It’s been three weeks now since, along with many of you, I followed the live Twitter feeds coming out of the Toronto courtroom where Mr Justice Horkins read his decision in the Ghomeshi case.
What we expected
Of course we were expecting acquittals. We knew that the failure to disclose information about subsequent contact between the complainants and Ghomeshi – as well as direct contact between two of the complainants – was going to bring the prosecution down, given the intense focus of our present criminal justice system on forensic detail – perfect recall, 100% consistency of information regardless of relevancy, and a requirement of full disclosure of anything at all that could possibly have such (legal) “relevance”.
(Do we ask someone whose house blew up 10 years ago what color socks they were wearing that day? And if they get the color wrong, do we say that this undermines their claim that their house blew up? Please.)
What we did not expect
But perhaps like you, what I was not expecting – and was shocked and upset by – was the extent to which Justice Horkins’ decision publicly disparaged and humiliated each of the three women complainants. Horkins J.’s unnecessary and offensive at-length personal commentary about the women crassly reinforces stereotypes of women as “hysterical and unbelievable” when they speak out about sexual violence.
This has been really hard
Let me say openly here that the three weeks since the decision came down have been incredibly hard – and I am sure for many of you reading this also. Continue reading