...The axed CBC host is on trial for five counts, of sexual assault and overcoming resistance, brought by three complainants, his alleged offences running the gamut from hair-yanking to punching to choking, all occurring within a sexual context: Kissing while standing, kissing while in a parked car, kissing while sitting on a park bench. Without the kissing, there would be no "sex" in these alleged sexual assaults.
It is indeed an ordeal to testify in a sex assault trial. But a significant part of that torment still arises from the exposure — in front of a judge, a jury, reporters, the public gallery — of an individual's intimate horror. When you look upon her with pity, even revulsion for what she's endured, you are diminishing the person. You are defining her by the violation.
The law is not to blame for deeply rooted perceptions. That is a cultural phenomenon. At times, during this first week of the Ghomeshi trial, it's felt like being transported to witch-burnings in Salem or the safeguarding of women that justifies gender segregation — hiding, covering, enforced modesty — in misogynistic and zealously religious societies. Chattel or victim? Only the spin is different.
There is a growing movement to make it easier for women to testify in sex assault cases by, essentially, crafting one justice system for males and another for females. It's called reform but it would really be just another form of sequestering, with specialized courts hearing sex assault trials. That's rating victims — my pain is more pronounced than yours, my emotional equilibrium more fragile than yours. I am frail and you, father court, must protect me especially.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Ghomeshi trial complaints are an insult to women