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#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

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They keep falling like dominoes: Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Patrick Brown and most recently members of the Canadian pop-rock band Hedley, high-profile or celebrity men who have been accused of sexual misconduct as the #metoo and #timesup movements continue unabated.

Experts say these social media campaigns of outing males for alleged wrongdoing have created a climate of mistrust between the sexes and left many ordinary guys feeling confused, fearful and wondering whether any of their past actions towards women will somehow come back to haunt them.

“When I speak with younger men, and this is in and out of the workplace, they’re just swearing off women,” said Christine Hart of Calgary, who describes herself as a gender intelligence expert. “Not in droves, but socially they are so confused by what’s going on out there and they’re scared that something could be taken the wrong way.

“So guys are coming together and saying ‘I don’t even interact with women anymore, I barely make eye contact,'” said Hart, who does presentations to corporations and public forums to help improve understanding and communication between men and women.

“On the social level, they’re just so afraid of doing something that’s accidentally wrong.”

Ayan Mukherjee, a Toronto registered psychotherapist who works with men, agreed there is a lot of trepidation around social interactions with women.

“I think men are also feeling like, ‘You know what? It was already kind of hard to reach out to women from a dating point of view, even if you’re trying to reach out in a healthy manner and a sex-positive manner,'” he said.

“Now it has become even harder in the sense that one false, unconscious move and you have been categorized … there is no spectrum from being someone who just flirted badly or made a faux pas versus a serial rapist.

“And right now, they are fearful that social media vigilantes are not looking at it as a spectrum, that if you have done something even on the mild side of the spectrum, you are now being categorized as a rapist or a molester.”

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has also angered many men, said Hart.

“They’re upset with these men for disrespecting women in the way that they are,” she stressed. “And it’s coming from a real heart-centred place … they’re pissed about it.”

Jack Mardock, a Denver-area dating coach, said many men are also feeling apprehensive about previous dating encounters or relationships with women, casting their minds back to examine whether they acted in a disrespectful or potentially sexually aggressive manner.

“I talked to some of these guys and said ‘Did anything happen in the past?'” he said. “And they would talk about how when they were in college and were conversing with someone of the opposite sex, but none of it was inappropriate.

“But the fact that they think it might be inappropriate, it’s not good.

“So when you have guys thinking ‘Oh God, what if I did something in the past, what if it comes back to haunt me, they just end up putting their heads down … either outside of work or in work,” Mardock said. “And inside the workplace, I think it may get worse.”

Hart is already seeing a change in the work environment, with fewer men willing to mentor more junior female colleagues — a spin-off of the #metoo and #timesup movements that she said could inevitably harm women’s career aspirations.

There’s also anxiety over another possibility: that a woman may lie about or exaggerate an allegation of sexual misconduct, potentially destroying a man’s career or blackening his reputation in the court of public opinion.

“Men are very worried about that, to the point where when I’m talking to HR specialists, men are taking preventive measures,” she said, citing the example of a man who ended a romantic relationship with a female co-worker and sent all the text messages and emails between them during the breakup to his company’s human resources department.

“They’re finding that people are wanting more stuff tracked.”

Some men publicly vilified for alleged sexual misbehaviour are beginning to fight back against what they call “wrongful” accusations and demanding that the women prove their assertions through the justice system.

Patrick Brown, who was forced to resign as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives last month, has mounted a campaign in recent days to clear his name, alleging two women who spoke out against him were lying and possibly manipulated by his political enemies inside and outside the party.

He also vowed to sue CTV News, which broadcast the allegations. CTV has said it stands by its reporting.

On Friday, Brown officially joined the race to reclaim the party’s top job.

Journalist Steve Paikin, long-time host of TVO’s current affairs program “The Agenda,” took to Facebook earlier this month to dismiss as “100 per cent false” an allegation that he propositioned a woman for sex in exchange for airtime.

Paikin said the claim was made by former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson. While stopping short of announcing legal action, he wrote: “You’ve defamed me Sarah. I have no idea why, but you have. And I simply can’t allow that to stand.”

While the #metoo and #timesup movements have given women a forum to push back against perpetrators of sexual misdeeds through public shaming — a cultural shift the experts say many men support — there is a potential for negative fallout.

“People think, well, because of all this, it must be very, very good for women. Women have all the power,” said Mardock.

But he says the movements have put women interested in dating men at a disadvantage.

“The dating game is not good for women like this, because you’re missing out on quality guys,” he said.

“The healing that has to take place has to come from an awareness of the issue that these men who have done this do not represent all men — they just don’t.”

 

— Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press


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Young N.B. mom jailed for life in murder of teenager stabbed 200 times

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MONCTON, N.B. — In a case that captured attention across the East Coast, a young mother has been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of a Moncton, N.B., teen who had been stabbed about 200 times.

Marissa Shephard, who is in her early 20s, will have no chance of parole for 25 years, Judge Zoel Dionne ruled Friday.

She was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and arson in the 2015 death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie. He had been tied to a chair, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.

Shephard became a fugitive following the murder, and police asked the public to take a closer look at her many photos on social media, saying she had an uncanny knack for changing her appearance.

Some online photos showed her posing with a gun. Others posted by friends and family variously depict Shephard in pouting glamour poses, as a content mother of a young boy, as a haggard suspect and as a wannabe gangster.

Police said Shephard was considered dangerous due to the violent nature of the crime. She was arrested outside a Moncton hotel on March 1, 2016, and has been in custody ever since.

A Court of Queen’s Bench jury only needed about four hours to find Shephard guilty in May. She was the third person convicted in the murder.

Wylie’s body was found in Shephard’s burned-out Moncton townhouse on Dec. 17, 2015. It was found in the middle of the living room floor, with a box spring on top of it, with numerous injuries on his neck, torso, legs and arms.

Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux said he told the court Friday that “four young lives have been ruined as the result of drugs and that whole lifestyle.”

“It was a bunch of bad choices. It’s just bad all around and never should have happened,” he said in an interview.

Shephard was also sentenced to three years for the arson, minus time served. That sentence is to be served concurrently.

Lemieux said he expects there will be an appeal.

“I’ve suggested to my client that she do that, for sure,” he said.

An appeal would have to be filed within the next 30 days.  

Twenty-one-year-old Devin Morningstar was found guilty of the same charges in November 2016 and is serving a life sentence.

Another man, 20-year-old Tyler Noel, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to second-degree murder and arson with disrespect for human life and was also given a life sentence.

The Canadian Press


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National

Young N.B. mom jailed for life in murder of teenager stabbed 200 times

Published

on

If you like this, share it!

MONCTON, N.B. — In a case that captured attention across the East Coast, a young mother has been sentenced to life in prison in the slaying of a Moncton, N.B., teen who had been stabbed about 200 times.

Marissa Shephard, who is in her early 20s, will have no chance of parole for 25 years, Judge Zoel Dionne ruled Friday.

She was found guilty last month of first-degree murder and arson in the 2015 death of 18-year-old Baylee Wylie. He had been tied to a chair, beaten and stabbed repeatedly.

Shephard became a fugitive following the murder, and police asked the public to take a closer look at her many photos on social media, saying she had an uncanny knack for changing her appearance.

Some online photos showed her posing with a gun. Others posted by friends and family variously depict Shephard in pouting glamour poses, as a content mother of a young boy, as a haggard suspect and as a wannabe gangster.

Police said Shephard was considered dangerous due to the violent nature of the crime. She was arrested outside a Moncton hotel on March 1, 2016, and has been in custody ever since.

A Court of Queen’s Bench jury only needed about four hours to find Shephard guilty in May. She was the third person convicted in the murder.

Wylie’s body was found in Shephard’s burned-out Moncton townhouse on Dec. 17, 2015. It was found in the middle of the living room floor, with a box spring on top of it, with numerous injuries on his neck, torso, legs and arms.

Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux said he told the court Friday that “four young lives have been ruined as the result of drugs and that whole lifestyle.”

“It was a bunch of bad choices. It’s just bad all around and never should have happened,” he said in an interview.

Shephard was also sentenced to three years for the arson, minus time served. That sentence is to be served concurrently.

Lemieux said he expects there will be an appeal.

“I’ve suggested to my client that she do that, for sure,” he said.

An appeal would have to be filed within the next 30 days.  

Twenty-one-year-old Devin Morningstar was found guilty of the same charges in November 2016 and is serving a life sentence.

Another man, 20-year-old Tyler Noel, pleaded guilty in May 2017 to second-degree murder and arson with disrespect for human life and was also given a life sentence.

The Canadian Press


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