To the victims of Jian Ghomeshi...

Jian Ghomeshi has been acquitted of all 4 charges against him. Four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking. According to CBC.ca, in his ruling, the Judge said, that the "deceptive and manipulative" evidence given by the complainants raised a reasonable doubt as to Ghomeshi's guilt. 

I'm not surprised by this. I'm sad. Ghomeshi's lawyer did exactly what she had to do and she did a great job. Now let's get it straight that this verdict does not mean that nothing happened. I'm sure that something did happen. The fact is that his lawyer was successful in discrediting the witnesses testimony. That's the way of the law.

But I should also say that I am a victim of sexual assault. I was grabbed and fondled by a random stranger in a Halifax parking garage in 2001 when I lived the city.

I NEVER thought it could happen to me.

It happened so fast. Only a few seconds, really. I had training in self-defence but I blanked out at the critical moment. I don't remember my reaction or what I said or did as it was happening or immediately after. I just don't. I remember snapping back a few seconds after and then chasing my assailant down the street at full speed and then throwing the umbrella I was carrying about 75 ft ahead of me. Adrenaline pumping. Anger. Rage.

When the adrenaline went away, I continued my evening like nothing happened. My friend asked me if I was okay. I assured her I was completely fine. Really, I was fine. I went to see the movie with my friend and then went back to my apartment. My boyfriend at the time phoned me and asked about my day. I kind of casually mentioned the assault. He immediately got upset and told me to call the police. I wasn't going to, my brain had already filed the incident into the "never think about this again" filing cabinet and I knew that calling the cops would only bring it back.

My boyfriend came over and made me call the cops and sat with me as I recalled the events. I forced my tears. I needed them to believe it was legit, but I couldn't cry for real. I couldn't feel anything at all. Nothing came of it, I couldn't provide an accurate enough description. Weeks later they came with photos and asked me to identify my assailant but I couldn't.

It wasn't until years later after coming to live in Yellowknife, that I realized the extent of the trauma I was suffering due to this incident. I wouldn't wear tank tops, I gained weight, I hated my body, I hated myself, I couldn't walk past the post office or the mall in Yellowknife without experiencing a panic attack that someone loitering outside might hurt me. My relationship with my husband no doubt suffered as a result. I'm glad to say that today, I have overcome the trauma related to my assault, and it wasn't without some hard work.

I'm sad for the women who had to endure this verdict today. I understand how you feel. I understand the confusion and total denial that you felt after you were assaulted. Did that just happen to me? No, let's file this away, let's not think about it ever again. I also understand how you kept in contact with him, and that you wanted a relationship. I understand that your trauma stayed buried for years, only revealing itself bit by bit in your daily life if at all. Not much to notice, as long as you didn't think about it. Until one day it couldn't hide any longer. I understand why you forgot that you reached out to him after the incidents. I understand. I stand with you, as I'm sure does every woman who has ever been the victim of an assault.

I'm quite certain that the Judge who ruled in this case has never been sexually assaulted in his life. He doesn't get it. It's not his fault he doesn't get it. How can he be expected to? And even if he could get it, the law doesn't really allow him the luxury of empathy. If the law required that only people capable of empathy gained by living through an experience could judge on another's experience, then today would likely have been a different story. I wish I had a way to make it better for the victims. All I can say is that I believe you, I understand you and I'm with you.