Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Verdict

Earlier this year, I decided to write about my thoughts on the way the public was viewing the celebrity trial of that Ghomeshi character. It ended for the most part last Thursday with the final verdict. Of course it isn't all over for him considering his other trial in June.

The result split people two ways: Those who were relieved the justice system relied on traditional logic, evidence and fact, and those (almost all of whom I've seen are women) who were outraged that the complainants were failed by the system, that they had too much pressure and expectation put on them, that they weren't believed regardless of what they said or contradicted themselves with.

I fall on the relieved end of the spectrum.

I expect that those who are outraged are ready, if they read that, to judge me accordingly and dismiss the rest of what I have to say. So I'll start with their point of view.

There is no doubt that rape or sexual assault is a horrible, almost tragic thing that can happen to you (whether you are man or woman, though the latter gender do tend to get the unbelievable brunt of it). It wasn't a material thing that you were robbed of, like a car or your money, it was your own body, which by nature of the crime becomes the evidence as a whole. It is treated like an object while you are left helpless and silent, essentially.

This is why, as I have said before, policing agencies have to uniformly adopt non-judgmental policies and procedures for dealing with victims of any sexual crime, subject to common sense; if two people capable of their responsibilities and decisions willingly consent to get intimate, and one of them decides afterwards it wasn't a good idea and feels he/she were raped, that does not warrant the activity as such after the fact. The key basis of anything in that nature should be simple: Yes means yes, subject to any needs or boundaries given by either partner, and No means No, regardless of absolutely anything. In any affair or context that could be considered a 'grey area,' those words in that context should be considered the most black-and-white meanings in the English language.

It seems to be generally viewed that while agencies of authority have come some way to improving on this matter, they still have some way to go, and they should make all the effort they can, because we're all human. If the police can have resources and a safe space for those victims, they won't necessarily feel so silenced, alone, and perhaps they won't feel that the only way to deal with it is to either go to the media years later, or withdraw from life, or kill themselves, or turn to vengeance and find a way to punish the person responsible themselves or indirectly. Court hearings and trials should be private and tactful yet thorough and factual. Victims of crimes like this should be able to feel they can rely on a justice system that will support and work for them. This is perhaps a while away, but it must work towards that.

Now I must conclude on my own perspective of this recent case. I am relieved that the judge weighed what evidence and fact he could rely on, and used logic and common sense to arrive at his conclusion rather than a belief system that is unbalanced and warped in one direction.

I'll quickly expand on what I mean when I say that: Women and men are the same species; the only difference is biological and perhaps differences of thought processes. Why they should be unequal or treated differently beyond that is pointless and stupid; why one gender makes more for the same job is stupid, why one may have higher opportunities than the other is ridiculous. Both should be treated equally. I say it's unbalanced because to believe women 'no matter what' on an issue like that gives them power to be able to say anything regardless of whether it's truth or lie. There isn't an argument for believing men no matter what, so that puts men at the same disadvantage that they've always put women. That's not an equal policy - that's merely tipping the scale the other way. It's taking a gender and assuming that it's perfect and infallible when neither are.

The judge concluded that he could not prove the case without a reasonable doubt. Facts were omitted and testimonies were changed and tainted with bias. Mistakes were obviously made, no doubt in part due to the length of time between the assaults and the trial, and due to the complainants having Facebook chats about their strategies and intentions and stories, ruining the purity of each standalone case; correlated together they could have independently created a pattern and running background that could have been highly credible. The protesters will probably say that the victims were put on the spot and cracked under pressure and too-high expectation. The problem is that it was a trial surrounding a minor celebrity, and those always get scrutiny. What they said went into public record; this should have been a lot more private. But it hardly matters, because the purpose of trials and cross-examinations isn't to make someone crack under the spotlight, it's to thoroughly analyze the evidence and facts from every possible angle in order tie up every loose end. It is, among other things, the essential basis for how the justice system works.

I hope that after this mucky affair, agencies do their best to create a system and environment in which victims of assault and rape can feel cared for enough to report incidents as soon as possible, and directly; cases like that should be treated as private and non-judgmental as possible. However, no matter what, in law, an accused is innocent until proven guilty, and your gender alone should not be able to determine such on that sole basis alone, just because one said so verbatim. Nobody is perfect, whether they are man or woman or transgender or whatever. The side of feminism that indirectly says so by protesting that women should be believed 'no matter what' is just as bad as paternalism. Men get raped too, after all, and if a man should face justice for grabbing or groping a woman, so should a woman for doing the same to a man.

Red Cloud
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