Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stranger Than Fiction

Never have I written about an ongoing affair or event happening in the world on here, not properly or directly. I think today I'll start, and with that Ghomeshi trial.

More over, I'm focusing on the way the system appears to work.

I always find conflicting perspectives to be way warped in one tangent than in consideration of most things at once. For example, in gender equality, it should exemplify that both genders are exactly the same, equal, no different, no disparity. It should mean that no, a man shouldn't grab some woman's ass, but it should also mean that no, a woman shouldn't therefore be allowed to do the same while men are punished for it. That just warps it in one favouring direction. Both should be allowed or disallowed to go topless, not one over the other.

The underlying focus I've observed here is whether we should immediately believe a victim of sexual assault no matter what when he/she reports it.

Let's quickly look at the victim here: They were raped. That's a potentially traumatizing thing. Someone has forced themselves upon them, invaded their personal space, and used their body as an object, as something that is uniquely theirs and only belongs to them. Your body is part of who you are, a huge part of your self-image. Its yours to love and protect and yours to give to someone you feel absolutely comfortable with, if you want, on your terms. When someone forcibly violates that and leaves you powerless, it's like you lost a part of yourself because you couldn't protect it. It really doesn't help when there are parts of the world where if a woman is raped, the justice system requires they had five witnesses and evidence that is nearly impossible to produce, and in the end the system punishes the victim.

If this were a better world, the idea that believing a victim no matter what is a wholly possible and unquestionable thing would work. No one ever usually comes forward to report their trauma to authorities of any kind because as soon as they do they're judged and prodded and maybe treated with a horrible, discouraging attitude. Law enforcement works by finding evidence and facts and credibility, and sorting through the fiction to produce an exact breakdown of what definitely happened, to conclude the investigation and mete out the consequences to the guilty party(s). That's not easy when the evidence is your body and what sexually happened to it. Contrast that with a store owner describing someone's face and what they stole to a police officer. So the attitudes of officers and officials needs to be encouraging and tactful, but no less smart.

In my opinion, a victim of rape or assault should be able to swiftly report to authorities as soon as they're stable enough to open up to someone, particularly an officer trained on counselling. And they should be believed no matter what. What makes this questionable, and this is such a sad part of our species, is the ability and willingness of some people to exploit for attention. People who feast on rumours and want a moment in the spotlight, people who want attention whether their issue is real or imagined. Those people do a lot more damage than they might expect, because they discredit any genuine, authentic cases of actual injustice. In terms of this trial, which has been described as 'unusual' and 'strange,' it looks half like the broadcaster committed acts that were considered non-consensual and therefore illegal, and half like a small group of women got together to ruin the man's reputation, sharing messages and battle cries of "decimating" him.

In saying that, I am not deciding either. I wouldn't be surprised if he did what he did. But if those women responded by apparently teetering back and forth and going back for more or doing other sexual things with him, how can that not send mixed messages? They went to the media first, not the police. They gave their tales, and then their tales became inconsistent. They seem to be giving the real reason why it's perhaps not a good idea to immediately believe a victim of assault or rape - if you have an issue and someone has a similar issue, responding by calling the world's attention on the news and having meet-ups and Facebook messages with each other makes it seem like you're a covert unit looking for attention or sympathy regardless of the existence of any issue, by playing with an idea that's not very stable in public opinion - in which case you're destabilizing it.

Rape victims and harassment victims need all the support they can get in their trauma. I doubt you would forget the specific details of what happened if it really happened. They should be believed, and the authorities should be supportive yet smart and proficient in their investigation. Victims should be able to approach authorities without apprehension and fear of being humiliated and judged, because the nature of the crime is so sensitive. It happens in an isolated place, in private, not in public, so no, there are usually no witnesses, which make it hard to investigate and hard not to be insensitive, but having tact and time and support will help. Attention-seekers just undo everything.

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