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.