Weekend Reads Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services reaches out to survivors in wake of Ghomeshi verdict

19:51  07 december  2016
19:51  07 december  2016 Source:   Edmonton Journal

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.

032716-Ghomeshi_Trial_20160324-44677585-Ghomeshi_Trial_20160324-W.jpg © Chris Young 032716-Ghomeshi_Trial_20160324-44677585-Ghomeshi_Trial_20160324-W.jpg

The acquittal of former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi has sparked a powerful conversation about sexual assault, and Alberta advocates believe it will act as a necessary catalyst for change.

Ghomeshi, 48, was acquitted last week on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking involving three women.

The heavily publicized trial gave Canadians a “bird’s eye view” into what sexual assault complainants go through when they testify, said Deb Tomlinson, chief executive officer of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, an umbrella organization of 12 sexual assault centres across the province.

Ghomeshi's lawyer blasts Mulcair for #IBelieveSurvivors tweet

  Ghomeshi's lawyer blasts Mulcair for #IBelieveSurvivors tweet Jian Ghomeshi's lawyer has called out NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair for tweeting that he believed survivors of sexual assault, just hours before her famous client was acquitted. Mulcair, however, doubled-down Wednesday afternoon with another tweet.In an interview with the CBC's Peter Mansbridge that aired Tuesday, lawyer Marie Henein was asked about the #IBelieveSurvivors hashtag that resonated on Twitter in light of the Ghomeshi verdict and, specifically, Mulcair's use of the term."Hashtag 'I believe' is not a legal principle, nor should it ever be," she said.

The trial pointed out the flaws in how the justice system deals with sexual assault complainants and the need for a specialized court to deal with these cases, Tomlinson said.

That would involve judges and Crown prosecutors who are trained and have specialized knowledge in sexual assault trauma and staff who can prepare witnesses for what they’ll go through on the stand and provide them with continuous support from reporting to sentencing.

In addition, she said the public needs to be better educated on the complex psychological trauma associated with sexual assault, in the same way people have come to be more accepting and understanding of what happens when someone experiences domestic violence. That means understanding that the majority of victims have a previous relationship with their offender, the assault often takes place in a familiar place and while it may not leave a lot of obvious physical injury, the damage is enormous.

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.

Despite what the three complainants went through having their testimony dissected and credibility dismantled by Ghomeshi’s defence lawyer as the world watched, Tomlinson doesn’t think it will necessarily prevent any more women from coming forward about their assaults.

Ninety-seven per cent of sexual assaults go unreported in Canada as it is, and of those, most do not lead to charges or convictions.

“We had some amazingly courageous (women) who came forward, who lasted throughout this entire process which was very, very difficult and it’s very evident to me that they’re getting a lot of support from the Canadian public,” she said.

“As difficult as this whole Ghomeshi trial was, it will result in positive change.”

A 2012 study found there are about 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year.
Of these:
• 15,000 will be reported to the police
• 13,000 will be recorded as a crime
• 5,500 cases will result in charges being laid
• 2,800 cases will be prosecuted
• 1,400 will result in convictions

For sexual assault services in Edmonton, contact the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) at 780- 423-4102 or visit http://www.sace.ab.ca. To locate services in other parts of Alberta visit http://aasas.ca/get- help/.  Source: YWCA Edmonton



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.

Source: http://ca.pressfrom.com/news/weekendreads/-4056-association-of-alberta-sexual-assault-services-reaches-out-to-survivors-in-wake-of-ghomeshi-verdict/

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