I have noticed a disturbing trend that seems to be a by-product of having become a global village via the internet. Gossip, innuendo, stealing of other people’s erroneous posts, and just making shit up seems to have replaced actually reporting news. Actual news. We are to blame for that. Does anyone know how to fact check anymore? Is it shoved to the side so you can get out a piece of news before the rest of the world does? Do journalistic ethics no longer exist? Now, I am a satirist, and even so I like to make sure of what I am saying before I say it. If I have made an error, I retract it as you all know from a couple of my older blogs. The news is supposed to be as devoid of personal opinion as you can make it, and represent the facts and you are supposed to go in having no opinion and let the information take you where it will. If something in the article is your opinion you state that it is only your opinion. There are of course obvious exceptions, like when the person has admitted they did it but claimed self defense when they have stabbed someone in the back, front, and across their necks, or when they are going for a not responsible plea, things of that nature. You should not pick a side based on how many clicks you are going to get, or pick fights when somebody might disagree with you. There are simply way too many people who claim to be journalists who nod their heads, smile and write about it regardless of how much truth there might be in what they are writing.
This is what brings me to the case of Jian Ghomeshi. Jian Ghomeshi was the host of a very popular program called Q. He was also in a band called Moxy Fruvous in his younger years, in my opinion a really sucky band, but they had a following in Toronto so obviously some people found them good. Jian Ghomeshi stands accused of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. For those of you that don’t know this is the definition of overcoming resistance (a)246. Every one who, with intent to enable or assist himself or another person to commit an indictable offence(a) attempts, by any means, to choke, suffocate or strangle another person, or by any means calculated to choke, suffocate or strangle, attempts to render another person insensible, unconscious or incapable of resistance, or(b) administers or causes to be administered to any person, or attempts to administer to any person, or causes or attempts to cause any person to take a stupefying or overpowering drug, matter or thing, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life. (source: Penal codes and penalties Canada.)
Jian has already gone through one trial, the trial of public opinion and he has been found guilty. Guilty is the gut reaction to sexual assault allegations. Unfortunately, once we got into the actual trial, it turned out things were not quite as simple as the prick is guilty.
Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes that exist. It is under reported due to embarrassment, because people fear having to confront their attacker, because they fear they will not be believed and because they fear they will be blamed. I agree that there needs to be some kind of reform on how sexual assault victims are treated on the witness stand and some changes have been made. The flip side of that is that the person making accusations has to be questioned sometimes hard because there is a chance that they are lying. How many people get on the stand and swear to tell the truth and don’t. I could not find stats on that. I found an article from 2011 in the McGill Law Review stating that the reason that those committing perjury are very rarely charged is because quite frankly the system would be completely overloaded. With that knowledge it comes as no surprise that both the crown and the defense work hard to get the actual truth from those on the stand as opposed to the truth that the person up there is stating.
Jian Ghomeshi is a LOT of things and most of them are not flattering. He is a misogynist, he is a narcissist, he seems to truly dislike women, he is a braggart, he flaunts his fame, and he thinks he is better than everyone else. I have a source who was in university with him and she says that he has always been this way and it was well known. He also, unfortunately for him has had his sexual preferences put out on the table for the whole world to see. It is not against the law to be into rough sex as long as your partner is like minded and in this day and age of 50 shades of grey, it isn’t even a big deal anymore.
The case should have been open and closed according to everyone who saw the charges before the case went to trial. “He is a sexual deviant who needs to be put away forever” I remember reading on twitter. As a victim of spousal rape, that was truthfully my first thought too. I’m sure it was with every single person who has ever been sexually assaulted. There is this thing however called due process of law, and Jian Ghomeshi is as entitled to it as anyone else. Unfortunately in the era of the internet, that no longer seems to be a concern.
The trial started and as soon as the defense began to cross examine the first witness I knew something was wrong. Now, from personal experience I can tell you that I remember in brilliant techni-color every single second of what happened that night. It never waivers, nothing gets added or taken away, I remember it all. It was what you could call a pivotal moment in my life. Every other victim I have talked to says the same thing. They would give anything to be able to forget any of it. So when accuser number one suddenly was wearing hair extensions and then wasn’t I began to wonder. Then there was the fact that after the alleged assault she continued to pursue him. After attending a third taping of his show she decided that going to the house of the guy that had already attacked her was a good idea. They kissed on the couch and then stood up and continued kissing and he pulled her hair again, allegedly so hard she went down to her knees and he punched her in the head hard enough to make her ears ring. She started to cry so Ghomeshi asked her to leave and called her a cab. She said she felt he threw her out like trash. Under cross by Ms. Henein many of the inconsistencies began to come out. She was also questioned about media interviews she gave prior to going to the police in which she either denied flat out or refused to comment on whether she was kissing Ghomeshi during the alleged first incident. When Henein asked the witness directly whether she had lied her cryptic answer was “that is how it is with memories, the longer you sit with a memory the clearer it becomes.” (Really? Like seriously really?) Then, despite saying she wanted no contact with Ghomeshi after the alleged incident at his house, she sent emails one of which included a bikini shot. When asked about these her best answer was they were bait to get him to talk to her about what happened at his house. This answer makes about as much sense as because briefcase taco.
Lucy Decoutere of Trailerpark Boy fame testified that when they went back to Ghomeshi’s house he slapped her without warning and choked her until she couldn’t breathe. On cross, Ghomeshi’s lawyer presented Decoutere with a six page letter that Lucy sent only days after the alleged assault. The Last line of the six page letter was “I love your hands”. Not something someone who has been choked until they couldn’t breathe would likely write. Unless of course she had consented to him doing it. She also told him she would love to fuck his brains out, sent him flowers and many other texts and emails of a flirtatious nature that spanned over a two year period. To me personally, it looks a lot like Lucy was trying to pursue a romantic relationship with Ghomeshi and got spurned.
The third witness turned out to be the biggest problem for me and likely for the crown. She told police after her assault she was sure to only see Ghomeshi in public places. (she is also in the entertainment industry)She failed to disclose to the police that she not only invited him to her house, but that she gave him a hand job while he was there. She said on the stand that she was too embarrassed to tell them.
Here is the part that gets really interesting. Witness three and Lucy are friends. These friends exchanged over 5000 messages, an average of 15 per day. Originally witness three stated that they did not talk about the upcoming trial at all until the defense pulled out all 5000 of them. In the messages they talked about their mutual dislike of Ghomeshi and how they hoped bad things would happen to him. DeCoutere disclosed to her friend a long discussion with the crown and the questions they had asked. She suggested witness 3 contact her civil attorney and publicist. The messages are filled with talks of “our team”. Decoutere had a facebook conversation with the witness 11 days before the witness spoke to police in which she agreed to corroborate decouteres evidence.
So, what does this all boil down to? Jian Ghomeshi is worth in the mid seven figures. Decoutere is worth five hundred thousand, Ghomeshi is very, very famous in Canada, Decoutere not so much and I have no idea about the other two because of the publication ban. Decoutere was obviously trying to pursue a relationship with him and hand-job Sally may have been as well. Decoutere suggested witness three contact her CIVIL attorney so I’d bet the farm that there is a civil lawsuit coming.
My take from all of this is complicated. I believe that for the most part Ghomeshi probably did slap and pull hair and maybe even choked Decoutere (although I truly believe there was consent for that one) That being said, once these women continued to pursue Ghomeshi it negated whatever he did and it is not like he raped them, he smacked them and pulled their hair. I believe that being aware of Jian’s proclivities and when they were spurned they got together and decided a little payback may be in order. However this comes out I guess they got what they wanted because his career is over, the man is a pariah.
Here is some advice for anyone who finds themselves in an abusive
relationship. If it is the first date and someone smacks you and pulls your hair, walk the fuck away. How attached can you be after one fucking date where you get hit? Don’t text, don’t email, and don’t send pictures of yourself in a bikini. If it is a long term relationship document everything. Tell your friends, take pictures of injuries, tell the doctor what really happened. Call a crisis hotline. Make sure there is a paper trail. Pictures are worth a thousand words, trust me, and so are doctors notes.
For those of you out there who purport to be journalists, do your fucking jobs. There are journalists that are above reproach, Dave Ericson, Troy Hayden, Rosie Barton, the journalists of the CBC, David Lohr. Thank you for doing your jobs, and doing them well. For the rest of you, if you are a journalist you don’t sensationalize, you fact check several times, in a few words, you are not the fucking national enquirer.
That’s it for tonight everybody.