Saturday, February 24, 2018

As I Was Saying: Jian Ghomeshi allegations open dialogue on sexual violence

November 12, 2014 by Megan Dunn, Camosun College Women's Centre

The sexual violence allegations surrounding former CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi have raised many questions, concerns, and discussions about sexual violence.

The imperative topics here are sexual violence towards women in Canada, the stigma that victims endure, and the measures that need to be taken to prevent further violence.

As I Was Saying is the Camosun College Women’s Centre column (photo by Megan Dunn).

Our society has a distorted view of sexual violence towards women; more often than not, the victim is blamed. As ridiculous as it sounds, victims are blamed for the clothes they were wearing and whether or not they were impaired.

The question often asked is this: did they use poor judgment? I find it astonishing that this is even part of the discussion. If one doesn’t consent, it’s not consequential; there’s no grey area.

Unfortunately, we still live in a society of gender inequality, and research shows that violence of any kind towards women stems from messages that men are more important than women.

This inequality presents a justification for one to believe they have the right to control another using intimidation tactics, humiliation, and sexual assault.

There are some staggering stats on sexual violence towards women in this country: only about 10 percent of all sexual assaults are reported to police, and only a handful of reported assaults ever result in a conviction. Each year, only about 1,500 sexual assault offenders are actually convicted; in 2009, there wer a reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault towards women in Canada.

Those numbers are unacceptable, and they need to change.

Many women don’t come forward out of fear; we need to band together, dismiss the fear, and empower those who are victims of violence.

We need to educate children, create new messages, and abolish gender inequality.

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