Out of every 1000 sexual assaults, there are three convictions

Sexual assault in Canada

So when people go, why didn’t the women that are accusing Jian Ghomeshi file charges, this is why.  One homeless women I know was raped in Saskatoon and was taken to RUH.  A couple of hours later the emergency room called Jordon up and said, “we forgot to administer a rape kit”.  Can you send her back.  The nurse was then angry when Jordon told her that she had come in, told staff she had taken a shower (okay, she had taken a shower but it’s not like people watch that), and then had gone to bed.  So yeah, even basic human reactions to tragedy are criticized because between the Saskatoon Police and Royal University Hospital, the simple concept of administrating a rape kit was too hard to orchestrate.  In the end, a women doesn’t get justice and you and I both know the perp probably raped again.

What a mess

Jian Ghomeshi

This is from the Toronto Star

CBC star Jian Ghomeshi has been fired over “information” the public broadcaster recently received that it says “precludes” it from continuing to employ the 47-year-old host of the popular Q radio show.Shortly after CBC announced Ghomeshi was out the door on Sunday, Ghomeshi released news that he was launching a $50-million lawsuit claiming “breach of confidence and bad faith” by his employer of almost 14 years. He later followed that up with a Facebook posting saying he has been the target of “harassment, vengeance and demonization.”

Over the past few months the Star has approached Ghomeshi with allegations from three young women, all about 20 years his junior, who say he was physically violent to them without their consent during sexual encounters or in the lead-up to sexual encounters. Ghomeshi, through his lawyer, has said he “does not engage in non-consensual role play or sex and any suggestion of the contrary is defamatory.”

In his Facebook posting Sunday evening, Ghomeshi wrote in an emotional statement that he has “done nothing wrong.” He said it is not unusual for him to engage in “adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission.” However, he said it has always been consensual.

Ghomeshi’s statement said that he has been open with the CBC about the allegations. He said the CBC’s decision to fire him came after he voluntarily showed evidence late last week that everything he has done was consensual. Ghomeshi blames a woman he describes as an ex-girlfriend for spreading lies about him and orchestrating a campaign with other women to “smear” him.

The three women interviewed by the Star allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without consent. They allege he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.

A fourth woman, who worked at CBC, said Ghomeshi told her at work: “I want to hate f— you.”

It’s ugly.

The Star’s interviews of the women were lengthy. The women, all educated and employed, said Ghomeshi’s actions shocked them.

Another woman, who described a similar alleged attack, said that in the lead-up to their date Ghomeshi “warned me he would be aggressive.”

“I thought this meant he would want to pull my hair and have rough sex. He reassured me that I wouldn’t be forced. (Later) he attacked me. Choked me. Hit me like I didn’t know men hit women. I submitted.”

None of the women has contacted police. When asked why by the Star, the women cited several reasons including fears that a police report would expose their names and worries that their consent or acceptance of fantasy role-play discussions in text or other messages with Ghomeshi would be used against them as evidence of consent to actual violence.

Only one of the alleged victims worked at the CBC. She never dated Ghomeshi. She alleges he approached her from behind and cupped her rear end in the Q studio, and that he quietly told her at a story meeting that he wanted to “hate f—” her.

The woman said she complained about Ghomeshi’s behaviour to her union representative, who took the complaint to a Q producer. As the woman recalls, the producer asked her “what she could do to make this a less toxic workplace” for herself. No further action was taken by the CBC, and the woman left the broadcaster shortly thereafter.

Some are saying the women need to come forward.  I came forward and lost my family, many friends, and was labelled a promiscuous slut.  I can give you a lot of reasons why women don’t want to go public.  They have more to lose than gain.

The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault

From Metafilter

While working within the Chicago Police Department, Rebecca Campbell (PhD, Professor, Michigan State University) was told by a detective that “most victims lie” about sexual assault. She, on the other hand, was certain that most victims told the truth. Wondering how both she and the detective could be so certain, she began to do the research to find out. Her work examines how the legal and medical and mental health systems respond to the needs of adult, adolescent and pediatric victims of sexual assault. [Warning for graphic descriptions of assaults]

When she asked how they can be so certain that victims are making a false report, police said:

“The stuff they say makes no sense.”
“I see them hedge, making it up as they go along.”
“They lie all the time. I can tell.”
“No way it’s true. No one would act like that if it’s true.”
“They can’t get their story straight.”

A fifteen year veteran police officer commented, “So no I don’t always believe them and yeah I let them know that. And then they say ‘Nevermind. I don’t want to do this.’ Okay, then. Complainant refused to prosecute; case closed.”

As Campbell notes, “What we know from criminal justice research is that we have a problem with case attrition. Most cases don’t move very far through the system. It’s happening very early on. And now we have some insight into how it’s happening, and we have some important clues about why it’s happening — that there’s something about victims’ behavior that the members of the legal community may not be understanding.”

Campbell then turned to her own education in psychology, along with psychiatry, where they “study the neurobiology of trauma and victim behavior, and how trauma affects memory, cognition, and emotion.”

As she examined the neurobiology of sexual assault, she noted that “there are many different regions of the brain that are impacted by trauma. [...] The first two are neural mechanisms that have to do with hormones and emotions that might be happening during the assault. The second two are neural mechanisms that have to do with encoding, processing, and the memory of the assault.”

By examining what happens inside the brain during a sexual assault, Campbell was able to explain ‘strange behaviours’ like tonic immobility (“essentially an entire shutdown in the body”, also known as “rape-induced paralysis” – the reason a victim doesn’t fight back despite knowing she ‘should’) and how stress hormones make it difficult for the brain to encode and consolidate memories (leading to fragmented memories and difficulty retrieving those memories, and explaining why police felt that stories were ‘sketchy’ or fragmented). Her research addressed “flat affect” and “strange emotions” from victims making reports.

Perhaps most importantly, her research demonstrated how law enforcement interview techniques can either help with memory consolidation or lead to secondary victimization.

Suddenly, the victims’ behaviour made perfect sense…

Watch the webinar here and/or read the transcript here.

One victim said, “After years of blaming myself, questioning myself, feeling tormented, I now understand why I froze every time I was assaulted. It now has a name. I don’t have to wonder why or what’s wrong with me or why didn’t I do anything. I can’t tell you how much relief this article brings me. You must know how much your website and your work helps those of us who have suffered in silent torment and agony. You give us a voice. You give us compassion. You give us strength and hope. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel.”

You can watch an interview with Dr. Campell here.