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MADD is ‘mad’ after taxi driver who assaulted drunk woman is acquitted

by Jody Jameson, Contributor

A Canadian MADD chapter is considering halting their support for the #TAXI campaign and telling intoxicated people to take a taxi home, after a Nova Scotia judge acquitted a taxi driver who was charged with sexual assault after a drunk woman was found passed out in his vehicle.

Bassam Al-Rawi was found with a 26-year-old woman’s underwear, soaked with urine, in his hand while the woman was in the back of the cab unconscious and partially unclothed, according to a report by CBC News. Al-Rawi had the 26-year-old’s DNA on his upper lip.

The woman took the stand during the two-day trial and told the court that she couldn’t remember much from the night of the alleged attack. Judge Gregory Lenehan made the controversial ruling that it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman didn’t consent.

“Clearly, a drunk can consent.”

Anissa Aldridge, the Atlantic director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told CBC News on Thursday that she plans to address the organization at MADD Canada’s general meeting at the end of April in Toronto and suggest that the 14-year-long campaign to promote the use of taxis be less of a focal point for the organization.

The report read that Andrew Murie, the CEO of MADD Canada, said Friday that the national organization hasn’t changed their position on the use of taxis, and that the Atlantic chapter’s response to the ruling is “just a local reaction, more from the perspective of a mother than any policy change from the national organization.”u

Aldridge reportedly said that using taxis won’t always be unsafe, but she suggested alternatives to that form of transportation.

“We can’t now state that all taxi drivers might be a concern … but the option of going two, three or four people in a taxi if you’re a young woman and feeling unsafe, might be a great option.”

Susan MacAskill, a member of MADD in Atlantic Canada, said that she was worried about the influence of the judge’s decision.

“We have a serious concern about the impact of this ruling.”

Jody Jameson is up-and-coming journalist who's been featured in national news publications for her in-depth crime stories coverage. Her passion lies within helping women and children, in hopes of bringing awareness to abuse, exploitation, and rights violations. In her personal time, Jody has done summer volunteer work at The Boys and Girls Club, and worked as a peer assistant for PALS, a program that assists underprivileged kids. During her time in sorority, Kappa Kappa Gama, Jody volunteered in the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program, which raises money to supply books to children in need.