Tuesday February 09 , 2016

Late for Grace

And let’s face it, the more together a woman is in the aftermath of sexual assault (and I still don’t see where the “sexual” part enters into Ghomeshi’s violence against women, but whatever) the less it matters to those of us finding out about it years later.

But the women coming forward now are just the women who can.

Like I’ve blogged before, my grade eight teacher did twelve years for sexually assaulting many many many girls over his career. Because my name was given to police as a possible victim I got a call from Sergeant So-and-So who asked me, “What do you think prompted victims to come forward so many years later?”

And I remember answering, “Who knows? Maybe one of them was watching Oprah and she suddenly realized, ‘Hey, that was wrong, what happened to me.’ And she started contacting other girls, now women, she knew he’d assaulted.”

That call was twenty-five years after an assault I knew, everybody knew, he committed.

He was caught in the act sexually assaulting a girl in grade six by the principal.

It’s funny, this case, because the usual chorus of man defenders isn’t so loud on account of the man this time was disguised while he committed his crimes as their enemy, the leftish Feminist hipster (of a swarthy persuasion), while the women are slightly less so enemy-ish. And dare I guess, white.

And no one seems to have been traumatized in the way of schoolgirls no one cared about who were sexually assaulted by their teacher, whose only punishment for years was being transferred to a new school where he’d have to start all over again.

No one that we’ll ever hear from, anyway…

 

Clean Epitaphs All Round

Well that was interesting. I came across a smart guy wondering how the accused in a sexual assault trial goes about clearing his name. You know, when he’s found “not guilty” due to “fill in the blank”.

And I kind of couldn’t believe it, given what we’ve just witnessed in the Ghomeshi trial.

The accused clear his name? What about his accusers? How the hell do they clear their names?

But then I calmed down because what does that even mean, to clear your name. As if we can go through life hurting each other as we do but as long as a judge doesn’t pronounce us guilty in a court of law we can go to our graves laying claim to a good name.

And, you know, it’s not as if Ghomeshi is denying he hits women, he’s just saying they asked for it, literally like. And for some fucked up reason a lot of people believe him and think his many female accusers (21?) are all lying.

Why? Why would they lie? If they liked it, why would they say they didn’t? Are they seeking out other men to punch them in the head? No, no they are not.

What a shit show.

 

 

Just 2

One, would it still be “sexual” assault if Ghomeshi had been sucker punching men who were infatuated with him?

Of course, maybe he’d have met his match early on <blam!>.

I wonder if he kept other evidence of his brutality, beyond the emails.

And two, anybody else hear that sigh of relief from CBC management re the email distraction from their abject failure to do anything about his behaviour, apparently known by every Tom, Dick and Mary in media, when he was the celebrity host of Q?

Weird, the emails, eh? Someone described them as trophies, ala a serial predator.

The claws will be out for Lucy. Uh hunh. She showed up a lot of people.

 

 

Gord Works in Mysterious Ways

I was thinking (and tweeting) last night about the Ghomeshi trial for sexual assault. It seems like it’s no different than a trial for sexual assault would have been decades ago really.

His lawyer, who is not about to let being a woman get in the way of being every bit as much of an asshole as any man, I guess, has successfully made it all about the behaviour of the complainants after they were assaulted.

You go grrl. Fuck those dumb bitches for getting punched in the head by your client and then going back for more. Or not. Whatever. Fuck those dumb bitches for acting contradictory like.

Cripes, I hope she never cross-examines me on the stand. I’m going to a potluck later today and if you read the email exchange you’d think I was just delighted to be doing it. Oh my gord, do I! Of course I want to go to a potluck! Thank you so much for inviting me!

Not! I so don’t want to go to this potluck!

That’s the subtext, though, and not visible to the recipient’s eye, only my Beau’s ear.

He doesn’t have to go.

On the surface, in the emails, the pictures, they don’t seem to be acting like the punches to the head put them off him any, do they. In fact, they seem to be acting like they’ll risk more just to have another chance at his company. Except they don’t actually seem to get more of it, do they. And he doesn’t seem to have delivered more of the punches, either. So they were just one offs, like they claim to have been hoping they were, and that deep down he was normal.

Oh, and by the way, where is the sex in all this assault? How frustrating would that have been, eh? To have thought you snagged this real sexy catch (if smarmy boyish hipsters are your type), but then he doesn’t have sex with you, he just punches you in the head and then acts like it never happened, leaving you wondering if it in fact did.

Our courts indulge in pretty one-sided psycho-analysis, if you ask me, which nobody ever does, rest be assured.

You know, I can remember chasing a guy, a real prick, too. But I was so infatuated with him. This was back in my first year of university. Anyway, he was so mean, really awful, but eventually I wore him down and made him my boyfriend.

Oh, and when I say mean and awful, I don’t mean physically violent because he wasn’t that. But he was into stuff I wasn’t into and looking back I realized I managed to avoid doing any of it. I can’t imagine how frustrating that was for him but I’ve come a long way in life to just have plain old straight up sexual relations with a human of the male persuasion, thank you, sir, and I’ll have none of your kinky shenanigans on the side.

Now straighten your pajamas and go to sleep. I must vacuum.

No, he was mean and awful in other ways, having sex with me like I was a last resort, shit talking me to his posse, and later pointing out all my various and sundry flaws, including friends and family.

Meanwhile, a girl who lived on my floor in residence, one of those girls who keeps track of everybody else’s goings on without ever compromising herself with any of her own, said to me after I’d finally managed to make him mine, “You’re like a cat who has her milk.”

Oh my gord I was an idiot back in the day.

But I was, I was like a cat who has her milk. Meanwhile, he would complain I was too tall, my breasts were too small, my teeth were funny. And I would pretend to listen while he went on about Spinoza ad nauseum while all my friends more or less said they’d see me when he dumped me because they couldn’t stand to be around him.

FOR THREE YEARS.

I got a venereal disease from him, he would regularly break up with me during exams, he had me convinced I was an entire inch shorter than I am, that I should have been thinner, I mean the list goes on and on.

If he could see me now.

Then one day we were sitting in the quad, which was unusual because he really didn’t like being seen with me (he thought it impeded his chances of doing better), and he said something about getting married (to me) and having kids (with me) and that he would send them to private school and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Now, he had a litany of complaints about his father, who was an old man when he was born, and his mother, who was the kindest and most giving woman I’d ever met, and both had been very involved in his educational comings and goings at the public schools he ad attended over the years, one elementary, one secondary. In fact, his father was a retired principal from one by the time I was dating him.

Anyway, something clicked in my head when he said the thing about sending our future kids to private school. I suddenly saw him. Us. And I realized it was not going to happen, this future.

It started to percolate around in my  head, this realization that it wasn’t me, it was him. As time went on I realized he’d been telling me that since I first saw him, a short, wiry haired guy with nice hands. Very nice hands. He had been a magician, in fact, and could still do magic tricks.

It’s funny, you know, because I’ve always had at least a bit of a drinking problem, but he would only ever have, say, a beer.

He was always watching his weight but he liked to eat so drinking was out. I just cut out food.

It wasn’t long after that little monologue in the quad that exams came along and he broke up with me again, as was his want. Except when he said it was time to get back together again (after exams) it was too late. I’d met someone else and begun a whole new relationship that would eventually devolve into the usual divorce but in between I very forcefully took the reins and was a homemaking mother of three.

And just to make sure I got enough homemaking mother of three in I stayed at it for a good dozen years. And I volunteered in their elementary school, continuing on reading with grade ones well after my son had moved on to higher grades.

You know, I really was born with a horse shoe up my ass, I’m not kidding about that. My actually quite good judgement was impeded for years by this and that, and the women in the Ghomeshi affair are fine now, too, aren’t they. They’ve come through to the other side, obviously, and this whole thing is shitty but I like how they’re making statements through their lawyers, letting us know that his lawyer did her worst, they did their best, it’s over now.

I think that’s the attitude women need to take, that the chance of conviction is zilch but just keep at it, knocking on the door of our justice system, such as it is, being let in, telling your truth, having everything that happened after dumped into public view, and letting it all go.

One after another and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

Because every little bit helps. It really does. And maybe, you know, a special thanks to Ms Heinen because gord works in mysterious ways.

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence Matters

Holy cow, people – Heinen’s just doing a job like any other defence lawyer would. Her gender is irrelevant. Cripes, her expertise is, too. A monkey could get Ghomeshi off and I’m sure the brave women telling their truth in court know it.

They have lawyers, too, after all.

And yes, I believe them. So fuck off if you don’t and relax, he’ll get off.

But I wonder at CBC’s coverage a bit, I really do. They seem almost eager at the pitfalls of testifying in a sexual assault case and yet CBC executives were rattled enough by what they witnessed in Ghomeshi’s video presentation that they fired him. Instantly. After years of denialist enabling.

Grr. Whatever. Evidence matters.

 

 

Feelin’ Guilty

Okay so I try to do three short walks a day in my new temporary gig because I’m used to doing hour long perambulations with the dog and I want to stay a little bit in shape.

I know, it’s kind of telling that my major concern is keeping some semblance of my ne’erdowell routine from home while I acquire secretary spread at the office, but get off my slacker back.

I told you. I don’t like having to work for money.

And office jobs are such a menace. Although I have to really wring out the complaints for this one because it’s just not that bad, which almost makes it worse. If you’re me, I mean. Easier for you, I guess.

Cripes, I’m even kind of interested in the subject matter.

Today I read the Criminal Code. It has nothing to do with the job but I got sidetracked doing something else and one thing led to another and now I know things I didn’t before.

Who knew how easy law is.

My manager seems super disappointed that I’m not fluently bilingual but I’m like the littlest hobo and will want to move on in a few months anyway so her disappointment just reassures me that I’m okay for now.

Anyway, today I was on my morning break walk around the block and a young man approached me.

“Hi. Can you give me some money? I’m trying to make twenty dollars in twenty minutes.”

So I looked in my purse, shielding it from his prying eyes because I had a loose twenty dollar bill in there I was pretty sure, and found a twoonie and a loonie. So three dollars.

“Here you go, three dollars in about ten seconds so you’re off to a good start.”

“Thanks. Do you have any more money?”

“Well yeah. But I need it.”

“Okay. Have a good day.”

“You, too.”

Oh my fucking god I feel so guilty now. I could have so totally made his day by giving him twenty dollars. Ugh. I’m such a miser sometimes. I even made up for the twoonie already by being cheap elsewhere.

I’ll level with you. I have a bit of an obsessive compulsive thing going on and the first couple of days that I worked I didn’t spend any money at all. I brought everything I needed from home. I also don’t drink coffee or tea at work, just boiled water. And those first couple of days set a pattern.

Anyway, today a co-worker told me that his people believe that a baby cries when he’s born because earlier in the womb he is visited by a spirit who tells him what his purpose in life is. But as he travels through the birth canal he starts to forget what the spirit told him. And when he finally makes it to the other side he cries out because he doesn’t know anymore what his purpose in life is.

And he’ll have to spend the rest of his life looking for his purpose and he might never find it.

Don’t worry, he’s got a million of ‘em and I’ll pass them all along.

 

To the Women Testifying Against Jian Ghomeshi

I’m sure what’s her name is a good lawyer, but I’m not sure a man needs one to get off on charges of sexual assault.

And the media can report that a woman’s credibility has been brought into question under tough cross-examination by the defence, but it really hasn’t.

I believe the woman who testified yesterday against Jian Ghomeshi. Don’t you? Of course you do. I’d have believed her even if she kept going out with him, which she didn’t, and so would you.

Sexual assault trauma is weird like that sometimes. It can play tricks on a person. She can think she deserves it because it happened. But we know all that because we read, we watch, maybe we’ve even had therapy and learned.

Jian Ghomeshi is a violent misogynist in disguise as a boyish hipster and he’s as guilty as fuck. Of course he punched the woman who said he did in the head. Of course he pulled her hair. Of course, of course, of course. And he was enabled by every Tom, Dick and Mary before, during and after the CBC.

So his lawyer is giving him the only defence she can, which is to question memory and motive of the women he sexually assaulted.

Go for it, sister. Shouldn’t be hard to get him off, although I’d keep your distance. He’s a bad date.

Bleed him, at least. Then give the proceeds to a women’s shelter.

Irony.

Anyway, this post is a shout out to the women testifying against Jian Ghomeshe to let them know that we believe you. He’ll be found not guilty, and it will feel like you weren’t, but you told your stories in court, and there’s not much more you can do.

I’d say every little bit helps, but I suspect it doesn’t make any difference. Although thanks for the statement after court yesterday letting us know that you feel unburdened, at least.

There is no justice.

My advice is now to let it go.

Next.

 

Wishing Well

Oh my god oh my god oh my god – it’s Friday! I’m going to wear to work what in any other era would have been a firing offence. No, not jeans – sweatpants!

It’s okay, they aren’t thick with elastic around the ankle, they’re thin and flared. I’ll wear tights underneath them, too. And a permutation of my usual shirt with sweater combo. That’s a carry over from the store where I sold ladies wear looking like quite the dapper (is he or isn’t he) little gentleman.

I’m having a hard time finding fault with this job but you know how I feel about working for money so don’t think for a minute that I’m not suffering in silence.

Here’s my mantra again. Do it for me, please, because I keep forgetting on account of this damned hell shit job is always doing that Jedi mind trick thing on me:

Everything is fine.

I wish everybody well.

It works great while I’m sitting there doing nothing saying it. Of course, as soon as I move it’s chaos again and I hate everybody.

Not you, of course.

 

 

Higher Powers

How does it happen, this routine change from not working to working, that leaves one feeling like it’s been ever thus.

I think today I’ll call up some old co-workers and let them know I’m back baby.

Jesus fucking shit christ hell I’m back.

So I went to a public memorial for my old timey days boss (not really but certainly an unsettled time, unlike now, which is eat sleep work commute, not in that order) and all the swells were there. They were all old when I worked for him so even older now.

Their money insulates them well.

Except Justin, he’s youthful. (JRS, remains spritely, too. I know, name and initials drop much, Sooey!) I just caught a glimpse of him, though, because I arrived late on account of I’m paid by the hour and didn’t want to give up $15.75 to listen to a bunch of speeches by people richer than god.

He’s probably worth it, Justin is, if you’re into positivity, (the computer underlines that word, by the way, because it’s not really a word, I guess) his speaking fees were quite high once upon a time, but I’m not into positivity.

I like Barbara Ehrenreich.

Oh my god and if I never hear an old man give a speech again it’ll be too soon.

I had to endure only one, but he was closer to middle-age, and Aboriginal, so, you know, suck it up, whities.

My friend and I (the deceased’s daughter) yukked it up like a couple of eight-year-old boys, though, all the while. We were really quite bad, now I stop and think about it. But the timing was terrible. I arrived for the canapes and then, noooooooooooo, the ceremonial drum came out and, aw crap, here we go.

She’s the reason I amassed a minor fortune back in the day working for the NDP Caucus at Queen’s Park, so I defer to her tomfoolery.

I was disappointed not to see my old boss, Bob Rae, at the memorial. He’s why I went. If you seem him Sooey Says “hey”.

I know, I know, enough with the name dropping, Sooey! You’re good enuff!

But yeah, while I was working at the NDP, with the best contract ever on account of the union blackmailed the members into giving it to us, I was living with my friend in the same building as Kiefer Sutherland and just paying heat and hydro.

Also behaving badly but having a lot of fun whilst trying to bust up my ex’s relationships (easy) so that I could have him back and resume feeling conflicted.

Do I want him or do I just not want any other woman to have him. Hm. Better get married and confirm what I know, which is that I’m being a total dog in the manger asshole bitch cunt.

Oh well.

I’ve kind of had it with religion, which non-affiliated people refer to as spirituality now. I ignore it in AA because I really really really like the people I’ve met, but I find the Big Book hard to take. The steps, too. The whole program, really.

Very hairshirty stuff.

Also culty, very culty.

But I’m a people person so I’m still down with it and meeting up with other people who don’t drink because we’re alcoholics which is good for what ails me – alcoholism.

I’m totally lame otherwise, though. Don’t tell. This shit’s anonymous.

But seriously, it has occurred to me that AA actually works to help more people than it doesn’t because there’s no profit motive and no cross talking (responding to what someone else says) during meetings.

Don’t tell the others but I pretend my ears are my Higher Power.

 

 

Jump In, the Shit Pile’s Fine

I haven’t followed it, I haven’t read the good judge’s decision, but I did read Dr. Dawg’s blog entry about it. Then I mentioned it to my blonder half and we got into a bit of a debate about it yesterday afternoon.

We’ve never had a fight, my blonder half and I, just the odd bit of debate.

I’m referring to the Gregory Alan Elliott case (of course!) in which he was found not guilty of criminal harassment (of two women) by Justice Brent Knazan.

Now, my brother’s a judge, and I’ve had a conversation or two with him about the law, although I probably had more conversations with him about the law when he was a criminal defence lawyer.

Those guys and dolls (criminal defence lawyers) really have to believe very strongly that every citizen charged with a crime is entitled to a vigorous defence. And for them the impact of their client’s criminal behaviour on society (because they’re ALL guilty), actual harm caused, matters in a way that less involved citizens just reading about a case may not appreciate.

I remember him telling me about a very sad case he had up North. His client, who was homeless, addicted, and had mental health issues, was charged, essentially, with taking a shit in the yard of an elementary school, which he happened to be passing through when nature urgently called.

Other relevant details, it should be noted, were that it was a large yard with green space and a tree behind which he was doing his business – when – a trio of eight-year-old boys happened upon the scene to witness, open-mouthed, this (scarring?) (awesome?) spectacle.

Alas, the court fairly clutched its pearls when this fact was brought to light (going with scarring) and the verdict – guilty – was more or less decided right then and there, no ifs ands or buts.

So my brother’s counter assurance to the scandalized court that, having two boys himself (also two girls), witnessing a grown man defecating in a schoolyard was probably the highlight of their young lives (going with awesome), only served to add a disapproving scowl to the court’s countenance.

The tree, the urgency of the situation, the fact that his client was homeless, suffered from addiction and mental health problems, yadda yadda blah blah, nothing was enough to counter the weight of that trio of eight-year-old witnesses on the scales of justice, and his client was sentenced to a year in jail.

Cripes, from the sounds of it, my brother’s lucky he didn’t end up in jail himself, questioning the witness impact statements however many times removed.

That’s quite a while ago now, a couple of decades anyway, and I’m sure it would be quite different nowadays.

As in, they’d probably both be sentenced to life in prison, client and lawyer.

So back to the Elliott case.

I don’t disagree with the verdict. And of course my blonder half, who is passionate about freedom of speech, doesn’t disagree with it, either. That’s not what we were debating. What we were debating is essentially what we’re often debating, which is what I see as a failure by the gender that still wields almost all of the actual power in our society, to appreciate the freedom gap that exists between their gender and mine in terms of our shared use of public space.

Men (and many women) still scoff at Gwen Jacobs winning the legal right for women to be topless in public (in Ontario), as if arresting and fining or jailing women for something men are free to do is a better reflection of justice.

So don’t get them started on whether or not female citizens should have the legal right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. And that’s in a society that weights he said heavier than she said at virtually every stage in cases of sexual assault.

As an aside, it’s our patriarchal courts that continue to decide child custody cases on the basis that mothers, female, are nurturers and fathers, male, are providers, too, but try telling that to the angry beyond listening men’s rights nutters.

But none of that is what this entry is about because this entry is about the internet being not unlike a rabbit hole to a lot of us. We log on and fall down it and everything that happens therein is as real as real can be. Except that it isn’t, it isn’t real at all. And it isn’t fair of us to expect Normal People (and some of my best friends are Norms) to have to deal with the fallout of our made up games on social media as if it is.

Certainly it isn’t fair to the rest of society for us to be taking up real life court time with it, and one can only hope that the law school curriculum adapts accordingly by never getting up to speed on the goings on down the rabbit hole.

The important consideration almost 99.9 of the time here, down the rabbit hole, is choice, it’s a choice whether or not to engage – not just with others on social media – but on social media at all. Because yes, there are people on social media whose sole purpose seems to be to take a shit in it, so to speak. And not discreetly behind a tree, even, because there are no trees. And they don’t just take a shit and sneak off. They take a shit and then pick it up and start throwing it around. And sometimes, if you’re down the rabbit hole with them, you get some of their shit on you. And some other times, instead of leaving them to it, lesson learned, shit stinks, especially someone else’s, you respond by doing your own bit of business and adding it to the pile.

Enh. Sometimes.

But no, seriously, don’t.

Shit doesn’t have to happen down the rabbit hole.

In any case, whatever, my point is, it isn’t fair to the rest of society that we down the rabbit hole then demand that a judge venture down to wade through the piles and figure out whose shit is whose.

It just isn’t.

So yes, life isn’t fair and if you don’t want to get any shit on you, I’m afraid it’s up to you to take a sniff before getting too close to the rabbit hole, and if it smells like shit, just back the fuck up and log off.