“A decisive snapshot of this moment in history that considers where we were, and sets the stage for where we might go, and will no doubt be used to describe this moment long after we move on to a new normal.” —Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People
An illuminating, timely look at the changing landscape of sexual politics by the author of Crazy Town.
For nearly two years, Globe and Mail reporter Robyn Doolittle investigated how Canadian police handle sexual assault cases. Her findings were shocking: across the country, in big cities and small towns, the system was dismissing a high number of allegations as "unfounded." A police officer would simply view the claim as baseless and no investigation would follow. Of the 26,500 reported cases of sexual assault in 2015, only 1,400 resulted in convictions.
The response to Doolittle's groundbreaking Unfounded series was swift. Federal ministers immediately vowed to establish better oversight, training, and policies; Prime Minister Trudeau announced $100 million to combat gender-based violence; Statistics Canada began to collect and publish unfounded rates; and to date, about a third of the country's forces have pledged to review more than 10,000 sex-assault cases dating back to 2010.
Had It Coming picks up where the Unfounded series left off. Doolittle brings a personal voice to what has been a turning point for most women: the #MeToo movement and its aftermath. The world is now increasingly aware of the pervasiveness of rape culture in which powerful men got away with sexual assault and harassment for years: from Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O'Reilly, and Matt Lauer, to Charlie Rose and Jian Ghomeshi. But Doolittle looks beyond specific cases to the big picture. The issue of "consent" figures largely: not only is the public confused about what it means, but an astounding number of police officers and judges do not understand Canadian consent law. The brain's reaction to trauma and how it affects memory is also crucial to understanding victim statements. Surprisingly, Canada has the most progressive sexual assault laws in the developed world, yet the system is failing victims at every stage.
Had It Coming is not a diatribe or manifesto, but a nuanced and informed look at how attitudes around sexual behaviour have changed and still need to change.
ROBYN DOOLITTLE is a Globe and Mail investigative journalist. Her reporting on Mayor Rob Ford for the Toronto Star made headlines around the world, won the Michener Award for public service journalism, and her number-one bestselling book on the topic, Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, earned her the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Her Unfounded series, which investigated how police services handle sexual assault cases, was one of the most viewed and read stories in the Globe's modern history. She was named Journalist of the Year in 2017 by the Canadian Centre for Journalism.
“Doolittle injects herself into the narrative as she interviews experts. The book can be best read as a useful primer on the myths still embedded in how sexual assault is treated within the courts and culture . . .”
“[A]n unflinching look at the #MeToo era. . . . a decisive snapshot of this moment in history that considers where we were, and sets the stage for where we might go, and will no doubt be used to describe this moment long after we’ve moved on to a new normal.”
—Zoe Whittall, award-winning author of The Best Kind of People
“Had It Coming is an in-depth look at how attitudes around sexual harassment and assault are changing in the #MeToo era.”
“[Doolittle’s] analysis of a complex and difficult subject is colourful and prismatic . . . She uses a conversational, approachable tone to make the book relatable to people on both sides of the ‘he said, she said’ fence . . . her central message [is] compelling . . .”
—Literary Review of Canada
“[A] nuanced, open-minded, de-politicized discussion of our post-#MeToo world.”
“Doolittle writes with lucidity and heart, directly addressing the challenges posed by a book that delves onto a topic that often leads to knee-jerk reactions and polarizing debates. Instead of capitulating to these impulses, she chooses to explore the questions of the moment with the nuance and detail they deserve . . . A must-read for all Canadians.”
—Quill & Quire
“. . . rigorous reportage and unflinching. . . . [a] vital read.”
“[I]ncisive, impeccably researched, and deeply honest.”