THE BLOG

It's 2016, We Can Do Better

03/25/2016 08:39 EDT | Updated 03/26/2017 05:12 EDT
Rene Johnston via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - MAR 24. Ghomeshi verdict. Cleared of all charges. Marie Henein,(r) defence attorney for former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi was successful in this high profile case. (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

As Canadians we pride ourselves on being different from Americans. We read about high profile cases like OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson, and we naively believed that it could never happen here.

Forgetting the specifics of Ghomeshi himself -- the optics of his case are important because of what they communicate to young women.

Our justice system is designed to protect the guilty. We are more concerned about potentially tarnishing someone's reputation than we are about potentially protecting victims.

We live in a world controlled by status and power. A male celebrity who can afford a boutique top lawyer can be acquitted, whether he's innocent or guilty.

Women know that if they experience abuse, not only will no one believe them, but highly respected women will be waiting both to defend their abuser, and to humiliate them for their own financial benefit.

If the verdict of the Ghomeshi trial has taught us anything, it's that feminism is more relevant than ever.

In a post-verdict exclusive interview with Chatelaine magazine, Lucy DeCoutere said that: "the way it was presented was designed to shame me. [Henein] was trying to break me down....I've never felt so bad about being myself than I do now....She was able to instill in me a feeling of self-loathing."

If the verdict of the Ghomeshi trial has taught us anything, it's that feminism is more relevant than ever.

As women, we need to start taking responsibility for perpetuating a status quo that in no way serves our interests. We may not have invented misogyny, but when we perpetuate it on other women, we do far more damage to ourselves than any man could.

If you go out of your way to hurt another woman's chances of success, if you take credit for her ideas, or sabotage her instead of helping her, you are perpetuating misogyny.

If you see sexual harassment happen right in front of you in the workplace, and you look the other way because it's easier to pretend you didn't see it, or worse, you tell your colleague she's exaggerating, or that's just how men are, you're perpetuating misogyny.

If you doubt or don't believe a woman when she tells you she's been abused, or harassed or raped, you are perpetuating misogyny.

If you accuse another woman of being hysterical overly emotional, or crazy, you're perpetuating misogyny.

If you doubt or don't believe a woman when she tells you she's been abused, or harassed or raped, you are perpetuating misogyny.

If you make or believe statements like: "Having a pair of breasts, in other words, doesn't entitle the owner to unquestioned belief", you are perpetuating misogyny.

If you believe a woman's choice of clothing implies that she's asking for anything, if you believe that a photo of a woman wearing a bikini is any worse than one of her wearing a suit, you're perpetuating misogyny.

If you believe that a women's sexual history affects her credibility, if you believe that the number of partners she's had has any bearing on whether or not she's been assaulted, you are perpetuating misogyny.

If the issue of consent is a grey area for you, as a 2015 study found that it is for two thirds of Canadians, you're perpetuating misogyny.

We need to treat each other with more compassion, love and respect.

We need to be more empathetic. If we are lucky enough to have never been sexually assaulted, harassed, raped or harmed, we need to be able to imagine how it would feel to experience that, and then be accused of lying.

We need to remember that over eighty per cent of sexual assault incidents occur in the home.

We need to understand why it's hard for women to just walk away. We need to provide support without judging them.

It's 2016. We can do so much better than this.

If like me, you feel sick about the outcome of this trial, we can, at the very least, use this as an opportunity for introspection.

There are 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada ever year and only 0.003 percent lead to a conviction.

We need, in an intelligent, and thoughtful way, to genuinely support each other.

It's 2016. We can do so much better than this.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Jian Ghomeshi Case: A Timeline