In this difficult week of MAU (Misogyny As Usual), when Jian Ghomeshi has signed a peace bond after already being acquitted of sexual assault and one count of choking, I’ve read many heartbreaking, raw accounts of women’s* encounters of violence at the hands of men. There is an outpouring of rage in response to the verdicts, and why wouldn’t there be?
Some solutions have been suggested: working to bring our justice system into alignment with the more functional and respectful sexual assault courts of the UK; thinking about alternative justice as a kinder, gentler way to mediate these cases. Personally, I like my idea of victims of this kind of treatment suing the feds over the abridgement of their women’s Charter equality rights, and this is an idea that could go wider and include women whose equality rights are abridged every day by Canada’s hatred of women.
What we need, it seems to me, besides, urgently, an inquiry on misogyny, is our creative people to put their best minds to work at developing solutions. We can’t leave systemic change up to the legal system, where things are hidebound. Lawyers have had misogynistic legal regimes drilled into them like fillings.
So this is my challenge to Canada’s writers, artists, musicians: come up with ideas and get them out into the public sphere.
I guess what I fear is what I saw after the case itself was complete–women stopped demanding change. We are exhausted, demoralized, literally and figurately beaten back by violence and fear and compassion. We go back to our lives. We think it’s impossible. The system is broken; the system never changes. We realize how little has been altered there over the years and how impossible it is to enact change inside a system that’s functioned as a male-bastion since its beginning.
None of us know what to do, exactly.
But what I’m telling you from my activist days is this: DO SOMETHING.
*I note as always that women also suffer violence at the hands of people besides men, and that ciswomen are not the only victims of violence.