Following the Jian Ghomeshi ruling hundreds of people showed up in the cold Toronto rain to voice their support for victims of sexual violence and to express the outrage many feel over how this crime is handled by the Canadian judicial system. Many times the chant was raised, “The system isn’t broken—it was designed this way” and “We believe survivors!”
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.
The Jian Ghomeshi fiasco reminded us of the many reasons victims choose to remain silent. Toronto police asked women to come forward if they’ve experienced abuse from Ghomeshi so they did. Nine of them did. Do the math on that number while knowing only one in ten victims will ever come forward.
In passing ‘judgement’ on those women Justice William Horkins mentioned the difficulty they had in ‘navigating the system’ and added that doing so is quite simple, “you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And yet…
Judge Horkins based his decision on what he heard and on the evidence presented. If Ghomeshi’s emails were read aloud in court and if he had to explain his actions and his character was under attack I have no doubt Jian Ghomeshi would be in prison today.
Somehow pundits cry that this great institution is what keeps us civil and this ruling is called justice and justice is based on the truth. Half a story is not the truth.
Inspite of all the time and effort and tears and heartache, Jian Ghomeshi was brought down by an anonymous user on Twitter. Unless we want that to become much more common occurance we have to address how sexual assault is handled in Canada and how miserably it is failing us.
I believe survivors.
WE BELIEVE SURVIVORS
Thank you Lucy!