Statistically speaking, Ghomesi’s not guilty verdict only sort of exonerated him of his alleged crimes.
The women who testified against him at his trial are but 3 on a list of women who’ve come forward with tales that Ghomesi is a sexual predator and serial sexual assailant.
Their testimony was riddled with supposed contradictions and apparent collusion that has only helped fuel the belief of those who cling to the myth that women falsely accuse men of sexual assault at higher numbers than the factual reality.
The vast majority – 92% at minimum – of reported sexual assaults are true. That’s a fact. It can be looked up and verified.
But, there is a large segment of society (predominantly male) who prefer to push the lie that most men accused of sexual assault are innocent and victims of “lying women”.
The heart of what has come to be termed “rape culture” flourishes because so many men can’t, or won’t, confront the truth about their gender, which is that men labor (still) under a cloud of misinformation about women and consensual sex that they picked up from dubious sources and continues to passed from one generation of men to another.
It’s 2016, but the list of fallacies about women, how we react in any given situation where relationships and sex are concerned, is still stuck in the misogynist past.
Despite what we now know about how victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse behave in the aftermath of their assaults, men, the media, the judicial system, law enforcement and religious groups with a variety of agendas continues to ignore the facts.
The fact is that victims often behave inconsistently after they’ve been assaulted for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes it’s denial. Understandable given the stigma that is still attached to having been sexually assaulted. And it’s difficult to deal with the shock of what’s happened – often at the hands of someone known to and even trusted by the victim. It’s normal to not want to believe you’ve been a victim and to try and restore a past state that has been erased by a violent betrayal of trust.
Often it’s shame because society still believes that victims can/should do more to prevent themselves from being victimized. Ridiculous, I know. We don’t ask victims of muggings why they were walking where they were or why they didn’t fight back after all.
There is fear factor too. Victims can still be at risk of repeated abuse by those who assaulted them, and with social media these days, it is all too easy for victims to be shamed and vilified by people they don’t even know. Not to mention, but let’s, push-back from family, friends, co-workers (their own and their assailant’s) and the community they live in.
Finally, law enforcement remains mostly clueless about how to deal with victims in a way that doesn’t re-victimize them, which is a problem our justice system suffers from as well.
Sexual assault is a minefield because we still see it as “sexual” rather than assault and society cannot seem to shed the idea that bad things only happen to bad people where sexual assault is concerned.
I am not surprised by the Ghomesi verdict. Growing up female, I learned quickly that men will always be believed and women will not be when it comes to sexual assault and domestic abuse. And not much has changed since I was a kid back in the seventies except that we talk about it now where we didn’t back then.
But talk is mostly all it is.
We still have no consensus on what must be done. and there continues to be undue burden on women to “prove” they are worthy of being believed rather than facing the reality that this litmus test is what allows sexual assault and predators to continue victimizing people.
I kind of hoped that my daughters would live in a safer world than I grew up in but that’s not really happening. Today is simply more proof of that.