There’s a Bigger Problem than Jian

Yeah, so I’m going to chime in on this Jian Ghomeshi thing. And look, I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent, and it’s not my place to determine that. I don’t have the evidence. But what IS bugging me is all the swirling speculation that these women must be lying since they haven’t gone to the police. I understand why they haven’t gone to the police. I was mildly sexually assaulted (I say mildly because it could’ve been a lot worse, it was very quick and over my clothing, but it was still violating and is still an assault) while I was living in London, England, at 9 am on my way to work. I yelled at the guy to “Fuck off!” and whipped myself away from him as he smirked and walked away. I walked in the other direction and promptly burst into tears. And when I called a close female friend, still weeping, what was her comforting response? “It’s no big deal, it’s happened to me. It happens to everyone.”

This is a systemic problem. It’s a political and legal and cultural problem; the conviction rate for sexual assault is abysmally low. Victim-blaming, as we have seen, is rampant. Yet instances of false accusations are statistically quite rare.

Eventually, I was convinced by a lawyer friend to at least report it to the police for statistical purposes. Even though I had no idea what this guy looked like, besides his race and general height – I didn’t get a good look at his face – it could show a pattern in the area. No one answered the phone at the local police station, and that was enough for me to give up and try to forget about it. Because I could envision the response: “What do you want us to do about it? You can’t ID the guy, you’re not physically injured, so why are you calling us? At least you weren’t raped.”

We need to look at the bigger issues – the systemic issues of misogyny and patriarchy and victim-blaming. And yes, while women need to be careful when walking alone at night – or in my case, in the morning – the focus of sexual assault prevention should NOT be on the women who are victims, but on the men who perpetrate.

There are several articles out there that explain the topic better than I can, like this one and this one and this one. But in the end, we all say the same thing: #IBelieveThem

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About kbardswich

Writer. Photographer. Activist. Lesbian. Feminist. Traveller. Voracious learner. Part-time shit-disturber.

Posted on November 2, 2014, in Feminism, Toronto. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You’re right. It’s a systemic problem and your friend’s response was certainly indicative of that, but even so, I sincerely hope she’s no longer considered a friend. Friends like that you do not need.

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