary of my life to an in-depth narrative including some sociohistorical analysis (Story of my life, by Sue McPherson, 2013).

Saying ‘no’ to sex is an area of interpersonal relationships or intimacy that is fraught with misunderstandings and hurt feelings on both sides. It seems to me it is fairly normal for some men with power (the prof, the boss), to seek sexual relations with like-minded women. In those situations, sending the wrong signals can have disastrous results. The fact that women are not like men, certainly not like-minded or the same hormonally when it comes to sex, sometimes seems to escape them – both men and women. It seems there were clues that problems might be looming, as mentioned in this article about the case, as follows:

“Once, Mates told her she “looked like a Bond girl” when he saw her walking out of the ocean wearing a bikini. He said he was “horny” and that it was difficult to be away from home” (Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom, by Jane Sims, Mar 19, 2013).

Looking back, I’m sure she could see the signs now, but at the time, it must not have occurred to her what was coming. I’m not placing blame on the young woman. But this is how men act, even men with girls young enough to be their daughters. It doesn’t make it right what he did, but it is an explanation for how it might have come about (Maybe He’s a Narcissistic Jerk, by Richard Friedman, Jan 15, 2008).

Testosterone and midlife change

The naturalness of male hormones is not an acceptable legal defence, though I don’t see why hormonally driven behavior (upheld by social conditioning) can’t be seen as an explanation for men’s behaviour, even if not a legal one. The previous popularity of women using PMS as a legal defense has waned, as it was thought that attributing women’s mood swings to their menstrual cycle was not supported by the evidence, according to Dr Sarah Romans (PMS and the Wandering Womb, by James Hamblin, Oct 16, 2012). Besides that, it is a political issue for feminists, however, as the connection between women’s reproductive system and their ability to function well is seen as harmful for women’s advancement in the workplace. So although in the 80s it was seen as possibly a useful defence for the future, that may not be a possiblity for the future (Legal implications of premenstrual syndrome: a Canadian perspective, by E. Meehan, K. MacRae, Sept 15, 1986).

The difference between men’s hormones and women’s is that women are sometimes said to have negative moods or “low moods” that are associated with pre-menstrual syndrome, not the kind of feelings most men have, surely, on a day-to-day basis, and not considered to be ‘negative’. Perhaps the same kind of “low moods” – angry or upset - that some girls are said to experience pre-menstrually are similar to those some men have when they go beyond the usual persuasive attempts to get someone to have sex with them. Thus, women’s disfunctional hormones, when used as a defence (see Oddly legal defences, by Amber Hildebrandt, June 22, 2009) weren’t on the same level as men’s which are considered normal unless the man is overly aggressive or there were other circumstances. By nature, men seek out sexual partners, not to rape, or to abuse, but to have sex with.

In this way, I would conclude that men’s hormonal swings are not the same as women’s and cannot be compared and seen to be the same as women’s. But can they be seen as a defence? I think that depends on the incident, and any history of similar incidents in the man’s life, as well as the circumstances in which it happens.

I would think that, rather than ignore the normal hormonal effects on sexual behaviour or the unusual effects on the behaviour or moods of women, in the effort to maintain the illusion of sameness, that examining how hormones affect each gender would make using both malfunctioning and normal hormones as a legal defence a possibility. And yet, if something is ‘normal’ and not seen as pathological, it isn’t seen as a possible reason for committing an act that goes against society’s laws. It’s as though we are supposed to pretend our society is a natural phenomenon and not that it has been socially constructed and requires people to obey rules and laws that go against human nature.

If a man were going through a midlife crisis, questioning his purpose here in this world as he grows older, at the same time possibly noticing physical changes affecting his sense of his own masculinity, might that be seen as motive for unreasonable behaviour or seeking a change in life? (The Male Midlife Crisis, by Harold Cohen, 2007). The same could be said of women going through menopause, though some of their concerns would no doubt be very different (Menopause and Aging Femininity, by Sue McPherson, 2003). Men seek out sex – for fun, as a means for stress relief, or as a response to a crisis of masculinity or midlife aging, or perhaps a questioning of the very meaning of their own life up to this point. Add to that male hormones.


Feminists have been known to ask for nothing less than zero tolerance when it comes to men’s bad behaviour. But considering the circumstances of some cases, one has to question whether this is reasonable.

A recent feminist concern has been whether women should be able to wear whatever they like, whenever they like. They claim that it doesn’t matter what a girl or woman wears, that a man should not take that as an invitation. If a woman is wearing sexy clothing, it doesn’t mean that she is trying to look sexy for him, or for anybody. Women are to be looked at and appreciated, not stared at or coerced into having sex.

Regardless of what feminists write about sexual assault or exploitation, about the need for women to learn how to say ‘no,’ the fact is that saying ‘no,’ or walking away doesn’t have the same impact on a judge or a reading public as actually having unwanted sex and then complaining about it.

It is usually those who submit unwillingly, or who have obviously suffered violence, who are seen as having undergone trauma or been victimized, while the woman who manages to escape an unwanted sexual situation isn’t as likely to be seen as being victimized, even though it may result in loss of career or wreak emotional havoc. This phenomenon is due to situations that are physically violent or sexual or larger than life being easier to visualize and having a greater impact on the reader than the impact left by hearing about a psychological or emotional threat.

Attributing some aspects of male behaviour to hormones, namely, testosterone, wouldn’t be considered a possibility by feminists, probably, due to their efforts to separate women’s emotional mood swings from anything to do with their reproductive system. Menopause was once seen as a cause for the incarceration of women in mental hospitals, and more recently pms (pre-menstrual syndrome) has been used as a legal defence, though it has fallen out of favour (On Mirror and Gavels: A Chronicle of How Menopause Was Used as a Legal Defense Against Women, by Phyllis T. Bookspan, Maxine Kline, 1999).

Feminists like to talk of ‘rape culture.’ ‘Leading him on’ and getting blamed for it is one 2-dimensional thought that feminists and now women in general are defensive about. Women might say they have been blamed because they ‘led him on,’ though what counts for ‘leading a man on’ might be as little as a smile or being one’s usual self, or to be more impactful, dressing provocatively, or expressing oneself sexually using body language or verbal flirtatiousness. It doesn’t mean that women are to blame for negative consequences such as unwanted sex.  But it could happen that they did lead the man on, not realizing that that’s what they were doing – leading him on to expect sex. And if that happens, if the young woman doesn’t say ‘no,’ then the man might not realize that she didn’t want sex.  

On the other hand, sexuality is more complicated than that. Half a century ago, in a more traditional society, women weren’t encouraged to be as overtly sexual (in clothing, manner) as they are today, another reason being the lack of the Pill, both realistic reasons why casual sex wasn’t as popular then. The Woodstock generation of the sixties had an influence on society, but it surely took a long time to reach people in every small town, instilled with the values of a patriarchal society and its obedient wives and children.

Finding sexual partners might have been more difficult for men, as young women wouldn’t have been as willing as they are in this era of sexual ‘liberation,’ of ‘hookup culture’. Even if we describe this era as one in which women now have the financial independence and freedom to make choices about their sexual partners, the result is the same. This freedom, under the guise of being a woman’s right, without need for responsibility, can be what leads to misunderstandings. 

Added  May 22, 2013

Beyond the law (added May 22, 2013)

In the case of Anne Kneale and Bill Mates, it was several years later that he made arrangements to meet her sister for lunch – a purely innocent activivity taken alone, but one that caused Anne Kneale concern. How do we know that he even realized, at that point of setting up a lunch date, that Anne had not enjoyed their sexual encounter as much as he had. Perhaps he was expecting something similar from another member of her family, but if no one pointed out to him that he was mistaken the first time around, how would he know that his approach was not wanted?

Bill Mates would have realized he had broken a law (no sex with someone age 16 to 18 with whom he was in a relationship of trust & authority), but is that law a good law? In hookup culture, and in a society in which young women often interact with their elders in a mutual fashion, as though they were equals, and not in a way in which one was the ‘authority,’ how unusual was it for two people of two different generations to have a forbidden sexual encounter, and to think only later (separately) about the significance of it.  


When it comes to sex, men and women don’t think alike. If there’s one main aspect of our society that’s going to cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings, it’s sex. All this happens within a setting understood through our traditional ideals from the past, while passing into postmodernity, in which masculinity and femininity are in a state of flux. Many men no longer have the power they once had. But many women do. Sorting out who has the real power and who is getting harmed - who is exploiting who - can be difficult.

The case of Anne Kneale vs Bill Mates informs men, perhaps unintentionally, that they can be caught out at any time – and they’d better watch their step. If they have to pick on anyone, pick on girls without the families and social network – the backing – to fight back. Thus, severe punishment may not be the answer if what one wants is a more compassionate and understanding society.

More thought on the place of hormones in these situations might be helpful, not as a legal defence but so that normal male behaviour isn’t seen as vile as it is often made out to be. Differences matter when it comes to sex between men and women.

It makes it easier, once the young woman Anne Kneale becomes a med student, to allow this case to come to court. She has the credibility, and can be seen to be what her future promised, those few years back, when she travelled abroad with other young people and their mentors. And she has the power to be heard. But I question the ethics of making one person take responsibility for all that happened.

What Bill Mates did was wrong, legally. I happen to think he’s not the only one who made errors of judgment or took a lax attitude towards what should have been a memorable trip abroad for ‘high achievers’.

Laws are continually being made (and sometimes cast out in favour of new ones) because the old ones don’t work any more. As attitudes towards authority change in our society, with social class being the great equalizer, people from different age cohorts, races or nationalities, genders, or occupations, interact as equals.  I don’t imagine that Bill Mates had the kind of authority over Anne Kneale that most father figures would have had 50 years ago, or that a stranger would have had acting as chaperone on that trip. He held the train tickets, and paid for the hotels, but in other ways, he interacted as one of them, not as superior to and aloof from them, and not intentionally as a threat to their well-being. [Added May 22, 2013]

Added Apr 25, 2013 (updated Apr 26)

In a recent discussion following the article about the recent SlutWalk in London, questions concerning consent, rights, and responsibilities were raised (London SlutWalk sees record turnout, by Dave De Vries, Apr 21, 2013). In my last comment there, I submitted URLS for two relevant pieces from my blog that deal with the issues of consent and the exchange of sex for better grades at university.  I would like to draw readers' attention these blog pieces, as they could provide beneficial reading material for young people planning trips abroad where they might find themselves facing possible harm, due to misunderstandings and miscommunication.

The London Slut Walk - The 'S' word should be SEX, not slut April 8, 2011
Sex for grades in universities Jan 22, 2010

Reference List

153. Sexual exploitation
retrieved Apr 11, 2013

Becoming A Woman: Simone de Beauvoir on Female Embodiment
By Felicity Joseph
Philosophy Now

Child sexual exploitation and the age of consent
By Katherine Covell
Sept 7, 2006 [note correction of date of earlier listing of this article here]
Canadian Children's Rights Centre
Retrieved Apr 10, 2013

Former Ingersoll Economic officer Bill Mates pleads guilty to sexual exploitation in London courtroom
By Jane Sims
London Free Press
Mar 19, 2013

Ingersoll Didn't Fire Mates over Charge
104.7 Heart FM
Breaking Local News Archives for March 2013
Posted About Two Months Ago
Retr. May 13 2013

Legal implications of premenstrual syndrome: a Canadian perspective
By E. Meehan, K. MacRae
CMAJ, vol. 135 no. 6
Sept 15, 1986
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1491301/ or
retrieved Apr 10, 2013

London SlutWalk sees record turnout
By Dave De Vries
Metro News – London area
Apr 21, 2013, updated 22nd
http://metronews.ca/news/london/642307/london-slutwalk-sees-record-turnout /

Making Sense of Rape and Other Sexual Offences
By Fiona Southward
Criminal Justice Scotland
Apr 26, 2006
Retrieved Apr 12, 2013

Maybe He’s a Narcissistic Jerk
By Richard A Friedman, M.D.
NY Times
Jan 15, 2008

The Male Midlife Crisis
By Harold Cohen
Psych Central

Menopause and Aging Femininity
By Sue McPherson
S A McPherson website
If using Google or Firefox, save the download, and access to file will appear in lower left-hand corner. Internet Explorer still allows automatic access.

Oddly legal defences
By Amber Hildebrandt
CBC News
June 22, 2009

On Mirror and Gavels: A Chronicle of How Menopause Was Used as a Legal Defense Against Women
By Phyllis T. Bookspan, Maxine Kline
Indiana Law Review Vol 32, No 4, pp 1267 – 1318

Parliament of Canada Bill C-22
Prepared by: Robin MacKay, Law and Government Division
Feb 21, 2007, Revised Aug 2, 2007
Retr May 16, 2013

Philosophy and Operational Principles
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website
retrieved Apr 13, 2013

PMS and the Wandering Womb
By James Hamblin
Atlantic Monthly
Oct 16, 2012

Sexual exploitation charge: Accused led youth trip
By Heather Rivers
Woodstock Sentinel-Review
July 4, 2011

Sometimes judges just don’t get how to handle child sexual assaults
By Christie Blatchford
National Post Full Comment
Apr 5, 2013

Story of my life (revised)
By Sue McPherson
S A McPherson website

William Mates sentenced to one year for sexual exploitation
By Brent Boles
The London Free Press
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 12:38:08 EDT PM