Jian Ghomeshi has been acquitted of all charges of sexual assault, strangulation, and general perv in a bench trial. In his ruling, the trial judge criticized the trial witnesses quite harshly for being incredible. I hadn’t been following the case much since the weeks after Ghomeshi’s arraignment, having moved on to Kwesi Millington-themed SEhO, so I was surprised to hear that he had been acquitted on all counts, but when I did some light reading after the fact on the trial, the acquittal made good sense. Acquitting a guy, or a friend or a buddy, whose sole publicly named victim wrote him afterwards asking to immediately “fuck your brains out” makes much better sense than believing all victims, as the carceral (or perhaps cryptocarceral) left has been demanding. Lucy DeCoutere’s behavior after she claimed to have been assaulted is bizarre for someone who is sincerely scared of an assailant. In addition to going all softcore Fifty Shades on Ghomeshi over e-mail, she and Ghomeshi were photographed snuggling on a park lawn. Again, this was after the assault. DeCoutere was not financially or domestically dependent on Ghomeshi, so she had no survival interest in returning to his good graces on short order. By her own reckoning at the time, she just wanted to fuck him.
The alt-right hot take on the Ghomeshi thing is that it was a coordinated SJW rape hoax. Less shrill elements, including Mirriam Seddiq, have questioned the credibility of the victims for going first to the media instead of the police. DeCoutere communicated extensively with another complaining victim, against the advice of police and prosecutors, raising the specter of witness collusion. Observers have noted that the complaining victims and their supporters seem to have been surprised that electronic records from the time of the alleged assaults were recovered and presented at trial by the defense. The shoe didn’t fit as comfortably on the other foot, it seems.
Should we believe all victims? Should you believe me if I claim that I was ass-raped by Sasquatch last night? Some rape allegations are credible. Some are not. The testimony against Ghomeshi was extremely impeachable. It raised reasonable doubt. Maybe Ghomeshi committed crimes against some or all of these women, but the case they and the prosecution presented was a fucking mess. Personally, I’m not convinced that he’s factually innocent, his legal innocence aside, and I’m inclined to believe that he did some subcriminally pervy shit around women who made it clear that they were uncomfortable. Carla Ciccone’s story sounds more or less believable, although it makes her look damned craven, but more or less isn’t enough for a criminal conviction under the legal standards of civilized countries. The prosecution needs a stronger case than that. That’s why O. J. was acquitted of murder in his criminal trial, which was infused liberally with Furman for appearances of racism and Ito for dear God can we be done with this shit already, but was found responsible at the subsequent civil trial, under a lower burden of proof and without all the circus nonsense. (Some hold that the Juice was savored by the downtown Community in the criminal trial and squeezed by Westside Whitey in the wrongful death trial. I suspect that this was a minor factor, but hell if I know.) In the Ghomeshi case, the judge very correctly applied the law by refusing to expose a defendant to a sentence possibly in excess of 25 years on the testimony of complaining witnesses who may have colluded with one another or had their memories affected by news coverage of the case.
There are now carceral feminists arguing that DeCoutere stayed in touch with Ghomeshi because women are socialized to be nice to men. Like, that dude nearly choked me to death, but it would be a party foul to be mean to him, so I’d better go chill with him again. First, “You kicked my ass last night, and that makes me want to fuck your brains out” isn’t a pro-forma thank you note. It makes DeCoutere sound like she enjoyed the rough sex. In a rape trial, this is relevant. More broadly, though, is there any room for adulthood in this regime of feels? Like, dude, I’m not chilling with him again because he fucking choked me. Is there any room for that? Women are supposedly tied up in knots because they feel compelled to respect sacred norms of ladylike demureness and politeness around guys who assaulted them. There are women in the RCMP these days. Are they expected to put on this absurd game face, too? “Sure, theoretically, I’d arrest you for bashing that guy over the head with a Molson bottle and then stabbing him with the shards, but that wouldn’t be ladylike, and besides, you might call me a fucking cunt, which would hurt my feelings. Have a nice night, sir.” This is how fucking stupid this stuff gets. Women can be beat cops, homicide detectives, and police chiefs, but some of the same people who most vociferously insist that they’re the equals of men also complain that they can’t forthrightly call out a perv because that would harsh some dipshits’ mellow. Surely this would make Summer Benton want to choke a bitch. Now, that’s a hard Southern broad who would make Ghomeshi giggle like a schoolgirl.
The women who lost friends to Robert Pickton didn’t go running back to him begging for another sweet taste of that hog farm strange. No. They did everything they could think of to try to get a cop, any cop, to take their allegations seriously. Dare I say that that’s how real rape victims act? These women in Ghomeshi’s circle treated his behavior for years as a troubling but ultimately acceptable sort of casting couch perversion, or even a weirdly arousing one, before turning on him. It just wasn’t credible. I know, he sure sounds like a perv, but légalement, il ne dindu rien.
Rob Ford, pray for us and watch over us, big guy. We’ve got some troubles down here.