A very interesting commentary on Jian Ghomeshi from a couple of weeks ago.
…graphic videos were presented to CBC executives — by Ghomeshi! — as a pre-emptive gambit, to save his job, an attempt to convince the stunned suits assembled that the women were willing participants and, look, bruising could occur even when the activity was consensual.
The women who’ve spoken out insist they never consented to this treatment.
Within a legal framework, consent is crucial. In practice, however, it turns into a judicial ledge from which an accused can jump into the “she-was-willing” safety net below. The standard of proof is simply too high, as victims have learned to their traumatizing dismay.
With plain assault, that doesn’t work – people don’t consent to being beaten up (apart from the occasional genuine masochist). People don’t consent to having their noses broken and their teeth knocked out. But people do consent to sex, so saying “she wanted it!” does work in rape cases. This is why lack of prosecution or conviction doesn’t necessarily mean lack of guilt. This is why sometimes warnings are all anyone has. “Watch your back with that guy; keep an eye on your drink; don’t let him get you alone.”
In the midst of the Ghomeshi whirlwind, Chief Bill Blair said no investigation had been launched because no complainants had gone to police. Now they have. As of this writing, no charges had been laid against Ghomeshi.
Blair encouraged any woman who has endured a sexual assault to come forward. Crowns who prosecute sexual assault endlessly make the same plea.
Many women won’t go there. Their wariness is understandable.
Every historical fallacy, every outrageous stereotype, every cultural misconception is heaped upon the complainant. Sexual assault victims are de facto disbelieved. Women are characterized as crazed and vindictive.
Does that sound familiar? Very, very familiar? It does to me.