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Monday, March 11, 2013

"Ass-Gate" is an uncomfortable reminder that sometimes women do lie about sexual assault

Sexual assault is a horrible crime. It not only is a subjection of the victim to violence but of an invasion of dignity and of person in a way comparable to no other crime.

The perpetrators of this crime are reprehensible and deservedly become reviled by their communities..

Due to the personal and humiliating nature of the act, and because it often takes place without witnesses, the victims sometimes do not report the crime against them, fearing that not only will they not be able to prove their case, but will be demeaned a second time in the process of pursuing justice. In order to prevent this revictimization and to encourage complainants not to fear coming forward, it has become gospel for a number of fields which deal with this crime to unquestioningly accept the accounts of those claiming to have been sexually violated.

Operating from the standpoint of complete credulity is part of the training for social workers, counsellors, and those in the medical profession. The exceptions are the police and courts, which require actual evidence of a crime having been committed in order to lay charges and secure a conviction.

And a good thing that those in the position to inflict the most harm on a person's life and freedom are still subject to some measure of standards that protect an innocent person who has been falsely accused.

Because one of the sad facts of life that Social Workers are trained to ignore is that sometimes, and more often than any of us would like to believe, women do make false and malicious accusations of sexual assault.

It happens so frequently in Family Court by women hoping to leverage their cases that judges often won't take such a charge seriously unless there are police charges or a conviction to back them up.

Unfortunate as it is, there are unscrupulous women who make these charges out of sheer vindictiveness or mental instability, or other reasons of personal gain.

Which brings us to the "ass-gate" scandal that has emerged when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was accused by a political rival of having fondled her buttocks at a fundraiser last week, a charge he categorically and vigorously denies.

No one, other than Sarah Thomson, who claims to have had her posterior groped, and Rob Ford likely will ever  know with total certainty what happened. Still, that hasn't stopped battle lines from being drawn and people choosing sides based mainly, not on what the facts show happened but on their political sympathies with the respective parties involved.

There have been a couple fatuous articles, tweeted by Thomson's fellow failed provincial Liberal candidate Bernie Farber, one by Ivor Tossell at Macleans and the other by the girlfriend of Liberal Party strategist Warren Kinsella, which essentially make the same disingenuous points that pretend to take no position while implicitly convicting Ford.

In essence, they wrote that we don't know what happened but they don't like Ford, that sort of groping happens to women in politics all the time, and we should take Sarah Thomson at her word.

The problem with the people who have convicted Ford based solely on Thomson`s allegations and their own disdain for Toronto's fiscally conservative mayor is that none of it adds up.

Yes, as Thomson reminded her coterie of admirers, Ford has done some embarrassing things in the past about which he lied and only admitted them when confronted by a number of witnesses.

But this time, witnesses are coming forward to back Ford and say it is Thomson who is the liar.

While most sexual assaults take place where only the perpetrator and the victim are there and may be difficult to prove, Ford`s alleged groping of Thomson was said to have occurred in the middle of a party, with the two of them surrounded by people.

One person who witnessed their exchange said Thomson is lying. Two others said that she informed them in advance she was planning to `set up` Toronto`s mayor and use it against him in her own future campaign.

Thomson has had an ax to grind with Ford since her pathetic mayoral campaign and while bemoaning how her credibility is now being attacked, it begs the question, what credibility?.

One can also legitimately wonder why, when surrounded by people, if Ford did fondle her rear, why Thomson wouldn`t simply have said `get your hand off my ass!` then and there and be able to establish what had happened. By all accounts, she was smiling and joking with Ford during what she later claimed was a sexual assault, which would be a bizarre reaction if she were telling the truth.

Instead, Thomson who seems desperate for the limelight, made her accusations via her facebook page and then has fluttered from one media outlet to the next, talking to just about everyone that would give her airtime. In some cases, making multiple appearances.

As to Thomson versus Ford`s credibility, by the accounts of everyone who knows him, the sexual groping Thomson accuses him of would be both unprecedented and totally out of character for him.

Thomson, on the other hand, is someone with a history both of being sleazy for political advantage and of changing her stories when it suited her. She abused the system during her provincial campaign and she tried to expunge her scathing remarks about one-time rival George Smitherman when she did an about-face to endorse his mayoral campaign against Ford.  Thomson changing her story from day to day and interview to interview isn`t helping to make her more believable either.

Indeed no one does know beyond all doubt what happened between Ford and Thomson. But unlike her Liberal party colleagues, I am willing to take Ford, and the two Richmond Hill Counsellors and the witness who saw the interaction between the Women`s Post publisher and the mayor at their word. On the other hand, Thomson is increasingly sounding like someone who got caught in a lie from which she can't extricate herself without loosing face.

Throughout this sideshow, Thomson appears to be grotesquely trying to position herself as some sort of `role-model` for women. It would be sad for Canada`s women if she was whom they had to resort to for a role model. Fortunately, Canadian women can do a lot better.

UPDATE; This may help put things in  perspective:

 "When Thomson was asked if she’d ever taken cocaine herself, she said she didn’t know, as she spent time on the street in her youth."

You have to have done a lot of drugs to lose track of what you've taken. Perhaps the lasting affect was more than anyone realized until now.


Anonymous said...

go F*35 yourself ahole

Richard K said...

Interesting - you have all the wit and charm of my psychotic new Twitter stalker

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Yeah, but just look at her. Who could resist ... no, I can't, I just can't... Blech! She just looks like a loony. I wonder if this sort of thing doesn't actually wind up helping Ford with the sort of voters who used to be called "normal people".