So Jian Ghomeshi Got Acquitted, And The Judge Got It Right
For any of you who have been following the Jian Ghomeshi circus/trail, you will know that the judge delivered his verdict yesterday morning. Ghomeshi was acquitted on all charges.
And I have to tell you, the judge absolutely got this one right.
Now I know the court of public opinion is going to disagree with me on this one, but I honestly don’t give a shit. I spent a good deal of time reading through the court transcript yesterday, and there is no fucking way the judge could have in good faith come back with any other verdict. I read the transcript because I wanted to read from the judge’s own words what he based his call on without the sensationalized media feed that leaves out important details and embellishes the ones that sell the story. If you have a good 30 minutes, you can read it here.
Here’s the thing. We will never know for sure what the true nature of Jian Ghomeshi’s relationships were with these women. Was he a rough lover? Was he a complete dick? Was he the sort of man who used his celebrity, charm and good looks to manipulate women into doing things they weren’t comfortable in doing? Quite possibly yes. But I wasn’t there, and neither were you.
I don’t know if this man actually did what he was accused of or not. But I do know that convicting a man of a crime and sending him to jail for possibly the rest of his life ( The “overcome resistance-choking” charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison) because a bunch of protestors are outside ripping off their shirts and freaking out is not a reasonable thing for a judge to do.
If you read the evidence presented, no matter how much the court of public opinion deemed him guilty the second he was charged, the judge absolutely did his job in upholding justice and the prosecution failed miserably to present an air tight case where we could believe the witnesses. The whole case is based upon the credibility of the witnesses, and their credibility did not hold up. They lied, they omitted, they plotted, and their stories did not hold up. Period.
If Ghomeshi had been convicted, it would set a much scarier precedent in my opinion. It would take away the presumption of innocence for anybody, and let’s face it. The police get it wrong sometimes. Witnesses lie. People accuse each other of all sorts of horrible things that aren’t true for their own gain or for revenge.
NOW. Let’s get something straight. I am a woman. I don’t believe that any man has any right to put his hands on me in any way, sexual or otherwise that I don’t consent to. This is not about victim blaming. This is about a case that had insufficient evidence to convict the accused.
And let’s get something else straight. I am not a victim of sexual assault. I can’t understand what a woman ( or man for that matter) goes through after being assaulted. But I also cannot imagine sending repeated emails to someone who beat me and sexually assaulted me and ask them to fuck me again. I cannot imagine re-initiating contact with someone for months and years after the assault happened and try to flirt with them some more. I get how trauma confuses you and you try to pretend to yourself that it was a misunderstanding. And so you go to work the next day and smile at the person and try to keep the peace, because that’s what nice girls do, right?
And to me, that is the most important issue at hand. Girls always trying to do what’s nice. Trying not to piss anyone off or offend anyone. FUCK.THAT.
So, yes. Ghomeshi was acquitted. Legally, the right thing for the judge to do.
But let’s not make this the Canadian O.J. I don’t want to hear about how victims were failed in this case. I don’t want to hear how this was a step back for women because he got off.
It was a step back for women because we continually accept less than we deserve. It was a step back for women because we continue to allow men to have power over us because we feel bad when we fucking say NO. Have you ever noticed that when a women says no to anything, it’s the start of a negotiation? NO means fucking NO.
We are so worried that we might hurt someone’s feelings or that our steadfast opinion is going to piss someone off or that a guy won’t like us anymore because we don’t want to fuck him. So we fuck him to make ourselves feel better and hope that he will love us. And then he doesn’t, and so we try harder the next time.
Girls. Stop it. Determine your self worth and stop giving a fuck what other people think so much. Set a new precedent.
And no, putting Jian Ghomeshi in jail wasn’t going to fix all the wrongs that have been done to women since forever. If anything, this trial should empower women to report crimes against them immediately. To fight this male dominance shit with girl power.
And no, please don’t twist my words into saying that I am blaming the victims for what happened to them. I am saying that in our society, women are victimized because the perpetrators know they can get away with it. Because we don’t report it. Because we aren’t clear with our desires and intentions. If we take the circumstances from the Ghomeshi case and learn from them, we can be stronger and more victims would get their justice. Don’t wait 10 years to find your voice. You have one now. You can do it.
So no. I don’t think the judge got it wrong yesterday. We’ve been getting it wrong since the beginning of time. Change the culture. Take your power back. Sending Jian Ghomeshi to jail on insufficient evidence won’t do that for you. Only you can.