I had never heard of Jian Ghomeshi, and he's totally unknown in South Africa.
This afternoon I saw a debate on the issue on the Aljazeera channel, and it was interesting to see that he is the major talking point in Canada at the
moment, and what feminists call a wider "rape culture".
Considering that South Africa has often been called the "rape capital" of the world (of any country outside a war zone) the debate was rather
surprising, coming from what many may consider a Northern country with sound gender rights, and even radical feminist movements.
We've had our own high profile cases, such as that of the current President Jacob Zuma, who was found innocent of rape, but still slammed for acting
irresponsibly, however his political support was such that the accusing woman lives in exile now, according to my knowledge.
Most of the rape in South Africa actually happens within groups of the same race and class, with higher statistics amongst the black majority (perhaps
because they are a majority, while others may argue there are cultural factors or social changes in gender relationships that prompt some white, but
especially black men to re-assert their power over women through rape).
While the amount of women whose stories coincide don't bode well for the innocence of this Ghomeshi character, I was however somewhat shocked in how
the "innocent until proven guilty" cornerstone of Western justice was almost completely rejected in the debate - it seemed to go somewhat overboard in
It seems that as long as an accuser is of a "lower social status" and of a group with less historical privileges then any allegation they make must be
That seems to be a general insinuation, and not just leveled at Ghomeshi in particular.
But isn't that a witch-hunt form of justice (allegations without proof)?
So anybody can accuse anybody of rape or sexual abuse, and the accuser must always be believed?
What if some feminist at a university is accused of sexual abuse (and in the twitter discussion there were also some cases of lower class or status
males who claim to have been abused by women from more powerful social positions)?
Wouldn't that bring us back to the worst cases of Satanic-panic from the 1980s, where even elderly ladies were incarcerated in long and drawn out
trials that had no evidence, except some cooky psychologists who claimed we must just "believe the children" because they wouldn't lie (well, they
didn't really, they were just manipulated by adults)?
And then there was false memory, where guided hypnosis created all kinds of sudden, false memories.
I'm not saying that this was the case here, but it is a bit of a warning that allegations are not proof, and this kind of system doesn't really
With heterosexist assumptions thrown out, anyone can be accused by anyone of anything.
Sure, in this case the amount of accusers weigh against the accused (mainly by a social media trial, it seems), but there are sociopaths out there and
haters who can do the same to professors they don't like (for example) and if we must all believe the accusers then they must also be fired.
That could also create a system of abuse and even blackmail.
I was shocked at some of the other celebrity names mentioned, such as Bill Cosby.
Well, I hope all those people who say that one should always believe the accuser know what they are doing, as a general way of dealing with justice
and ruining someone's life in every case simply because you must be guilty of something if somebody historically disadvantaged and "lower class"
accuses you of something.
We still have tribal witch-hunts in South Africa, and people in certain areas and communities can be murdered and have their homes destroyed based on
This seems awfully similar to that, and activists against witch-hunts have a slogan that "Accusation is not Proof".
It is mainly women who suffer from such illegal and fantastical witch-hunts, and how would such arguments from Northern countries impact on their
Many of these women are merely accused because of village rivalries and jealousies over money.
Some people will happily have others killed simply for strategic reasons, a dislike, or competition.
Surely there must be trials with evidence, even if they take into account that there has been bias in the past.
Once again, I'm not familiar with the person or the case, just the way the debate was presented really gave me the impression that the "innocent until
proven guilty" justice system should be abandoned completely, and that any accuser is always immediately right.
Surely that's not a tenable position for human rights either.
As history has shown, the female victims of an accusation based legal system - or trial by rumor and hocus pocus - will always eventually outnumber
edit on 5-11-2014 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)