Friday 25 March 2016

Because It's 2016: Part 3

Further comment on Facebook from Friend 1:

I'm not sure that the argument about the pervasiveness of patriarchy holds water in this instance..and, no, I'm no fan of Ghomeshi. There were three complainants in this case. Each of the complainants, on cross examination, we're seen to have engaged in behavior post-incident that directly calls into question the veracity of their allegations concerning the incidents themselves. This, in turn, goes to the criminal intent of the accused. Now the criminal law in this country is sufficiently nuanced so that you can still get a conviction on certain classes of crimes against persons without having to establish intent (criminal negligence, for example). But assault (simple, aggravated, or sexual) as far as I know does not admit to this elasticity. You have to prove intent, or you cannot convict.

Maybe we need another class of assault charge in which an accused can't hide behind the "being a fab of rough sex" defense....

My only comment on this is that there is no surprise in the fact that Ghomeshi opted for trial by judge rather than trial by jury.

Because It's 2016: Part 2

From my blog on the Cologne attacks. It has some relevance to the societal constructions that allow the blame-shifting to victims to be the predominant construction of western society (I won't discuss other societies - "clean up the mess in our own house first, I say").

Sometimes the legal system is just an excuse to avoid dealing with the larger social presuppositions of our society. It is the legacy of our western history - scapegoating has been the answer for so long (bah, humbug to René Girard), it is time we really tried to get rid of the larger social construction that enable it.

If we don't then we are all enablers of these travesties of justice.

Comments to my Facebook post:

Male Friend 1: Ok, ok...but it's interesting - and significant - that both the defence attorney AND the law professor that CBC had on as commentators for the decision agreed that it would have been nearly impossible to obtain a conviction on the basis of the evidence as presented and cross-examined! So is this the court's fault or the crown's?
LikeReply38 mins
Sheila A. Redmond The Crown Prosecutor's Office did not represent the women in the best way possible. And no I still do not think that it was predominantly the prosecutor's fault - there is a flaw in the system that has a hard time in a patriarchal society to avoid "blame-shifting" to women (or to male victims) in cases of sexual assault. It is the most blatant example of a society that is still stuck in its Christian past (almost 2,000 years to get it right - enough time already) with respect to women, and over issues of sexuality. Western society - whether we like it or not - is still embued with the fundamental constructions of Christianity as the foundation of its legal systems & we know what Christianity has thought about women over the centuries.
LikeReplyJust now
Sheila A. Redmond
Write a reply...
Male Friend 2: All the judge stated was that there is reasonable doubt as to his guilt based on the conduct evidence and inaccuracies of the accusers. When witnesses/victim testimony are the only evidence, and that evidence is deemed to be less than credible, there is no other choice -in law- than to find not guilty.

It is a fundamental principal of justice that you cannot lock a person away without certainty of guilt.

Agree or disagree with the judge on a personal level, but in legal terms he made the only available decision. This is a justice system dispute, not the makeup of the bench.
LikeReply7 minsEdited
Sheila A. Redmond We'll get to that shortly - the great gender divide on this issue is becoming clearer

Because it's 2016

I haven't commented yet on the !@#$% verdict. I just posted (on Facebook) The Beaverton satirical piece, Ghomeshi Judge: "We must fight against the stereotype that women tell the truth"
And they wonder:
Why women don't come forward,
Why I don't ever try and talk victims that I have counselled over the years into going to the police. I don't worry about the police as much - they are actually much better than they used to be.

But the courts, prosecutors and judges - that's another story

One would have to be a frigging martyr to want to have their previous sex lives, their e-mails and their characters brought up on the stand.
Someone commented to me on the Brock University situation (what is it with history professors - & I thought religious studies professors were notorious for this LOL): "Why didn't she just go to the police - it was sexual assault. They also ranted about Brock's handling of the case.The Brock handling was fairly typical - the professor is gone as far as I can tell. The answer to the person who made this comment would be the Ghomeshi trial and verdict - reasonable doubt, my ass. As I said: One would have to be a frigging martyr to go through all of that to have the assailant found "not guilty".
Maybe this high profile case will change things. I don't have high hopes - not until all these old fart (not age-related old) are gone from the benches of our country. They should all have to undergo serious questioning and training before they judge sexual assault cases.
To quote our prime minister: why? BECAUSE IT'S 2016!!!

Good old-fashioned Christianity: Just in case you thought things were going to change

Pope Francis used an offensive slur for gay men during a discussion with bishops, sources say. ope The Vatican apologized Tuesday “to those ...