Jane Eaton Hamilton

"I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.” – Lillian Hellman

Tag: Jian Ghomeshi

New essays up at Medium!

image by Jessica Poundstone for Gay Magazine

I’m moving some of my essays onto Medium for your reading pleasure! Here’s what’s there so far:

The Pleasure Scale, Gay Magazine, about how, as a near shut-in, I find pleasure

The Preludes to Assault, about a short encounter with Jian Ghomeshi, and sexual violence

The Nothing Between Your Legs, about my non-binary life as a girl in the 1950s; first published in Autostraddle

A Night of Art and Anti-Art, about a walk on beach one evening with Liz

A Challenge to Canada’s Writers and Artists

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.

Jian Ghomeshi … A Raped Canadian Woman is Worth 1/328th of a Man

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 10.11.36 PM

There are an estimated 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year. That is 1,260 rapes every day, 8,821 rapes every week, 35, 287 rapes every month.*

Count them. 460, 000 Canadian rapes a year.

Imagine that. Imagine your day. You wake, you rise, you shower, you eat breakfast, you go to work, you run errands, you pick up kids, you have dinner, you recreate, you fold laundry, you watch a movie, you check the baby, you go to bed, you sleep. 24 average hours. During that time, one thousand, two hundred and sixty Canadian women are sexually violated. Not in the US. Here. In your own country. Some of them, statistically-speaking, in your own town. Some of them, statistically-speaking, on your own street.

And when you have another day like that tomorrow, the kind of day that roles by without exclamation, a new set of 1260 women will be sexually aggressed upon, and mostly by a new set of men, or by repeaters who excaped punishment the last time.

1400 rapists are convicted every year. So if we got to choose how to arrange those rapes and convictions, we could stack the women raped in one day up against the rapists convicted in one year and this is what we’d see.

1260 rapes/day

1400 convictions/year

So if crime and punishment worked here, all the rapists who rape women in the average Canadian day would be tossed in the slammer. Plus we’d put away 140 more from the next day’s rape burden, which would leave only 1120 unpunished rapes that second day. 1260 the day after that. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day.1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day. 1260 the next day.

Does this give you any idea why women are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore?

For every rape–and this is me just guessing here–I’m guessing there are 10,000 Canadian incidents of workplace harassment, street harassment, bus harrassment, harassment at home. Indulge me here. Rape and kidnap and murder are the worst manifestations of what’s going on for women in Canada. But lots of smaller aggressions happen to us all the time. Every day.

That’s called the patriarchy, aka “rape culture.” This is where it shows up what a self-sustaining system it really is. If institutions cut off our ability to respond to these aggressions at every step of the way, whether through mocking us, demeaning us, disbelieving us, telling us we’re crazy, calling us whores, saying we asked for them, saying our skirts were too short, we learn. Not to fight harder. But to give up.

Men have a choice about the patriarchy, at least about whether or not they participate and perpetuate it, but women have no such choice. It’s our birthright. The patriarchy is forced on us, force-fed to us with our Cheerios, and every girl and every Canadian woman has to figure out how to deal with it. Every day we teach ourselves how to get through the onslaught. Every day. When we’re 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70, we are still learning how to deal with it.

Think about this. For every rapist we put behind bars, we let 328 go free. Lawyers tell us that we do this in the pursuit of justice. They tell us that we do this because having one innocent man go to jail is worth … anything.

“Anything” is not just an idea. “Anything” here refers to real women with real bodies with real trauma. It’s been proven in study after study that only around 5-8% of accusations are false.

We should be convicting, at the least, 92% of all Canadian rapists.

We actually convict 0.03% of all Canadian rapists.

It’s not acceptable to this country to have a man slip through the cracks and be jailed for a crime he didn’t commit (nor should it be). But it is more than acceptable–in fact, it is the daily reality, the reality our system of justice seeks–that 458,600 women in this country every year get raped without recourse to justice.

Is sexual assault a crime in Canada or not?

I don’t think it is.

This get-out-of-jail-free card worked for the men who formed our justice system and it is obviously an equation that still works.

People say it’s not that simple.

But it is.

If this system didn’t work for men, it wouldn’t be in place.

Ask Jian Ghomeshi. I’ll bet you that tonight he’d tell you it works very well indeed.

Any way you play the numbers they still add up to this:

A raped Canadian woman or girl is worth precisely 1/328s of what a Canadian man is worth.

 

Reading Stats

*I’m using gendered language but acknowledge that men are raped by women, that women are raped by women, that many Canadians do not identify as either men or women, and that trans people are subjected to high rates of all kinds of violence.

 

 

 

YES

I Didn’t Report Because Fuck You

A Shattering Day for Canada’s Survivors

This morning, Jian Ghomeshi was found not guilty on all charges. The judge: “We must fight against the stereotype that all sexual assault complaints are truthful.”

As a survivor who never disclosed to police, I am devastated on behalf of everyone who knows Jian Ghomeshi, who worked with him, who wondered about him or who didn’t have to wonder about him because they (allegedly) knew for sure.

Maybe this verdict is a different experience for people who haven’t been raped or battered, but for survivors, this is crushing. It is crushing not to be believed, to shoulder the burden of both the assault and then on top of it, the disdain from people you both need and are counting on for support and protection. I send respect and admiration for the women in this case who put themselves through the testifying madness in order to save other women from going through what they (allegedly) went through. I’m profoundly sorry, if not surprised, that it didn’t work.

This morning, Canada should be profoundly ashamed of itself.

Canada Is Raping You

The Preludes to Assaults

Here’s what you can do about Jian Ghomeshi

#violenceagainstwomen  #nonbinaryviolence  #rape  #battering #patriarchy #misogyny #JacksonKatz #JianGhomeshi #hopefortomorrow “@whattodonextIMG_3584

doodle by Jane Eaton Hamilton unknown date

People have been asking me, since my blog post about Jian Ghomeshi and violence against women went viral, what’s next? What can we do with our fury, our deep frustration? How can we stop the patriarchy so that our daughters, granddaughters, sons and grandsons don’t have their lives reduced and shattered by the very societal malaise that fractured our generation, and the generations before ours?

What’s next, folks?

You tell me.

I do know change has to start inside us. First we have to identify what’s wrong, but the next step is to  work to surpass it in ourselves–in our own homes, in our schools, in the fields in which we work, in our institutions, in the government so that we are not part of the problem but part of the solution.

As a first step, watch this Ted Talk by Jackson Katz and pass it the heck on–pass it to every one of the 100,000 people who viewed my blog post, and get them to pass it along to 100 or 1000 more.

There is a will to change sweeping this country, so let’s change.

Jackson Katz’s Ted Talk

 

I support you, women of Canada, women who are surviving him

  Red1

a painting of mine from Feb 2014, Paris

There are no cherry blossoms

Leaves flee from trees: handkerchiefs of blood

submerging in puddles

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