Volume 12 Week 5

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Cosby, Ghomeshi two sides of the same coin

In the past few weeks, two stories have been playing out in the media on both sides of the border involving two male celebrities accused of sexually assaulting multiple female victims. One is comedic icon Bill Cosby and the other is former rising media darling Jian Ghomeshi.

Cosby’s accusers say he fed them drugs for the sole purpose of robbing them of their faculties so he could have sex with them. If the allegations are true, there’s no difference between what he did than someone who jumps out of bush and forces himself on a woman at knifepoint. They’re both rapists.

Which brings me to Ghomeshi whose case is not so cut and dried.

Like Cosby, Ghomeshi is also on trial for sexual assault. But unlike Cosby, Ghomeshi did use drugs to disarm his victims. Nor did he use a knife, or otherwise threaten with physical violence. He disarmed them with his charm and celebrity, which when used in combination, can be just effective as any date drug Cosby may have had in his collection..

In order for Ghomeshi to be found guilty the must prove that the sex he had with his three accusers, which at various times included slapping, punching and hair-pulling, was non-consensual.

The kicker is that Ghomeshi has already admitted to doing all of the above, except the non-consensual part. His defence is that the acts were, in fact, consensual, or at the very least his accusers never asked him to stop.

To that end, his lawyer has been able to present e-mails and other physical evidence in the form of a six-page handwritten love letter from one of his accusers that show that all three of them continued to pursue a relationship with Ghomeshi after the incidents.

Not exactly, the type of response one would expect from a victim, or victims, who just had uninvited, non-consensual relations with someone who had physically assaulted them.

Pretty well anyone and everyone who has been following the trial believe Ghomeshi will be acquitted of all charges and walk out of the courtroom a free man with dozens, if not hundreds, of female admirers willing to share his affinity for “rough” sex.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. Ghomeshi may not be guilty of rape, but he is guilty of sexual degrading the three women who came forward, and likely many more who haven’t done so.

Suffice it to say that we still have a long way to go when it comes to how men treat women both inside and outside the bedroom.

It’s the one reason why I am so supportive of sex education in the classroom, along with self esteem lessons for young girls and gender sensitivity classes for young boys.

My stance is based on my belief that if parents aren’t willing to teach sex education at home we damn well better teach it at school. No so much because you should be worried about your kid, but because you should be worried about the Jian Ghomeshis of the world. And trust me, if they don’t learn about healthy sex in school, these kids are going to turn to the Internet and the plethora of free porn sites that are available at the click of a mouse..

I’m part of a generation of males whose sexual evolution began with the lingerie section of the Sears catalogue, progressed to National Geographic, and eventually ended up by flipping through the pages of a Penthouse magazine found in our father’s sock drawer.

All today’s generation of young, curious, post-pubescent males has to do is turn on their computer and click away. What they can find makes the old Penthouse Forum letters seem like nursery rhymes.

We have to do better. We have to empower our young girls and we have to teach our young men that sexually degrading women, even if they don’t object, is wrong.

If we don’t, we are going to end up with a lot more Ghomeshis and even more victims.

(If you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column please write to Fred Sherwin at fsherwin@magma.ca)

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