For immediate release
March 24th, 2016
This morning Judge William Horkins of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled Ghomeshi is not guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
Keira Smith-Tague, a front line worker at Vancouver rape Relief and Women’s Shelter said: “Today’s decision to let Ghomeshi walk free is yet another example of the sexist discrimination of women in our justice system. The victims’ behaviors were the ones policed in this trial, not Ghomeshi’s. We believe the women and so does the public.” Smith-Tague continued: “The Judge accepted the defence lawyer’s arguments which are based on sexist myths about sexual assault: that women lie about rape; that if a woman is a legitimate victim she will behave in a certain way; that any woman who maintains contact with the man who attacked her has forfeited her right to seek justice.”
Sunny Marriner of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre said: “This is what happens in the majority of sexual assault trials. There was no reason to believe this one would be the exception.”
Melanie Sarroino of the Quebec Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (Regroupement Québécois des Centres D’aide et de Lutte Contre les Agressions à Caractère Sexuel) said: “The Jian Ghomeshi trial exposed, once again, the serious failures of the criminal justice system to respond to sexual assault victims. As frontline anti-violence workers we know that the criminal justice system -at all levels- overwhelmingly accepts the version of the abusive men over the truth of their victims.”
Jackie Stevens, for Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax added, “we want to express our deep admiration and respect for the survivors who so courageously came forward in this case. Their willingness to come forward has started a public conversation in our country about the crime of sexual assault, a conversation we hope will help create a safer environment for others to come forward.”