Jian Ghomeshi was accused of sexual assault late last week, but Toronto Police are not conducting an investigation.
“Nobody’s come forward,” Toronto Police Constable David Hopkinson said in an interview yesterday, adding, “We have to have a complainant.”
So why are these women who accused Ghomeshi of violent sexual abuse willing to share their stories with the Toronto Star, but unwilling to lodge a formal complaint to police?
Nicole Pietsch, Coordinator for the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) said there are many reasons that victims do not press charges, including alienation, vilification and harassment.
“In our case for the coalition, we frequently hear from women who worry about or in fact faced punitive measures for, not even reporting to police, but sharing with friends and family,” Pietsch said in a phone interview today.
See full interview with Pietsch below
Barbara Kay, a columnist for the National Post agrees, given her own experience with online harassment for some of the controversial pieces she has written.
“It’s unnerving. You’re taken aback by it,” Kay said in a phone interview today, adding that had Ghomeshi’s accusers gone to the police there would be critics to claim it was for attention or a pay off.
“I think they wouldn’t be taken seriously,” Kay said. They probably asked themselves, “If I were to press charges against a star like [Ghomeshi] would I be taken seriously? What’s the cost benefit, here?”
Ghomeshi’s lawyers claim to have text messages and emails that they believe would discredit allegations of non-consensual acts of sexual abuse. These women may also not have felt comfortable in revealing, if true, their interest in BDSM, discouraging them to come forward.
“Nobody wants to talk about rape fantasies that many women have,” Kay said, adding in the case of Ghomeshi’s accusers that, “they don’t want to come forward because in texts and emails, they made it clear that some of these fantasies appealed to them. What happened is that it went beyond their expectations,” Kay said.
The former radio host and co-founder of CBC’s Q defended his innocence in a Facebook post, admitting that he and his previous lovers experimented with BDSM, but that all encounters were consensual and that he is the victim of a “campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.”
Ghomeshi’s PR firm, Navigator has since dumped him, a spokesperson said because “he lied to the firm.”