The legal proceedings of the last few weeks have been hard for many and the outcome was more than disappointing, we hear. People felt that the system failed to do justice somehow, that the opportunity to change the social dialogue surrounding sex abuse was missed. The trial may be over but the social commentary is, we’re sure, only just beginning so we wanted to add our perspective to the discussion and we invite you to join us and do the same in the comments section below.
Some saw the trial as a shame, others saw it as a triumph of justice. Those with perspective understand that , classifications of stimuli we receive from our environment. It’s all a matter of perspective and the choice of how you see something, is yours – as it is with any .
Unfortunately, the female complainants did not have enough perspective, or perhaps information, to use the situation to their advantage. Rather than shedding new light on, or adding new perspective to, a common situation, they tried to lie and manipulate to garner support rather than taking the opportunity to expose their truth and start a real conversation about the facts. It didn’t work out for them AT ALL. We can explain why.
Free choice requires real data, information, truth. If your access to information is restricted then your ability to judge becomes impaired, your instincts can be manipulated. The women in the Ghomeshi case did have a chance to make history but, likely because their own access to information was limited and their own judgment impaired, they lied and ruined their chance. Why?
Perhaps due to shame, they avoided the truth and instead tried to influence (manipulate) our perceptions. Did they think we wouldn’t believe that Ghomeshi had hit them if they had admitted that they found themselves attracted to him despite the violence? As unbelievable and illogical as it sounds, that is the truth and their own confusion about their desire for him (and his hands) lost them the case.
What information, or perspective, were the women missing that would have allowed them to take advantage of this trial and ‘win’ the battle, even in the case of an acquittal? How could they have explained their illogical behaviour in a way that would have changed the dialogue, and the way we think, about sexual abuse?
We think the answer has something to do with why Lucy wrote to Jian that she ‘loved his hands’ – or rather, probably, what he knew how to do with them. Our intention is not to shame her but to expose why she wrote those words and that requires breaking more than a few taboos. If we want change this world, we have to think outside the box and try something new: this is it.
Double Standards and Real Equality
To start things off on a light note, please watch this , The one with the Girl who Hits Joey.
And now consider this example from my experience teaching English to kids in Thailand: the case of Hitting in the Classroom.
How do you deal with a crying child who is trying to tell you something but you can’t understand what they’re saying, you can just see they’re crying.
You act it out.
What happened? Did she hit you? *punch, punch*
What? What did she do? …Oh, she pushed you.
And then what?
In my first month, I learned the answer from one of the the K3 teachers, a sassy lil’ Thai woman who is very good at her job. She’s young and, as the Thai say, suay mak, very beautiful, but her class is kept in line!
I was teaching English in her class one day and some kids started fighting. He kicked me!
How did she handle it?
Did you kick him? she asked. The guilty look on the little boy’s face said yes. Kick him back, she instructs the crying boy.
Confused but eager the sobbing boy gathered all his might and kicked the other little boy as hard as he could. I was surprised, it looked like it would have hurt.
The second little boy had braced himself and didn’t flinch, even as the boy with tears on face waited, searching for some sign of a reaction.
It was a draw, fair play.
Ok? Mai bpen rai, (which sounds like ‘maybe lie’), no problem?
Both boys nodded. It was over. I use that tactic every time now.
It was fair play because there was an incident where someone felt hurt, they spoke up immediately, and they told the truth about what had happened. The accused stood the trial of all the other children pointing their finger and nodding in agreement, yes, he kicked him! The punishment was fair and just and everyone moved on with their life.
Just like Joey and Rachel in the FRIENDS clip from above. Can you imagine Joey staying with the girl (maybe because he ‘loved her mouth’…) and then deciding to press charges against her 10 years later because he saw a news story about her on tv? The women in the Ghomeshi case did essentially just that.
They did not speak up at the time, they did not say no to Ghomeshi, they in fact asked for more of his brand of loving, and they did not tell the truth.
Many people, even in light of her dishonesty, are saying #IBelieveLucy. We believe that Ghomeshi may have hit her in a more than playful way and that she didn’t like it but if she didn’t say no at the time, how would anyone, including Ghomeshi, have been able to know? Maybe she did like it! We make no passing of judgement on what consenting adults do behind closed doors.
As former Canadian Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau ironically remarked during the time when a bill was passing to legalize homosexuality and abortion, ‘there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’.
Believing the victims would require them to tell a plausible (at least) story and, according to the oath they swore before testifying, the whole truth. The parts of the story that these women left out destroyed their credibility. If we want to truly #BelieveTheVictim, we have to be able to understand how such an illogical story could be real and that requires the women to tell the truth about the motivation behind their illogical behaviour.
Every time Marie Henein, Ghomeshi’s lawyer, produced another email or letter that contradicted, or, yes, showed a witness’s previous testimony to have been false, social media swelled and roiled with loathing.
Henein was villainized, and those who defended her pitiless tactics were labelled rape-culture-denying, victim-blaming, pro-rapist, patriarchal, misogynist scum (I’m choosing the milder, more printable epithets here).
Those tweeting social media hashtags like #BelieveTheVictims basically argued that, once lodged, the sexual assault complaint itself should be the beginning and end of the judicial process.
The accomplished Canadian author Jane Eaton Hamilton made due process a gender issue: “Some men are up in arms this week, cautioning Canadian women to calm the (expletive) down. Don’t get your sweet little heads all in a tizzy, they say, in Canada we have something called due process. This [kind of harsh cross-examination] is supposed to happen to complainants in court. Ultimately, it protects all of us.
“We, the potentially violated … are saying This is not okay. This is an abridgement of Canadian values and Charter freedoms.”
Neither Hamilton nor all the others who make more or less the same case have explained how exactly the Charter, which actually mandates due process, is somehow violated by due process.
We feel that these ladies and feminists everywhere are missing the key point in this case, a critical reflection of self. If these women did, in fact, not like the violence, the million dollar question is: why did they act as if they had? They did not fight back, speak up, or run away. They came back for more. Why?
We think that if they understood the answer to that question, they could have ‘won’ their case and we think the answer has to do with their lack of knowledge and understanding about their own orgasm. To find out more, watch .
A law student friend of mine, while discussing this case with me, told me that we have moved into an era where consent is required explicitly – from ‘no means no’ to ‘ yes means yes’. So, she said, my argument that they consented due their subsequent flirtatious communication with him was invalid because they did not specifically agree to the violent act before it took place.
Can you imagine, in the heat of the moment, asking ‘can I scratch you a little’?, Or ‘can I bite your shoulder’? No, because it doesn’t always work that way in the moment. Their after-the-fact behaviour is what counts here.
We assert that they came back looking for more because they were (with much love and respect) sexually frustrated and sensed (or had proof!) that Ghomeshi could help them resolve their discomfort. From that perspective, a key issue (at least socially) becomes whether Ghomeshi had ‘secret’ knowledge about their sexuality (their orgasm) that he could have used to manipulate their behaviour, to make them feel confused about their feelings, and to make them, ultimately, act against themselves (as they now claim they did).
Ignorance is not bliss, it’s weakness. Those who understand this will continue to exploit the ignorant until they wake up and realize how they are being manipulated and controlled – through control of their access to pleasure and satisfaction.
Consent v Acceptance
After his sudden termination, “Ghomeshi was quick to fill in the blanks, framing his termination as a high-minded fight over sexual “human rights””. The article goes on to tell how he continued to manipulate public opinion about the case over social media “despite the many telltale red flags [of his story]”.
“Ghomeshi, with the help of Navigator, a high-profile damage-control firm, invoked valued Canadian touchstones: He referenced the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, echoing Pierre Trudeau’s “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” What he called his BDSM sexual practices were likened to scenes in Lynn Coady’s Giller prize-winning book. …Within hours, the post had more than 102,000 “likes” and sparked ardent cries of support for the fallen radio host.”
But his supporters were fickle and quickly changed sides as more women came forward with similar accusations. “By then, Canada’s most overt public shaming was in full swing. Its target: Ghomeshi… [someone] who tweets out support for white-ribbon campaigns.”
The White Ribbon campaign was a campaign to end violence against women. Ha, ironic, isn’t it?
So what had caused public opinion to sway? Why did the public no longer consent to, or accept, what the article goes on to assert was common knowledge about Ghomeshi’s sexual preferences.
Our guess? Simply a public spotlight on what everybody had always known, disapproved of, yet ignored. It is exactly this kind of ignorance, acceptance, and consent-by-lack-of-objection that allows people like Ghomeshi to behave as he did. No one said no! Their lack of objection and subsequent social acceptance, rationally, equates to consent. We can think of many more parallels with teaching kids at school – or training pets – but we’re sure you can use your imagination. Give ‘em an inch…
“In the circles that helped to propel Ghomeshi and kept him aloft, if there was a collective shock, it wasn’t based on the Jian we didn’t know, the Mr. Hyde we never saw. It was based on the Jian many had known for decades—the Jian hiding in plain sight.”
Not only did no one say no, but they knew they should have and this caused them to change their tune as the public spotlight came on. They didn’t want to seem like they were supporting his behaviour, even though they had been, so they were quick to denounce him publicly as soon as the chance arose.
Why they didn’t speak up sooner? Well, simply, fear.
Although Ghomeshi was not the boss at the show, he was the “talent”—and the place operated as his fiefdom of sorts, a workplace with exacting standards and often cruel punishment for those who didn’t live up to them. “The culture was horrifying because of Jian,” says a former female producer. “He was a master of mind games,” says another former staffer. One day, Ghomeshi would be jovial and generous; the next, cold and dismissive. … Everyone bridled—at least privately—at his mood swings and his penchant for playing staff against one another. The predominantly female staff found themselves reduced to tears by his tirades. The trauma and unhappiness within the unit was known within CBC, says a longtime CBC employee not associated with the show. And yet, CBC management never intervened. A producer who has alleged that Ghomeshi fondled her and told her he wanted to “hate-f–k” her reported she was told by the executive producer to try to work around it; Ghomeshi wasn’t going to change. This week, according to CBC News, two more women—one a former Q staffer, another a current CBC employee—alleged Ghomeshi was abusive and sexually aggressive. One was afraid to speak out. The other says she told a supervisor but nothing happened.
The article continues:
But if Q staff saw a pattern of manipulation, it’s easy to see why they didn’t challenge it. … Anyone who disagreed with Ghomeshi could be cut off, says one producer: “If he perceived intellectual disagreement of any kind, he would freeze you out for days or weeks, which would make it impossible to do your job.” People who dared to confront him about his bad behaviour would be targeted. …
There were occasional attempts to deal through official channels. And there was a widely shared view that management were unwilling to, or simply incapable of reining in the man who had become the face of CBC Radio. One former Q staffer saw the problem as systemic: “This whole economy at CBC is screwed up, and this guy took advantage of it. People are on contract; they don’t have secure jobs, and even those who do are led to feel lucky they do.”
So, for fear of falling out of favour, having a difficult work-life, or of losing their job, no one stood up to him. He did well for the CBC so the CBC left him to do his thing. This equates to consent, socially, and from microscale to macroscale, if you can control and manipulate one person, one woman, or dozens, or hundreds, why not thousands or millions?
What secrets do you think the men of the Old Boys’ Club have and use to amass their power and influence? Doesn’t Jian’s story sound familiar, cliché even?
During his university years Jian grew his on-campus fame as a champion of women’s rights: “Word around campus was that Ghomeshi used feminist lingo and his progressive credentials to get women into bed, says Lawson: “We used to treat it like a joke, in the sense that he was so blatant about it.” Men saw Ghomeshi as a “douchebag” with an incredible ego, says a male student who knew him at the time: “Maybe we despised him because he figured out how to use feminism to f–k women. It was obvious to many of us that he was strategically using that kind of sensitive, new-age guy, feminist guy. He was playing the role.”
“But, years before his rise as a feminist hero, he had a reputation as a male feminist pig, at least according to Kerry Eady, who attended York in 1988-89 and lived in Stong residence. Eady recalls attending a meeting with 25 other women convened by female residence advisers at Stong before Christmas 1988 to warn them, after a few women had reported having “bad dates” with Ghomeshi. Those allegations involving hitting; one women claimed she’d been choked in the stairwell.”
So, how, with a 28-year reputation as a douchebag pig, does he still get dates? Why do women not warn each other and run the other way as Lucy testified she did the first time she saw him? What makes these women act against their instinct and better judgement? It must be something very attractive, very enticing, very worth it…
Imagine if someone offered you the best sex you ever had. Wouldn’t you be curious? Wouldn’t you want to try? What would you allow that person to get away with to get the finish you had been waiting for? We think those are exactly the kind of allowances these women made and we think that’s why they feared coming forward. They knew their behaviour meant that this was not abuse, it was fair play.
These women may have traded their safety and dignity for sexual satisfaction, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Better is possible.
Fear v Love and Social Stigma
How do we increase the levels of love in this world? By reducing fear and increasing pleasure. People fear the unknown so it’s time to expose the truth: the mystery of the female orgasm is about so much more than sex.
A key point in the discussion of the Ghomeshi case was the fact that many women don’t report sexual assault because they fear the social stigma of being labeled as a sexual assault victim. They fear the public scrutiny of their actions and their sexual decisions. They fear exactly the kind experience that Lucy and the other women faced during this trial.
What they don’t know is there is a missing link between their behaviour and the whole truth. The truth is, these women did behave irrationally and illogically but the reason was because Ghomeshi had a trump card that he knew how to use to make them act against themselves. If he knew how to give these women sexual satisfaction that they did not understand how to give themselves then he had a very powerful, secret motivating factor that allowed him to get away with behaviour that most other people would not be able to. He used his knowledge to amass power and create his sphere of influence, he became untouchable.
From microscale to macroscale, it happens the same way everytime. Let’s take away the power of secrecy, taboo, and ignorance that fuels the reign of those who control us by fear and restricted access to information and satisfaction. Add your voice, add your story, but tell the truth. There’s no reason to be afraid or ashamed, you are not alone!
Statistics say that as many as 1 in 5 women have actually been sexually assaulted in some way. #RapedButNeverReported was another way for women to release their story and try to take back some feeling of power and control in their life. We are definitely not trying to blame the victim but to empower them by offering our perspective on how they can protect themselves in the future, like taking a physiological self-defence course. SexiLeaks. Physiological self-defence.
Big challenges require big ideas and its easy to see how the dots connect on this one.
By the way, why is sex taboo? When did it all start? Really, we’re asking. Think about it and send us your answers.
Thanks for reading. Much love.