AFTER 27 WOMEN DISCLOSED HAVING BEEN RAPED AND BEATEN, JIAN GHOMESHI HAS BEEN ACQUITTED

Big huge trigger warning for sexual assault and violence. Love and solidarity and strength to all the women and men out there who have ever felt unsafe to disclose experiences of sexual violence, and to those who feel even more unsafe in the wake of this trial.
  1. If you're not Canadian you might not know about this. I'm not sure how far this story has travelled.
  2. Jian Ghomeshi was the talk show host of a very popular CBC radio program, Q.
  3. He was generally well liked by the public. He seemed to most people like a cool, liberal guy.
  4. So when CBC dropped him (due to brewing allegations of rape/violent assault), he put out a statement trying to get ahead of the story saying that he had practiced consensual BDSM, and that he was being persecuted for it.
    It was actually a pretty brilliant move by his publicist, because it appealed to his fans and the pro-sex, pro-choice liberal crowd.
  5. Very quickly, however, it became clear that multiple women were disclosing that he had beaten, choked and sexually violated them.
  6. I'm not going to get into the specifics, because Google exists, but it was brutal.
  7. The number continued to grow, and more and more women came forward to disclose the sexual violence they experienced.
  8. In the end, I believe 27 strong women came forward to police about their experiences. Three ultimately testified, one publicly and two anonymously.
  9. Today, he was acquitted in a court of law.
  10. I'm not exceptionally surprised, but I am gutted to think of all the women and men who have ever tried to disclose sexual violence, and taken their perpetrator to court, and have had them walk free.
  11. TWENTY SEVEN women. One man. He still walks free.
  12. After the verdict came down, my social circle was reeling. All day I've seen the horror, the sadness, the dismay.
  13. We've had to deal with comments like this:
  14. There is no 'right' way to process trauma.
  15. TWENTY SEVEN women disclosing that he beat, choked and sexually assaulted them and him having no legal recourse isn't justice 'winning'. What kind of world are we living in that people feel comfortable thinking so little of women as a whole that they're willing to believe ONE man over 27 women's testimony?
  16. I understand the way the law works, the way "reasonable doubt" works.
  17. But that doesn't mean that I expect anyone to actually believe one man over 27 women's disclosures of violent assault.
  18. To add insult to horrible injury, the judge said this during the ruling:
  19. “The twists and turns of the complainants’ evidence … illustrate the need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful.” Equally dangerous?! WHAT. THE. FUCK.
  20. Nevermind the fact that the behavior described by the survivors was actually very normal during the aftermath of rape. But who was on trial again?
  21. If anyone ever discloses their experience of sexual assault I will believe them.
  22. When a client comes to me in pregnancy and tells me that she was raped, I believe her.
  23. When she tells me that vaginal exams remind her of her assault, I believe her, and work not to retraumatize her.
  24. When my friends, so many of them, tell me about their sexual assaults, I believe them.
  25. When a friend hasn't told me she's been sexually assaulted I kind-of assume she just hasn't told me yet, not that it hasn't happened.
  26. When I'm working on the Sexual Assault Crisis Line and someone calls in telling me about their rape and that their rapist is HIV positive, and they don't know what to do, I believe them.
  27. The "'false assumption' that sexual assault complainants are always truthful" is NOT equally as dangerous as being a women or trans person every day in this world.
  28. It's not equally as dangerous not only because of the patriarchal world we live in that continually re-enforces that women are not to be believed, but because even when the situation is THIS CLEAR, he still will go free.
  29. Fuck this system called 'justice'.