Day four of the Jian Ghomeshi trial out of Toronto, Ontario, wrapped Friday and it is the sexual assault trial that all of Canada is talking about, day five is in progress at the time of press. As happens in every sexual assault trial, the witnesses claiming they have been horribly abused by the accused, have been put on trial and are being treated like the accused. Friday closed with a heated exchange between the second witness in the trial, actress Lucy DeCoutere, and defense counsel Marie Henein over emails exchanged between the victim and the accused. As the National Post reports Feb. 8, there was only one reason to discuss these emails, and that was to discredit a very compelling and convincing witness.
As the National Post reported today, it “underscores the growing importance of digital debris” in trials today. To many, that’s exactly what this email exchange symbolized, debris, garbage, that has nothing to do with the fact that Jian Ghomeshi is being accused of choking Lucy DeCoutere.
This digital garbage revealed something else to Canadian court watchers. The email exchanges that occurred in between Lucy and Jian 13 years ago revealed a pattern of a cold and calculating person, Jian Ghomeshi. One of the most frequently asked questions by victims following the trial since is, who keeps 13 year old emails?
As we have learned from Canadaland News this weekend, Jian Ghomeshi did. While Marie Henein did everything she could to make it look like these emails between Lucy and Jian meant consent, Lucy Decoutere held her own and said, no they indeed did not. So as Henein attempted to establish a lack of credibility with this witness with these emails, in fact she accomplished just the opposite for many.
This email exchange between Lucy and Jian actually does resonate to many as the cycle of abuse. And indeed it is. Why would Lucy exchange pleasant, even sexual, emails with Jian after he choked her?
The answer from all abuse survivors everywhere is, because that’s what victims do. It’s called the cycle of abuse. And that, Jian Ghomeshi has “unearthed” as the National Post writes, 13 year old emails reveals something else. That is, the speculation that he was planning on using them against Lucy in the future, to imply consent, should she ever get vocal about being assaulted by him.
In court on Friday, defense counsel Marie Henein tried to say this exchange between Lucy and Jian meant, the assault never happened. Lucy vehemently disagreed with her and said, she didn’t even remember ever writing those emails. Lucy also said she had a very good reason for writing those emails.
Lucy’s reasons that she testified to are consistent with the cycle of abuse. The Canadian Press live updates reported what she said about the emails specifically.
“Keep in mind at this point I’m trying to make Mr. Ghomeshi less of an assaulter and more of a friend. Mr. Ghomeshi assaulted me and afterwards I tried to neutralize it and make it a friendship. I don’t know what to tell you. I wrote to him like a friend because he was someone I was trying to turn into a friend after he assaulted me. And this is not unusual. A number of women have done this thing….People do that. It’s a weird thing, but it’s real.”
Indeed it is. It is called Stage Three of the Cycle of Abuse according to Canada’s Focus on Family. As for not remembering the email? Completely logical. We are talking about events that happened between 10 and 13 years ago.
Since then, this element of her testimony has been something that Lucy DeCoutere has been highly criticized for. How could she be nice to Jian after he tried choking her? Defense counsel Marie Henein tried to make it look like that meant her credibility was done.
But, ask any abuse survivor and they will tell you. They get it. It’s called the cycle of abuse for a reason. It doesn’t end with the first hit, in fact, that’s where it starts.
Or at least the hitting or abuse incident is step number two, according to Canada’s organization Focus on the Family. That infograph can be seen in our slideshow. Step one, the tension between the parties. And yes, that can mean sexual tension.
Step two, the incident. This could include thousands of different incidents, ranging from being alienated from your family and friends in emotional abuse, or hitting. Or, in Lucy’s case, the hitting and the choking. For victim one, it was being punched in the head.
Step three, reconciliation. Or, in Lucy’s case, an email the following day to smooth things over and level the playing field, or, get her power back. Step four, all is calm and forgotten.
Abuse victims believe Lucy because they have lived this pattern, and they see it in her story loud and clear. If anything, the email exchange between Lucy and Jian after the fact reveals the cycle of abuse more clearly than anything else we’ve seen in this trial yet.
Thus, Lucy can take great comfort in the fact that at least 1 in 4 Canadians believe her, because that is how common this assault epidemic is in our country. And according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, 1 in 2 Canadian women know exactly what Lucy is talking about, because it’s happened to them.
But Lucy claims to have “forgotten” the email, people say. It happens. Do you remember the emails you sent in 2003? Unlikely.
So how did Jian remember it? Canadaland released a report this weekend that gives a little hint to that. In their report, they chronicle a cold and calculating abuser, who kept files on his victims. Canadaland says, Jian Ghomeshi has as many as 23 victims, and says the emails that he kept were part of his calculated strategy.
“He seemed to think he had evidence of consent. They [the victims] were certain he did not. The [digital] materials he had were threatening enough to keep most women from going to the police. That threat was realized last week in the cross-examination of Lucy DeCoutere….there have been 23 separate allegations of assault or abuse by Jian Ghomeshi. The current trial involves three women.”
And we know of at least one more. There will be another trial in June, with another victim. Did Jian Ghomeshi keep a file on her too? Probably.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard this. Since we began reporting the Jian Ghomeshi trial, we have been flooded with emails from people that say the same. “My narcissistic abuser kept a file on me and many other women for years, only so that he could use it against me later!”
The digital age has changed the landscape of how sexual assaults are tried. And that’s actually a good thing for victims. Evidence helps to seal the deal on convictions or successes in Canadian courts.
Whether that is evidence in the form of the cycle of abuse afterwards, evidence collected during the exchange, or evidence that the abusers themselves present after the fact, the digital age is helping victims. You would be surprised at how many people admit to being abusive in thinly veiled ways online today. Jian Ghomeshi did so himself with the infamous Facebook post where he wrote his victims consented.
That post has disappeared. It was to many considered just another calculating move on his part to try and “prove” consent after the fact. Canadaland isn’t the only one saying Ghomeshi’s entire persona in the wake of this trial starting is calculated.
Metroland Media in Windsor, Ontario, reported Feb. 6 that every move of Jian’s was calculated according to branding experts. Canadian Phil Pallen, a Los Angeles based brand strategist told the Toronto Star,
“He was like the golden child of the CBC. It took less than a week to literally go from superstar to the most hated man in Canada.”
Pallen says, because of this, Ghomeshi knows Canada is watching. Another branding expert, Diana Bishop of The Success Story Program agreed. She said that because of this, everything from Ghomeshi’s clothing to his attitude is being “tailored to make him seem meek and remorseful.”
Ghomeshi is also reported to make a visit with his mother and his sister every morning in court. He stops by their row, holds hands, says hello, paints the picture of a warm and loving family….of women. It’s kind of weird.
Considering, when he was let out on bail he was ordered to live with his mother. Does he really need to say hello again in court? Apparently it’s a move, according to Diana Bishop,
“It’s absolutely a deliberate attempt to make him look like….obviously women are important to him.”
Bishop also says that she even predicts the outcome of this trial, no matter what happens. She says there’s a good likelihood that a “carefully constructed” apology of sorts will be delivered by Jian Ghomeshi at the end. She predicts it will sound a lot like, “I’m sorry this all happened” and not like, “I’m sorry that I created a path of victims for Canada.” Bishop says what she expects an end statement to look like,
“The shape of that apology would be very well constructed and would have to say how sorry he was that this all happened. It would also have to announce that he’s seeking some kind of therapy, and that he’s dedicating himself to some cause that helps others. The strategy has to start now if Ghomeshi wants a shot at his old reputation back.”
It will take a lot more than a sorry apology on the steps of Old City Hall in Toronto to go from being the most hated man in Canada to, a man with his reputation back. This will follow Ghomeshi for forever. But since he appears to be so good at record keeping, perhaps a job in administration will be good for him?
As Canadaland reported this weekend, he seems to be very good at that. We learned in testimony last week that Ghomeshi kept a 13-year-old handwritten letter from victim two in this trial Lucy DeCoutere. They were not in a relationship, they had not even had sex. Ever.
But he kept her handwritten note for 13 years. Why? Because he knew he had choked her and….there was always that chance…..that it would all come out. And it did.
Canadaland has heard from another woman claiming similar violent acts from Jian as Lucy and witness number one testified to. She has not pressed charges and is not one of the witnesses testifying in this trial. In an exchange to her, Jian Ghomeshi appeared to be reminding the woman that she had consented to violence before their date. Canadaland showed a section of that email where Ghomeshi said,
“It IS about sex. It WAS….i have text messages from you saying you want this…the rough sex…was something you were very interested in..you WANTED it to continue the next day and in subsequent messages and notes. Reread our texts and re-examine our conversations if you wish. I wish for good karma in 2013. Yours, Jian.”
This is how this email reads to victims. Jian translated, “No honey, it wasn’t assault because I said it isn’t. I made sure that you consented first, re-read again, and good luck with your karma.” Do the emails between Jian and Lucy after the incident reflect a pattern of consent, is the question being posed by the court of public opinion. The victim says, no they do not.
And, reading Canadaland’s report this weekend, it seems they reflect an all together different pattern. That of, a very twisted pattern of the abuser. It seems not that Ghomeshi kept files on his girls. Canadaland counted 23 victims of Jian Ghomeshi that have come forward since the scandal broke. The pattern was this.
Jian would entice women through digital technology. Then he would say to them, something along the lines of, “I won’t let you go out with me unless you say NOW that you will like everything that’s going to happen tomorrow.” So he’s establishing consent ahead of time.
Or at least trying to. That’s how an abuser thinks.
What does that mean? Oh he fully intends to be violent the next day. He just wants consent before hand. He just doesn’t tell the girl that this means, it’s possible you might be choked.
As one victim told Canadaland, she thought he just meant fun rough sex, like hair pulling and that sort of thing. She didn’t know he fully premeditated victimizing her.
Then, he keeps files on them all in the event that one of those crazy chicks files charges. You consented!! You knew I was a bad boy!
Unfortunately for Ghomeshi the law doesn’t work that way. The Criminal Code does not look at domestic violence consent like a permission slip for a field trip to the zoo. You can’t book it ahead of time. The Criminal Code defines “no consent”, or, finds someone guilty of sexual assault, when “no consent” applies in any of these situations listed by the Department of Justice,
“Where the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant; where the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity; where the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power, or authority, where the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity, or, where the complainant having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.”
Sometimes it’s really hard to say no. Like for example, when you are being choked. So the law allows for that. You don’t even have to say no. Lucy DeCoutere did victims everywhere proud this weekend when she made sure she got the last word on this with defense counsel Marie Henein.
“He assaulted me and this was how I wrote this email. I don’t remember writing it. Regardless, Mr. Ghomeshi choked me with no consent because he never asked for it. He slapped me with no consent before he never asked for it. That [the emails] doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Ghomeshi assaulted me. Women can be assaulted by someone and still have positive feelings for them afterwards. That’s why there are emotionally abusive relationships that continue.”
She’s 100% correct. Lucy has been heavily criticized for maintaining a relationship with Jian after the fact that was friendly. What the layperson watching this trial doesn’t realize is the small world that is the Toronto publishing world. It’s a small world with a small circle of all the same people, everywhere.
Everyone knows everyone because they’ve all worked with each other at some point somewhere. There’s only so many outlets to go around, and the Toronto market isn’t all that big compared to the international stage. In other words, Toronto is a very small world, in the media business.
Ghomeshi used to brag about that. Everyone in the CBC knew him so he thought that meant everyone in the country did. Canada has something not very many television shows on air in prime time. Trailer Park Boys, the show of which Lucy DeCoutere is one of the stars, happens to be one of them.
It wasn’t a maybe that she and Jian would cross paths again, it was a certainty. She was doing what was best for her, by trying to be the bigger person about it. And was nice to him afterwards.
Lucy testified to all of these things, under oath. The Canadian Press reports she said, under oath,
“I will go out of my way to find a way to not have negative feelings with somebody and so I will spend time with them. I’ve done that lots of times….when I looked into spending time with Jian, I wanted to spend time with him platonically because I knew our paths would continue to cross….I didn’t ever want it to be awkward. Therefore if I could arrange to see him on my terms, that for me helps.”
And yet, so many choose not to believe her. This is absurd! It is absurd because disbelief of that nature is based only on opinion, and not on any form of logic, fact, or law, at all.
It’s not illegal to be polite to someone after they tried to choke you. It’s difficult to understand for those that haven’t been abused. But it’s not so difficult for those that have been abused to believe at all.
Self preservation and survival mode kick in, in stage three of the cycle of abuse. Being nice might keep you alive. If that person had their hands around your neck at one point, do you really want to take the chance to trigger another out of the blue rage event?
No. So this is another reason why abuse victims stay, and why they go back, or why they act nice and polite in the aftermath. It’s the “speak softly around the crazy person” mentality, and it’s why Lucy was nice to Jian, even when he put his hands on her throat again at the Gemini Awards as we previously reported.
There she was, at the Geminis. A hub embodying that small world of publishing. A night that was supposed to be a career pinnacle in her life, one that honoured her work and talent and accomplishments and contributions to Canadian culture.
And Ghomeshi made it about him. Who does that? Someone with a seriously derailed ego. And what does his defense lawyer ask Lucy? Why she was nice to him after that?
What was she supposed to do? How would it have been better for her if she went loco coco on him at the Geminis?
Fortunately Judge Horkins isn’t concerned with what @dingdong123 on Twitter has to say about Lucy’s judgement calls after the fact. He only has to consider the law, and consent. And the criminal code is very clear about that.
Many have chosen to use last week’s trial testimony as reasons her credibility Lucy’s done, but quite the contrary. Lucy had absolutely nothing to gain by going forward with charges and to the very small world of Toronto press. She knew she was against the Jian idol media coalition when she went to the press with her story.
She knew she had nothing to gain. She did it anyway. This weekend a news outlet, the one that fired Jian, ran a story that somebody tweeted Lucy.
Wars are being had, children and women are being killed all over the world, ISIS is trying to take over, but the CBC “broke” the story that Lucy received a tweet from an actress friend. How is that anything other than, exploitation of a victim?
This is just another example of the victim on trial. When our public becomes more aware of what abuse actually is, and what the cycle of abuse actually entails, maybe we will stop losing a woman to it, every six days.
Watch the full statement released by Lucy’s lawyer after Friday’s testimony here, as it contains very important information for sexual assault survivors. It is not Lucy’s judgement calls that are on trial here, it is the actions of the accused, and, nothing else. Do you believe Lucy? Do you believe them all?