Of every 1,000 sex assaults in Canada, there are three convictions.
In countries where rape is used as an instrument of war and in countries where women march under skyscrapers to “take back the night,” the reasons women stay silent are the same – shame, and stigma, and fear of not being believed, and fear of being hounded, and a desire to just get some place beyond the pain. They worry about what their families will think. They worry about “ruining” the life of a man who is, in many cases, known to the victim. They worry about entering the dark tunnel of the justice system, with no actual promise of justice at the end.
As one of Mr. Ghomeshi’s accusers said this week, “A lot of us are really afraid right now. Afraid of backlash, afraid of what he might do or say to discredit us, afraid of what the public might think, afraid of having our privacy invaded, afraid of having our jobs affected.” Another of the women, who had remained silent for 10 years and spoke anonymously to CBC Radio’s As it Happens, said, “When this came to light a few days ago, it gave me permission to speak, and I thought, ‘Maybe someone will listen to me now.’ Because I don’t think, if I’d said anything back then, that anyone would care.”
Women all over the world are still blamed for the violence committed against them. Think about that ….
They are blamed if they speak out, and if they don’t.
It’s a wonder anyone comes forward at all. It took me personally 4 years of enduring sexual abuse before I let a single word come out of my mouth about what was happening to me – regularly – for 4. Long. Years. After my experiences then with the courts and the justice system, I often wish I had never spoken about it. The guy still walks free. And I have been invisibly marked in a way that anyone who knows me, also knows me as the girl who took “him” to court. Not the girl who was victimized by this monster. but by the one who is the reason he had to go before a judge.
Sad part is that they tend to forget that I, too, had to go before a judge. And most likely, I was more afraid then he was, and HE was the one in the wrong. But that’s how it goes.
I feel a little sting of sadness in my heart whenever I see young girls …. and I wonder when I look at them –
“Is it happening to you too?”