Day 2 of the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial. Do I think he is innocent? Nope. Do I think he will be found guilty? Nope. Does that bother me? A bit, but the alternatives bother me more.
Similar to the Bill Cosby scandal – public opinion has condemned Jian Ghomeshi as guilty. The sheer number of stories and supporting journalism definitely points to him having done some uncool stuff, more than once. As a woman, there is an unfortunate feeling of dread and recognition when reading up on the alleged victims’ accounts of Ghomeshi’s stunts. The stories feel true. If I had to bet, he definitely crossed the line over into the realm of sexual assault a few times. CBC’s behaviour definitely supports that hypothesis – they wouldn’t have done all they did if there didn’t exist a serious problem at the organisation. So. Jian Ghomeshi is presumed guilty. I want him to be found guilty, and serve as an example to all the other creeps out there that frequently assault women. I really really want this. I want him to be the martyr for this cause.
Shocking infographic #1:
Specifically, of the few sexual assault cases that are reported and go to trial, few result in convictions. This feels like a failure in justice.
Shocking infographic #2:
Yet, the fundamental reason for the lack of convictions is the very basis of our criminal law system in Canada:
We all know the standard in criminal law is very high. Every accused person is presumed innocent, a presumption that can only be displaced by unambiguous evidence that proves the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The onus is on the victim (via the Crown) to provide that evidence.
In the absence of corroboration, this system itself essentially dictates the near impossibility of conviction in a simple he-said, she-said situation.
I am ok with that. I support that – rationally. I believe that the tenet of “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the best aspects of our society, and one that must be protected. Therefore, when I stop listening to my emotions that scream “condemn that little fucker!”, and look at all that has been written about the case, and it’s similarities with Bill Cosby, I am aware that there is a high likelihood that Jian Ghomeshi will not be found guilty, because the prosecution will not be able to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That is fair.
But at the same time… sexual assault is a real thing. One that goes unpunished, yet wrecks (mostly) women’s lives.
What to do?
P.S. in the interests of almost being unbiased, here is the only article I found online which claims our judicial system is just fine thankyouverymuch. Written by a lawyer. Well then, no problem afterall, phew! Canada, world’s 2nd-best place to live! We rock.