Editorial – Hidden Crimes

It’s unfortunate that acting like a human can preclude you from receiving justice. I’m speaking of the Jian Gomeshi trial. If you’re unaware, CBC personality Jian Gomeshi was accused of sexually assaulting three women, and choking one. He has been acquitted of all charges. His defense was not that there was no violence or sexual action between them, but rather that it was consensual.

With no physical evidence, the trial essentially comes down to who presents the most believable version of events. In his ruling, the trial judge pointed out serious issues of credibility for the women in doing things such as meeting with Mr. Gomeshi after the incidents, not going to the police immediately, and not telling the full story to police at the time. Given our system’s presumption of innocence until beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge found that the women’s version of events did not meet a high bar of believability to find Mr. Gomeshi guilty.

I don’t know if Mr. Gomeshi is guilty or not. Perhaps they did consent. It isn’t disputed that the women went to him willingly, and there are indications that some were warned that he liked things “rough”, but then it comes to a question of degree. And unfortunately, even if he is guilty, the women simply acting like human beings doomed their case. After all, our society is still quite prudish about sex, especially about women who want sex. So admitting to authority figures that you did go to him and were amenable to sex, possibly “rough” sex, but just not to that degree is extremely difficult. That they went to see him afterward does not even strike me as unwarranted. How many women remain in abusive relationships for years hoping that things will improve? Finding a relationship is a very powerful drive, but I’m not sure that hoping a relationship might get better constitutes consent for an act already done. We can be fairly sure, after all, that spouse who get beaten by their partners don’t want to be, even though they may stay with the partners. It’s simply part of being human.

But I don’t know what to do about it either. After all, there almost certainly are people out there who are not above making a false accusation, especially if they feel wronged or if there is a possibility of a significant gain, and we should be careful about assuming for one side or the other. I’ve got no resolution for this, I’m afraid, but it bothers me. Justice shouldn’t be arbitrary, but the world doesn’t give a fig for what it should be. It just is.

Anyway, this issue, check out the second part of our interview with Dr. Shandip Saha, and also our interview with Canada Reads contestant, and former Writer-In-Residence, of AU Anita Rau Badami. Plus, Barb L. has some tax tips for students, and Carla Knipe has some tips to keep your food costs down. We also have a thought provoking Fly on the Wall, plus, of course, reviews, entertainment and other articles to keep you busy this long weekend. Enjoy the read!