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