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Letters: ‘A complete failure for victims of sexual assault’

Maclean’s readers write in


 

He said, they said

As aptly demonstrated in R. v. Ghomeshi the Canadian judicial system is a complete failure for victims of sexual assault (“What Ghomeshi did,” Society, April 11). It begins with inadequate police investigations, continues with inept prosecutorial performances, and ends with misogynistic court decisions. We urgently need separate sexual assault courts with specially trained judges, a burden of proof on a balance of probabilities, and reduced penalties. As is the case in other specialized separate courts, restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution methods ought to be incorporated as potential remedies.

Sandra G. Mitchell, President, Regina Sexual Assault Centre, Regina

Demonstrations against the Ghomeshi verdict were organized in Toronto and elsewhere. Are these concerned citizens trying to take away the presumption of innocence in these cases? Are they hoping for some kind of government interference in introducing extreme measures, such as when dealing with terrorism, in detaining a suspect without a fair trial? Defence lawyer Marie Henein fulfilled her duties in defending her client to the best of her ability. Going after the lawyer as if she had committed a felony or demanding the elimination of the presumption of innocence is simply wrong.

Abubakar N. Kasim, Toronto

I went to York University at the same time as Ghomeshi. I admired his rise to fame and I was a dedicated listener to Q. I was shocked when the CBC fired him. However, when I found out why, my views of him changed completely. I just do not understand how, as a feminist, he can admit to enjoying inflicting violence on women for his own pleasure. He may have been exonerated in the justice system but I cannot ever forgive him for wanting to physically hurt women, “consensual” or not.

Karen Lopez, Surrey, B.C.

Henein did a masterful job, with integrity, as was her obligation. The judge made the only decision possible given the evidence that she meticulously uncovered. The real danger of this trial is the portrayal of women as dishonest and calculating, and the message that the method to keep women coming back is through mistreatment, violence and assault. A deeply disturbing message for our young people and a totally irresponsible play by the complainants.

Nonny Rankin, Montreal

After Ghomeshi’s acquittal, the CBC should consider rehiring its fallen star. Consensual sexual sadism is a private matter. Who better to speak for cultural proclivities in its various and questionable forms than a self-disclosed practitioner whose function was to promote cutting-edge culture and outlier dispositions? Ghomeshi’s “leftist, hip” insouciance was his trademark, promoted and exploited by his employer’s relentless marketing. Rather than damaging the CBC’s brand, reinstating Ghomeshi would polish the broadcaster’s image, demonstrating its vaunted message of compassion.

Arthur Ellis, Winnipeg

It is entirely believable that the witnesses in this trial continued the relationship for complicated psychological reasons, as stated: in an attempt to normalize the relationship and the willingness to believe the defendant was acting out of character, and possibly, they were somehow to blame. The witnesses’ lack of timidity and self-blame will be, hopefully, an inspiration to the thousands of women who are raped or sexually assaulted every year—and also to those in more permanent relationships who believe bad psychological and/or physical treatment is normal, or what they deserve.

Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert, Alta.

Farewell to Ford

Mark Towhey’s article about Rob Ford (“We’ve got to let you go, buddy,” National, April 11) brought tears to my eyes. Ford was someone very rare, an enigma. He was a politician who was a mensch! Despite his flaws, I think he’s raised the bar, for other politicians.

Joseph Paluch, Hamilton

“The meaning of Rob Ford” (National, April 11) fails as an honest, mature and wise dissection of the man. Ford acted like a little boy constantly seeking approval. He bullied his way through life with a mean streak. The one photo of his wife, head bowed and eyes downcast, tells the true story. Rob Ford made his wife stand beside him in humiliation, publicly discussed their private sex life, and the police visited his home numerous times on domestic calls. It is 2016 and the things Rob Ford did, said and acted out are not “acceptable” flaws. They are a shame and speak sadly to the ability of a liar to get as far as Rob Ford did—all encouraged by media hunger for the sensational.

Susanna Uchatius, Burnaby, B.C.

Not-so-welcoming mat

Your infographic “Settling in” (National, April 4), showing per capita rates of Syrian refugee settlement in Canada, was very informative. However, I am unsure if “settling” is the appropriate word for those poor refugees who find themselves in Vancouver. Not only are they poor financially relative to the unaffordable rents in Vancouver, but also because many of them are being shuffled from hotel to hotel. Some have even asked to be relocated back to their refugee camps. Such is the untenable situation, a result of a poorly conceived idea (not even a plan) by the Liberal party, by promising to move 25,000 refugees in such a short time frame, for purely political gain. Shame on you, Trudeau. I wish all our refugees a better beginning to a new life in Canada, than that being experienced by so many.

Peter Coxon, Kamloops, B.C.

The historic Jesus

Bart Ehrman’s questioning of Jesus’s existence, with memory as the basis of his position (“Did Jesus really exist?” Society, April 4), attracts serious challenges. The proximity of the Gospel manuscripts to the actual events is unprecedented: other manuscripts from that era are centuries older than the time of the events. Yet no one seriously questions the integrity of text of historians such as Thucydides, or Plutarch. While it is healthy to question what may have occurred 2,000 years ago, perhaps we should also try to do so with less smugness, as we can’t even resolve who killed John F. Kennedy only about 50 years ago.

F.J. Delibato, Hamilton

Who you calling boutique?

As a retired teacher, I take exception to your editorial negatively characterizing recent tax credit to teachers for school supplies as “boutique” (The Editorial, April 11). That has nothing to do with whether they should or should not be allowed to deduct expenses: Doctors, lawyers, accountants and managers are allowed deductions in spite of their huge incomes because that is considered a legitimate expense. Non-reimbursed expenses are real; it is high time a government in Canada recognized that.

Sukh Dev Walia, Milton, Ont.

Your April 11 Editorial is off-target when comparing the volunteer firefighter tax credit and the tax credit for teachers in the Liberal budget. The vast majority of the 127,000 volunteer firefighters in Canada receive zero financial remuneration for their services, unlike the teachers who, as you note, are well paid. Volunteer firefighters also do not receive compensation for their personal expenses, nor their often-ruined clothing and effects. Volunteer firefighters spend hundreds of hours of their time training and then practising their craft; many lose salary when called away from their regular jobs to attend a fire scene. The difference between some paper and crayons and a full set of bunker gear ($1,500) or a thermal imaging camera ($2,000) is obvious. Given the dangers involved in both professions, comparing teachers and volunteer firefighters is disingenuous at best.

Murray Mills, Volunteer Firefighter, Pugwash, N.S.

How on earth does the fact I’m a widowed senior—making me eligible for a so-called “boutique” tax credit—mean that, in the words of your April 11 Editorial writer, I’m one of the “individuals or families pursuing activities deemed beneficial by the Conservatives”? The death of my husband was definitely not beneficial, unless the implication is that the Conservatives no longer had to provide him with his CPP and OAS.

Lesley O’Neil, Peterborough, Ont.

Praying for freedom

The closure of the Office of Religious Freedom is tragically, more “head in the sand” behaviour from our current Liberal government, who quietly think that somehow religious terrorism from ISIS or others won’t be a regular reality in Canada’s future (“Getting religion,” Evan Solomon, April 11). The Office of Religious Freedom wasn’t just about knowing our enemy better, it was about understanding those who are different, who practice religion, on a deeper level. Isn’t that in itself, a way to describe tolerance?

Chris Woodland, Barrie, Ont.

Not a great job

Your April 4 Editorial quotes a 2004 University of Toronto study showing that 100,000 jobs were lost after the 1987 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, but productivity improved by 15 per cent in sectors that lost their tariff protection. What has one got to do with the other? The 100,000 jobs lost were in the high-paying manufacturing sector, while the increase in production only made big business (not the workers) more money. Employment grew nationwide—in the minimum-wage jobs. Consumer prices fell—only because we were buying cheap Chinese junk that ended up filling our landfills. I say the outcome was hugely negative for Canada.

Lawrence Walker, Celista, B.C.


 
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Letters: ‘A complete failure for victims of sexual assault’

  1. “A complete failure for victims of sexual assault” aptly demonstrates the lack of impartial and open minds in the sexual assault accusers lobby. They still clung to their belief these accusers are ‘victims’. Barbara Kay has sound advice: “let us stop calling women “victims” before we know the facts. Call them “accusers.” It has a much more grown up vibe to it.” (From “Feminist chickens come home to roost at the Ghomeshi trial” ). After all, as Margaret Wente notes: “False allegations are not rare. “Sadly, they happen all the time” says defence lawyer Kathryn Wells. “It may be revenge, jealousy, payback for cheating, any number of things…” In no area of life are we expected to believe some people, unconditionally. There’s no reason why sexual assault should be an exception.” (From “Save us from hashtag justice” )

    The following seven You Tube clips on the Feminism LOL channel provide an enlightening alternative perspective on the so-called ‘victims’
    – “The Truth About Jian Ghomeshi”
    – “Jian Ghomeshi: The collusion to destroy his life”
    – “The Fraud Behind the Ghomeshi Scandal”
    – “Ghomeshi Accusers Are Liars“
    – “Jesse Brown and Kathryn Borel lied about Ghomeshi and the CBC”
    – “Marie Henein v. Social Justice Warriors”
    – “The Ins and Outs of BDSM – The Ghomeshi Files”
    – “The Anatomy of False Accusations Lucy DeCoutere”

    Sandra G. Mitchell: “Misogynistic court decisions”? Such snipes were rebutted by Neil Macdonald in “You don’t like the Ghomeshi verdict, fine, but don’t take it out on the judge” . Similar outcomes would probably have resulted In any other criminal justice system in the free, developed world whenever the trial has the (a) same evidence as the Ghomeshi trial (emails, handwritten love letters, photos, etc.) and (b) the same three untrustworthy accusers (who were deceitful, inaccurate, unreliable, manipulative, even colluding). The police and prosecutors – who were blindsided by all three accusers – were only inept in bringing such a weak case to trial. As Margaret Wente observed: “It was one of the weakest cases that many people have ever seen” (From “Truth and deception: Ghomeshi verdict a good day for justice” ).

    Canada’s criminal law justice system is rated highly in the world according to the WJP Rule of Law Index 2015. None of those few developed countries ranked higher than Canada treat sexual assault accusations much differently. So there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water in order to facilitate witch hunts – when the bath water in this case was these three accusers.

    Christie Blatchford: “Horkins, properly but nonetheless bravely in the current climate, placed the responsibility for the collapse of the case squarely where it belongs – with the three women who were Ghomeshi’s accusers.” (From “Ghomeshi verdict was magnificent, compared to trial by press or social media”). Rosie DiManno: “As witnesses, they were disastrous – deceitful. They failed to seduce the judge. They failed to seduce any clear-eyed spectator. But they certainly tried hard to play the poor victim card.” (From “Ghomeshi’s sex appeal tough to understand” ). Rosie DiManno: “If damage was done to the “cause,” to sexual assault victims, the blame rests with these complainants. Yes, I’m blaming them.” (From “Treating women like victims is not the answer” ). Nothing about these accusers should be inspirational to any legitimate sexual assault accuser.

    It is hypocritical for the sexual assault accusers lobby to be demanding justice and remedies against accused men while remaining silent on accusers proven to have committed perjury under oath. There’s an interesting panel discussion, You Tube clip “Ghomeshi on Trial: Panel Debates Sexual Assault and the Law”

    Karen Lopez: “I just do not understand how, as a feminist, he can admit to enjoying inflicting violence on women for his own pleasure.” Feminists have admitted to rough sex and choosing to be submissive. Furthermore, like other women, many horny feminists – when seeking sexual flings – tend to lust for ‘bad boys’ – and they expect a celebrity conquest like Ghomeshi to deliver mind-blowing casual sex. Read, for example: Mashable “Can you be a feminist and like rough sex?” . Elle “What It’s Really Like to Be a Submissive and a Feminist” . Cosmopolitan “Why Wanting Rough Sex Is More Common Than You Think” . Alternet “Women Who Have Rough Sex: Why It Can Be Liberating” . Youtube “The Ins and Outs of BDSM – The Ghomeshi Files” .

    After all, this is the arts, music and entertainment industry – it’s a relatively promiscuous and kinky community. As a celebrity, Ghomeshi had sexual flings possibly with several thousand women over the past 20 years. Some of these women were probably rougher during sex than he was. It’s plausible that the three accusers were motivated to keep chasing Ghomeshi for more sex flings (even after he humiliated or dumped them after the alleged assaults) because they got greater value from their rough sex flings with him. Eventually Ghomeshi’s book will tell his side of the story, including shocking details about the sexual flings with his accusers, the other rumour-mongers, and the parties seeking to benefit from the publicity.

    Many women have been sexually assaulted. However, the public has been misled by the accusers lobby that exaggerates the number of sexual assaults in Canada. They claim that the number of actual sexual assault reports to police and actual convictions in court are miniscule (3.3% and 0.3% respectively) when compared against their yardstick of 460,000 sexual assaults (mostly-unreported) that supposedly happen each year. However, this is a false yardstick because 460,000 is not a real number (no one knows how many sexual assaults actually happen each year). 460,000 is only an estimate from a 2004 victimization survey of almost 24,000 respondents in which only 330 respondents claimed to have been sexually assaulted (furthermore, these 330 claims included false accusations, women on women assaults, assaults on male victims, and 78% were for minor offences such as unwanted kissing and touching). In fact, this overblown 460,000 estimated for Canada is more than double the estimate for the entire U.S.A. (207,760 in 2005), which has a much higher rate of violent crime overall! Canada should have only around 31,000 female victims per year when using the sexual assault victimization rate from the violent U.S. (e.g., 1.1 victimization rate per 1,000 persons age 12 or older stated in the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Victimization 2014, comprising 0.4% reported and 0.7% unreported to police). It’s possibly lower, since Canadian society is not as violent as the U.S.

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