Too often, we get attention and sympathy by being a victim. If we’re invested in someone being our villain, we must love being the victim. We have to let go of both characters in the story. – Regina Brett
Earlier this week Jian Ghomeshi (story here) was acquitted on all charges of sexual assault. There was quite a fallout from the verdict as the very public case had a public opinion that he was guilty. At first, I had felt angry at our justice system in that they once again dropped the ball on victims of sexual assault. I had then began to feel disparaged of the injustice that these ladies had been served by coming forward in a very public case. Then I began to feel the triggers, the feelings of despair that I get whenever I begin to relate to issues from my past -sexual abuse/assault. I had begun to go down that all too familiar path to life disruption until I was reminded of who the real villain of this story is.
Jian Ghomeshi is a dirtbag, that much is known. While he may walk the streets again as a free man, he will never be cleared in the eyes of public opinion. It may be a victory to him to be acquitted of his charges, but he will never go back to the life he once knew. While it is easy to point the finger at him as being the evil doer (and rightfully so), he is not the real villain of this story either.
The statistics on sexual abuse in Canada are staggering. It is reported that a mere 10% of all sexual assault situations are ever reported. Only 0.3% of all perpetrators are ever convicted! Yes, for every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 3 people will ever be convicted for the crime (stats). Our justice system is failing horribly on those who are strong enough to come forward with their stories of sexual assault. With these kinds of shocking stats; who blames those victims who don’t come forward? While our government continues to drag its feet on stiffer penalties to those who commit these crimes, they too are not the villain here.
While every story has a villain and a hero, so too do the real stories of sexual assault. It is so easy to look at the person committing the assault as the villain. They are easy to identify bad guy right? They are the one who committed the crime! But no, the villain in every sexual assault case are the dark secrets that are kept. The devil-like villain that every victim of sexual assault carries with them until the day they speak out or die. This villain eats at its victims until they either mentally break from the stress or give in and talk. When a victim finally does come forward and talk about their story, they slay that villain. When they do that they become a survivor and in my eyes, they become heroes.
So while Mr. Ghomeshi walks around proud that he has conquered his villain… his villain has yet to rear its ugly head, public opinion will take care of him. The incredibly strong ladies who had come forward with their story are now heroes. They have slain their very dark and very personal secret -their villain; they no longer have the villain chasing them around in their life. They are my heroes!