I met Jian Ghomeshi decades ago. He was still in Moxy Fruvous. I think it was at the Casbys. Just a hello and a goodbye. Not a blip on my radar or me a blip on his,
I was surprised when he surfaced at the CBC hosting a national show. I’d listen occasionally. It wasn’t bad, just not my thing.
And then he exploded all over the news with allegations that he got sexual kicks by beating up women. He lost his job after reportedly showing a graphic video to his bosses in a bid to prove consent. Just fun and games.
His trial began this week and two of the victims have taken the stand. This is a tough case because it’s years after the fact; there’s no forensic evidence; no photographs or hospital records. It really is he said/ she, she, she said. It will be up to the judge to decide whether there is reasonable doubt. The problem is that the first two witnesses kept in touch with Ghomeshi after the alleged assaults—flirty pictures and flowers. Experts say this isn’t unusual, that many sexual assault victims try to normalize the event. That may be true but at the same time, it erodes their credibility. You weren’t terrified then but you are now, years later? You said he struck you without your consent, choked you and then you sent him flowers?
The narrative pivots from what he allegedly did to how they reacted to what he allegedly did. That’s what the defence has done by digging up all the emails and letters. (What does it say about the accused that he kept gushing fan letters for years?)
I am so conflicted about this trial. I believe these women were assaulted. I also question if there is enough proof to convict. What if the defence doesn’t call Ghomeshi to the stand? The judge will be left to decide the case based on the testimony of the victims who, in some eyes, didn’t behave very victimized at the time.
I am also conflicted about the defence lawyer Marie Henein. Should I applaud her for doing such a good job or should I resent her because she’s tearing into the victims? But that’s her job right? To defend her client? Which opinion fits into my feminism?
The third victim is due to take the stand on Monday.