Following Ghomeshi

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TW: Rape, violence, sexual assault.

In following Jian Ghomeshi’s case, the case brought on Mustafa by Mandi Grey and the case against Amitabh Chauhan by a former medical student, there is a pattern that’s hard to miss: all of the males are visible minorities and all of their accusers are white females. It is a connection that the media seems not to touch upon.

In each case, we are reminded that the women victims are “smart, beautiful, well-educated, wealthy” and other flattering adjectives. Meanwhile, the accomplishments of the accused minority men, in a system set up to serve the white majority, are glossed over.

As a coloured female reading the details more closely, beyond the opinion pieces set forth by The Toronto Star and other such news mediums, I wonder at the logic and fairness. I wonder at times if I am reading a modern day Rama, Sita and Ravana story, where the narrative of the poor helpless white woman at the hands of her dark abuser just seems to resonate too well with the public, and reminds me once again that it is a tough world for minorities.

As a follow up, I Google searched Dr. Martin Sazant, a white medical doctor accused of sexual impropriety with four boys. Dr. Sazant was found guilty by the College of Physicians and Surgeons and had his license revoked in 2009. My Google search produced just two articles on the first page relating to that case. I then searched Jian Ghomeshi and you can imagine the discrepancy.

Most of you will declare that it’s not the same and that’s where I will agree – it’s not the same. Jian was a celebrity. Yet when I searched Dr. Amitabh Chauhan, a non-celebrity, it also produced pages and pages of news articles.

I then thought back to how I reacted when the allegations against Ghomeshi surfaced, and how outraged I was by his abuse of power against these women. As the trial began, I stayed glued to the witness statements, expecting evidence and statements that would validate my outrage.

Instead, I watched as Ghomeshi’s lawyer Marie Heinen’s ripped the accuser’s credibility to shreds. One accuser’s statement that she used a sexy picture to “bait” Ghomeshi drove the message home – that white privilege exists, it exists in the system and it exists in the media.

Sexual crimes are not new. What makes these cases resonate with the public is that they align so well with the general public stereotypes the media has established – that men from minority/coloured populations are barbaric, are abusive and don’t see women as equals.

Ask yourself – if you as a minority woman stepped forward and declared abuse by a powerful wealthy white male, would the opinions be 95% pro you and 5% skeptical (which is my estimate of the Jian Ghomeshi split)? Or would they be a 50-50 split, with you the minority female being dissected to bits based on your appearance, your worth and even your grammar? With people either sympathizing with you or questioning if the male would have been stupid enough to risk so much for so little (the so little being you of course)?

Don’t get me wrong. I think that a 50-50 split is what I would prefer. I think it’s what we as a society should aim for – a sense of doubt. It is up to the system to differentiate the guilty from the innocent, without the media dragging them through the mud. To let facts fall like pebbles on the balance scale and tilt it to the side of the truth.

I am not sympathizing with these men or women until I hear all the facts. I am sorry but I believe that statement makes me more feminist than anything else I could say. I am observing these cases neutrally and have arrived at the following – that that if you are from a minority population and accused of a sexual crime (one you may or may not be guilty of), it sticks with you beyond your verdict.

So perhaps seeing how these cases seem to be unfolding in the media these days, we should establish a publication ban on the accused as well – at least until they are proven guilty.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect TamilCulture’s editorial policy.

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16 thoughts on “Following Ghomeshi

  1. COLORED FEMALE? Its woman of color. Major lesson from this fiasco: Get a written contract with women whom you are going to sleep with. Just to be safe. ALWAYS end your relationship/marriage with women on a good note.
    He could be acquitted, but who would hire him or want to be associated with him? He’s a social pariah now.

  2. Such a garbage and dishonest opinion piece.  Doesn’t really take a moral stand on anything, but uses the article to accuse “the system” of racism.  Then concludes with an unrealistic proposal to ban all publication of any accusation. How do you plan on enforcing this with a free press?  Maybe turn the country into a police state?

    The author compares a sexual abuse case by a non-celebrity white man with Ghomeshi, then agrees it’s not the same..but leaves this comparison in the article…what’s the point of that?  How about commenting on how a minority man who is accused of sexual abuse gets scot free in this “racist system”?

  3. Too many monsters in this story. What we’ve witnessed is simply the unrelenting ways in which the justice system decimates lies.

  4. Vk Krish as color people, we’re allowed to refer to ourselves however we please. Not the way we were taught in academia- another layer created by white, educated, privileged people. Our urge to “correct” proper english use is another form colonial power.

  5. I’m sure Jian Ghomeshi’s infamy is more to do with his unusual tastes than the color of his skin. His established presence on Canadian TV and radio is also a factor.

  6. Why? The CBC dismissed him and he was the one who first made the story public via his facebook post. They reported on the story just like all media outlets after

  7. I mean the CBC dismissed him and ended his career based on these accusations. With this verdict, he should fully be able to sue for the value/life of his contract and lost income.

  8. It’s not the CBCs fault that he was accused by multiple women of assault. As our public broadcaster funded by the government they had to take these allegations seriously. It’s absolutely his fault alone that his career is over and they owe him nothing. Don’t forget there is another case against him coming up later this year.

  9. Aiyo, not disagreeing with any of this. Now that he has a legal precedent highlighting the reason for his termination as being false, he has a litigious avenue to recover lost earnings from that terminated contract.

  10. Well we don’t know the full circumstances around his dismissal tbh. I’m sure the CBC built a legitimate case around him and the dismissal happened before he was charged anyway. Additionally he chose to go on facebook and make this whole thing public before the CBC released anything…and after that more women came forward so he was quite instrumental in his own demise. I hope he doesn’t get a penny if he tries.

  11. Yeup, everything about that is right and doesn’t prevent him from suing. Guess who’ll be taking that case?

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