I do not know what Ghomeshi has done. And I do not believe it’s fair to try someone by public opinion.
But I’m frustrated by articles, blogs, and social media writing as though there is one truth and anyone contradicting is a liar and is therefore not credible, which are mostly directed at the witnesses.
1. Every time you repeat a story, it contains a bit of information that is untrue. Does a conversation like this sound familiar?
“You were there too.” “No, I wasn’t.” “yes, you were! You were standing by the bar talking to a tall guy in a blue jacket you went to school with.” “…no. I was with mom in Hawaii. What’s with all the details?”
2. Two people in a situation may come out with two different sets of stories which are both true. But one set of events that physically happened. That’s why I’m glad this is tried by a judge, trusting in their experience and knowledge. Did she say “no”? Did your hand make a contact with her after she said “no”? BDMS, intentions, what they wrote to each other, and everything else are expected to be different.
This phenomenon is described everywhere you see. But an example might illustrate this best.
In the show Louie S4E10, Louis C.K.’s character Louie tries to get physical with Pamela Adlon’s character Pamela. He physically controls her across three rooms, has his hands under her shirt, the struggle goes on for a while, and holds the door shut and leans over her as she tries to leave. The entire time, she is repeating “no” and even saying “this would be rape if you weren’t so stupid. You can’t even rape well!” She, before she leaves, allows him to kiss her over her mouth where she’d tucked her lips into her mouth. She pushes him away as far as she can, and exits. Louie fist-pumps “yesss.”
Right off, you can easily see, Louie claiming
“She couldn’t have hated it. She let me kiss her.” “I so didn’t want to, and you knew it. I let you kiss me so I could go home.”
Later in the season, Louie and Pamela go into “but you kissed me back!” “no, I didn’t!” (viewers can see her lips remained tucked in). Frighteningly, Louie gives an impression he truly believes Pamela kissed him back.
And they do end up going out and getting into a relationship despite the past offence. Does that mean Louie did not try to rape her? No it doesn’t.
The most unintentionally brilliant part of this episode is that this attempted rape scene immediately follows Louie’s very feminist stand-up routine.
The most striking part of the Louie episode must be the reactions from the actors.
Louis C.K. responded to the criticism saying he and Pamela Adlon were enjoying themselves shooting that scene. The actress Pamela, contrary, recalls noting to Louis C.K. “Someone is going to be angry.”
One event that is on camera. Two stories from the characters. Two stories from the actors. One of them wholly believing he did nothing to violate her does not negate the fact she was violated.