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Weekend Reads The excruciating experience of being a woman in court with Ghomeshi

19:46  07 december  2016
19:46  07 december  2016 Source:

Statement from Kathryn Borel on Jian Ghomeshi

  Statement from Kathryn Borel on Jian Ghomeshi Statement from Kathryn Borel on Jian GhomeshiHi everyone. Thank you for coming out and listening. My name is Kathryn Borel. In December of 2014, I pressed sexual assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi. As you know, Mr. Ghomeshi initially denied all the charges that were brought against him. But today, as you just heard, Jian Ghomeshi admitted wrongdoing and apologized to me.

It is excruciating to watch someone you care about testify in a sexual assault trial. About three months before Ghomeshi was set to appear I hear Lucy’s words on the stand, “ Women can be assaulted by someone and still have positive feelings for them afterwards,” and I start to cry in court .

Ioanna Roumeliotis presents a case study of the Jian Ghomeshi trial featuring exclusive interviews with the three complainants about their experiences in court . Ghomeshi , a former CBC Radio host, was found not guilty 15:36.

Survivor solidarity Protesters denouncing the Ghomeshi verdict have grown to a critical mass that could advance justice for sexual assault victims, Rosemary Westwood writes — but ingrained sexism remains an obstacle.: The excruciating experience of being a woman in court with Ghomeshi © torstar news service The excruciating experience of being a woman in court with Ghomeshi

I doubt a single journalist walked into the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial that first day of February suspicious of the heart of the allegations, or the three women behind them.

And I doubt even one walked out more than a month later doubting an acquittal was right.

But it was nevertheless excruciating to be a woman, sitting in the gallery watching the scandal diminish into thin testimony, easily batted away by the judge in his not-guilty verdict.

Even for those following every moment on Twitter, it was not the same as being in that room, seeing women’s expressions, catching their glances, watching their faces as the witnesses described assault.

Ghomeshi case not over before the former radio host speaks

  Ghomeshi case not over before the former radio host speaks Ghomeshi case not over before the former radio host speaksAs of late Monday afternoon, the Ministry of the Attorney General would not confirm that the case could be settled without a trial.  “The ministry does not comment on criminal cases before the courts, other than in court on the record,” ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley told Maclean’s in an email.

I am angry, but I am also resolute, because, despite Horkins’ decision, women have always known, and still know, that Ghomeshi is an abuser. To any woman who has experienced assault, these reactions are familiar, and the impulse to smooth things over rather than calling abusers out is

GHOMESHI , GUILTY! Enough with the misogyny in bed and in court ! Women ’s experiences of assault, rape and manipulation are questioned in court to make the victim «lose credibility» – but what does one’s actions before and after assault change to non consensual sex?!

After Lucy DeCoutere’s chief testimony, where she described being a people-pleaser who didn’t want to upset Ghomeshi after the alleged assault, one woman reporter told me she cried listening to her account. “Of course!” the reporter said: Any woman could relate to that impulse.

But as the trial went on, sympathy and sisterhood was replaced at times with irritation, and bewilderment.

It only took Marie Henein, Ghomeshi’s lawyer, one kick at the first witness for us to see that this was not going to be the trial we expected. Press coverage had created the mirage of a credible legal case against Ghomeshi, but the closer we got to the evidence, the more that credibility evaporated. After all the allegations of abuse, the months of stories, the investigations, the national conversation about sexual violence in this country: This was not going to be the comeuppance of a powerful man who hurt women, or, by proxy, a defeat of sexism itself. Instead, the trial became a microcosm of how women are coping with the status quo.

Rehtaeh Parsons' dad sums up crushing reality of Ghomeshi verdict

  Rehtaeh Parsons' dad sums up crushing reality of Ghomeshi verdict A judge’s decision to acquit former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi last week highlights how the justice system is designed to fail cases of sexual violence that actually make it to court, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons says. “We pontificate the institution of justice while claiming it is what makes our society civil, but there is nothing civil to be found in the staggering toll sexual violence takes on our communities and the devastation it causes victims and their families,” Glen Canning wrote on his blog Friday.His daughter, Rehtaeh, was 17 when she was taken off life support after attempting to hang herself in 2013.

A fourth witness — court was not told the identity — will be called to testify later this week. “There was familiarity in some of the things I was hearing.” Testifying as the second week of the high-profile trial got underway, the woman explained how, in 2003, she experienced an incident with Ghomeshi in a

How could so many seemingly unconnected women come up with such similar stories about him? Surely, this must mean Ghomeshi is guilty? If her experience is anything to judge by, they’re doing just fine. Yesterday, the court heard closing arguments from the Crown and defense.

Silent and mostly unnoticed in the front row throughout the trial sat Ghomeshi’s mother and sister. Where others saw symbolism in the case, to the family it was “deeply personal,” said Jian’s sister, Jila.

Then there was Marie Henein and Danielle Robitaille, her protégé, as much the faces of the trial as DeCoutere. Both lawyers cut formidable figures in slick suits and “killer heels,” a visual display of their fierce skills, as Anne Kingston of Maclean’s would note.

To the National Post’s Christie Blatchford, Henein and Robitaille became a kind of harbour in the storm, two women “so clearly not seeking favour” from other women that Blatchford deemed them a “comfort.”

They stood opposed to female activists, who Blatchford and the Star’s Rosie DiManno both seemed to suggest would sooner turn the court into a psychiatrist’s couch then give women their due credit for being able to weather tough questions. To Blatchford, covering the trial “was akin to being a member, by virtue of gender alone, of an over-delicate, slightly feeble-minded citizenry in need of perpetual deference and protection both.”

'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict

  'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict The courts need another option.

DeCoutere was clear and unequivocal that she did not consent to being slapped or choked, Callaghan reminded the court in reply submissions. “They were friends venting about a shared experience ,” he said. Ghomeshi faces four charges of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by

According to the allegations read in court , Ghomeshi grabbed Borel from behind at work in 2008 and ground his pelvis into her. “As we said in April of 2015, the incidents that came to our attention as it relates to Mr. Ghomeshi ’s conduct in our workplace were simply unacceptable.

I understand her concern, but I also saw in the protesters, especially the hundreds of mostly women outside the court the night of the verdict, resilience, power and even righteousness.

I watched a group of women carrying signs hurry in the falling dark toward the crowd.

“Have a great protest!” I yelled, stupidly, wanting to join them.

They gathered for speeches and then a march to Toronto Police headquarters chanting what’s becoming a slogan for the whole ordeal: “We believe survivors!”

One young woman told me the trial had ended any hope she had in the justice system, but she would commit herself to advocacy and support work instead.

Some were marching against the acquittal itself. But I saw them also as a mass coalescing against the stalemate in justice for sexual violence.

There is hope for future reform.

But there is also the much murkier world of ingrained sexism, the kind that, despite Justice William B. Horkins’s mostly harsh but fair ruling, stained his judgment in two unforgivable ways.

First, Horkins called into question the women’s post-assault behaviour, which he said shouldn’t be governed by stereotypes, but then went ahead and called “odd” anyway.

Second, and most egregiously, Horkins saw fit to underline the existence of false sexual assault allegations, and state this: “The twists and turns of the complainants’ evidence in this trial, illustrate the need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful.”

It was an outrageous and unnecessary 31 words, especially after he took time at the beginning to reiterate that people charged with a crime, in every case, are the ones who get the benefit of the doubt.

As I walked home that day, the adrenalin wore off and the sadness sank in. Sadness for Ghomeshi’s family, who clearly love him. Sadness for the witnesses. For the protesters. For all sexual assault victims.

I walked through my apartment door, and cried. Of course. What else is a woman to do?

Ghomeshi trial: Everything wrong with sexual assault law .
Brenda Cossman, a law professor at the University of Toronto, says the trial will discourage victims from coming forward.But that does not make the acquittal any less disturbing. The trial was literally a performance in everything that is wrong with sexual assault law, or more specifically, the way our sexual assault law’s are applied. The Criminal Code provisions on sexual assault are actually pretty good — there is an expansive definition of consent or more specifically its absence, and the Supreme Court of Canada has insisted that consent be positive and on-going. But the social norms through which these laws are applied still leave a lot to desired.


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