It’s hard not to see the irony in the Jian Ghomeshi trial. That is the three women who came forward may have indirectly contributed to each other’s assaults by (literally) sending mixed messages to the assailant after their attacks.
Why wouldn’t Ghomeshi believe that women enjoyed being slapped, punched in the head and choked in a sexual setting? Why wouldn’t he believe it was consensual? And why wouldn’t he do it again? After all, within days and even years of the assaults, each of these women continued to contact him in a sexually provocative way and one had sexual relations with him the very next day. And then all three failed to mention this until it was thrown in their faces by Ghomeshi’s lawyer.
This was not a situation of domestic abuse where women used survival coping strategies to normalize their abuse. This was more of a “date rape” situation where women tried (or succeeded) in seducing their assailant (after being punched in the head?) and then years later cried foul play.
The legal system is not the problem here. The defence attorney’s expensive shoes are not the problem here. The fact that he could be innocent is not the problem here (by his own public admission he engaged in these activities – we know they probably happened). The problem here is that the wrong women came forward. Maybe now, the right women will. The women who didn’t send Ghomeshi suggestive letters and photos after he assaulted them.
I feel let down by these women. Not by the justice system. And I hope that the fact that their behaviour will likely lead to the acquittal of a dangerous man will not be for nothing. I hope it will lead to a rethinking of women about how they react when sexually assaulted.
What’s worse than doing nothing? What’s worse than not going to the police? Trying to seduce the man that’s just assaulted you. Telling him the assault made you want him more. And then years later claiming that you forgot that you did so or were confused or trying to normalize a traumatic experience. That’s what’s worse.