Blaming Marie

Many of you know about Jian Ghomeshi so I won’t go into who he is. He’s just another in a long line of violent men who go after women to prove their dominance. This post is about his female lawyer, Marie Heinen.

Before we go any further, you can read the official judgement here.

I’ll quickly summarize the judgement if you don’t want to read it. Ghomeshi was acquitted. The Judge called the women liars. That’s as simple as it gets.

Marie Henein is being blamed by other women for taking the case. She’s being accused of betraying her sex. I think this is wrong-headed and I’ll tell you why.

Marie didn’t make the rules. She’s not responsible for the law. Blaming her is like blaming a perfectly functioning traffic light for a car accident. The reality is, she did her job and was paid for it. Marie did choose to take the case for money. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The real problem: the law.

I’ve been saying this for years. We have to change the law. Crimes like sexual assault are difficult because the law is set up to fail women. If we switched to a preponderance of evidence standard instead of beyond a reasonable doubt, women would benefit and I believe this will help prevent sexual assault because men won’t be able to use the current system to sit back and watch women get character assassinated. The current system is broken.

Universities in the US are using this legal standard to prosecute sexual assault. Now whether or not you think Uni’s should prosecute these cases on campus is not the issue. The issue is that sexual assault is a crime that usually involves two people and only two sides. This means that trying sexual assault cases usually comes down to character testimony. The victim (usually women) are put on a character trial, not a fact finding trial.

I also think that in sexual assault cases, the perpetrator must testify. Jian Ghomeshi just sat there in court with a smirk on his face while these women got victim blamed on the stand.

Now I’m not a lawyer. I’m a woman who was raped who never went to the police because I knew, like all women do, that it was pointless. I didn’t want to be re-victimized and character assassinated in front of my friends and family and make no mistake, that’s what sexual assault trials are.

Marie Henein is not to blame. The law was created by old, white men who were mostly concerned about protecting their property of which women are considered. Look at the evolution of sexual assault law and you’ll see that men made the law to protect their interests, not the interests of women.

Henein was simply working within a broken system that was never meant to benefit women who are raped and sexually assaulted by men. It’s easy to blame her but I think it’s pointless to do so. If we want to move forward we must change the law.




10 thoughts on “Blaming Marie

  1. It seems to be like that on the whole planet…. and men are even proud of that terrible injustice. Anyway, it is the same in Europe. No wonder it is the most horrible but most unpunished crime ever. Just imagine, you get the blame if a burglar robbed and destroyed your house. Well, what it says is, that all goods are more valuable than a woman’s body and spirit. Law is made by men for men. That’s all there ist to say to that sad and horrible law. So, it is never the character of the men which is questioned. And therefor the women first has to be dead to be believed. It will never change. It only would change, if ALL women would refuse to pay tax to this unfair system. But then, not all women will do that, as there still is not enough solidarity. — And, of course too much fier.

  2. Right, it’s her job to be an advocate. It’s like To Kill a Mockingbird to do your best for an unpopular cause. Buuut…she has to know she’s being paid not just for her legal skills but also for being a personable female face standing next to that scumbag all day and making him look human. Now I know this is often part of the “job” but it does rankle.

    • It’s like if George Zimmerman chose a black lawyer. But, in the end, that choice of attorney reflects on the defendant, trying to make himself look palatable by choosing someone similar to his victim.

      I think I remember that being an unremarked-on trope in Law & Order back in the early ’90s. The worst rapists on trial would inevitably choose a female attorney. I wonder if that has any basis in fact.

      • It was a trope on Law and Order, which was one of my Mother’s favourite shows that I would watch with her. I have recently watched seasons 1-9 online. It’s a fave of mine too. It’s probably one of the best shows ever, one of the classics.

      • It’s a tried and true trial lawyer technique. Basically, your client looks unusual for some reason. But he’s standing next to a respectable person who is willing to be within a foot of him, so he can’t be as awful as
        they say.

        • Exactly. It’s meant to convey just that. Can we blame women who take that role? I don’t think so. I think we need to blame the law because it’s the law that fails sexual assault victims, not the defendants lawyer.

  3. Women blaming Marie Henein ensures the men will as usual be laughing themselves silly because they are not being held accountable for maintaining their Male Supremacist women hating legal system. Henein is a lawyer and she was taught mens’ male supremacist legal system and how to use mens’ tactics of discrediting female victims of male sexual violence.

    Real accountability means going to root of the problem and this means focusing on the men and demanding that their male legal system must be abolished and replaced with one wherein women are automatically accorded fundamental human rights rather than the current legal system which maintains mens’ women-hating lie that men own women because our sex is female!

    But we must always keep in mind the men will continue to offer ‘window dressing’ policies which they claim will magically ‘fix their women-hating male supremacist legal system.’ Time and again these fake policies when put into practice reinforce male pseudo sex right to sexually prey on women and girls with impunity. Knowing this will ensure we don’t fall into men’s trap and believe their lies.

  4. “Marie didn’t make the rules. She’s not responsible for the law. Blaming her is like blaming a perfectly functioning traffic light for a car accident. The reality is, she did her job and was paid for it. Marie did choose to take the case for money. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

    No, she didn’t make the rules; no woman did. But nobody is holding Marie responsible for the male system and its rules. I DO blame her, however, for taking a role in actively and knowingly harming women. She’s been empowered, by a male institution and by men, to do harm to women. She did just that, and she got paid for it. It’s wrong.

  5. Preponderance of evidence is the standard used in civil cases. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard used in criminal cases. So this standard is already in place. You just have to sue a violent man in civil court rather than have him charged criminally, The latter being a crime against the state, not you.

    Yes, civil cases are much easier to prove and result in monetary damages – including for pain and suffering. Criminal cases are much harder to prove as one is innocent until proven guilty. Rightfully so since a guilty verdict can result in imprisonment or execution. This is a safeguard to help prevent innocent ppl from being imprisoned or executed. Since at least 1/3 of ppl in prison are innocent, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

  6. In the USA lawyers refuse cases all the time. I don’t know if that is also true in Canada but I suspect it is. Point is that by taking the case it was clear she agreed with the merits of it and yes, I have a problem with that. Ghomeshi could have as easily hired a male lawyer, he just wanted the PR value of a woman fighting a rape accusation, and she played right into his hands. So no, I’m not impressed with her.


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