Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Six Lessons from the Jian Ghomeshi sex assault trial

Jian Ghomeshi was a somewhat famous radio personality in Canada. In 2016 he went on trial as some (three) women accused him of sex assaults way back in the past. Since it was so far back, all the judge (and jury) had were his words versus theirs. Here was a dominating radio personality versus what could charitably be called as his former groupies. The case attracted wide coverage in Canada and shone a spotlight on sex assault trials, their flaws, and women's rights as a whole.

To add spice to the mix, the lawyer defending Ghomeshi was a woman herself, a brilliant solicitor named Marie Henein. She completely skewered the witnesses and their statements, cast doubt on their allegations and brilliantly defended her client. In the end, Ghomeshi was found not guilty and many feminists turned their ammo on Henein, calling her an anti-feminist and an anti-woman. Another case is pending trial as of this post.

Here's six lessons I drew from this whole saga.

  1. Life isn't fair.

    Maybe Ghomeshi is guilty. Maybe he isn't. We will never know. All we have is that there wasn't enough evidence to convict him based on some doubtful allegations. This is why we Muslims are taught there is a Day of Judgement at the end of Time where God will dispense perfect justice for everything that happened in this life.
  2. Be smart. Shit happens.

    Just because you are right, doesn't mean you will win (see Point #1). Ghomeshi’s accusers ignored some common-sense rules.
    • Don’t talk to the media.
    • Don’t communicate with the other complainants.
    • Try to remember every detail of the assault.
    • Comb over old emails, correspondence or interactions with the accused that could be used to contradict or undermine allegations.
    • And, most important: Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  3. Don't be a slut, regardless of what some (extreme) feminist activists say.

    It has become common now to say being a slut is being "empowered". We have Slutwalk in Toronto where women dress provocatively (or don't dress at all) and go for a parade, and are ogled by bystanders and whistled at, and somehow this is empowering.

    You should never be sending a picture of your naked self to anyone.
  4. Do not lose your objectivity over adulation. Do not be a groupie. Have respect for yourself.

    These women did not stop corresponding with Ghomeshi even after their assault, and continued to speak glowingly about (and to) him, and only turned bitter once they were ignored.
  5. Again, regardless of what some people teach you, if you are a woman - take care of yourself. Be careful.

    Yes, we know it isn't right that a woman ever be subject to a sexual assault. No matter what she is wearing, doing, saying - it isn't her fault.

    Yet, that theoretical principle won't stop an actual assault from taking place. Be careful, be vigilant - always.
  6. Finally, just like I shouldn't support Ghomeshi just because he's a guy, as a woman, any women shouldn't feel the need to help other women just because they are women. Do what's right, always.


Shumaila said...

I am not sure whether I agree with point 3 fully (everybody categories provocative dressing differently- for some it might just be wearing jeans and a tee), but besides that I agree with you. And yes you are right that life isn't fair but everybody finally does have to answer to someone of their own guilt- whether it is to God or to their own conscience.

mezba said...

Shumaila thanks for the comment. I agree that standards of provocative dressing does differ, but a more apt definition would be the mindset. A slut mindset, if you will.