Ghomeshi is guilty. There is literally zero chance that all of these unrelated women just happened to decide they should get together and try to ruin Jian Ghomeshi’s life. A misogynist, survivor hating court may have fucked up on every possible level, but that in no way changes the fact that Ghomeshi is guilty and his accusers are telling the truth. Lucy DeCoutere is not a liar. Reva Seth is not a liar. Neither are all of his other victims.
The reason I didn’t title this post “Ghomeshi is Guilty,” even though he fucking obviously is, is that I want to include all survivors.
I believe you. You are telling the truth. You didn’t make it up. You are not overreacting. I believe you.
I also want you to know that fractured, missing, non-linear and/or otherwise confusing memories are a normal and common reaction to assault and in no way prove that you are lying. In fact, I think having a common and normal reaction to assault is another piece of evidence that you were in fact assaulted. Trauma very often fucks up your memory. This is a normal way for the brain to react to trauma. To quote another article about trauma and memory:
Memory loss is a natural survival skill and defense mechanism humans develop to protect themselves from psychological damage. Violence, sexual abuse and other emotionally traumatic events can lead to dissociative amnesia, which helps a person cope by allowing them to temporarily forget details of the event. A person will often suppress memories of a traumatic event until they are ready to handle them, which may never occur.
If you remember some parts of an event but not others, if you remember bits and pieces and don’t know what order they go in, if you remember different pieces at different times, that’s a sign you were traumatized, not a sign that you are lying and frankly it’s incredibly embarrassing that judges don’t know such basic fucking stuff about how the brain handles traumatic experiences.
It’s also normal to “not appear upset enough.” Some assholes assume you’re lying if you’re “too freaked out”, other assholes will assume you weren’t really harmed if you appear calm. Emotional detachment and numbness is another totally normal way the brain tries to protect itself. While it’s common for trauma to fuck up your memory of the traumatic event, that doesn’t mean everyone experiences memory disturbances. If you remember every detail and can recite them all on command all that means is that your reaction to trauma is different from some other people’s reaction to trauma.
It also doesn’t mean shit about whether you were or were not traumatized if you have contact with the person who assaulted you after the assault or if you don’t describe your experience as assault until later. Taking myself as an example, I didn’t call what my douchebag ex-boyfriend did emotional abuse until years later. It took a long time for me to be ready to admit that’s what it was. It’s very often easier to believe that you’re just terrible and deserved it than that someone who said he loved you doesn’t really care about you at all.
Instantly labeling an experience abuse and acting on that knowledge is really fucking hard to do. Nobody wants to accept that someone they care about and thought they could trust doesn’t actually give a shit about their wellbeing. It takes time to come to terms with that, and in that time it’s very common to pretend as hard as you can that everything is okay. Even if you do a really good job of pretending, that does not mean you are actually okay or that what was done to you doesn’t count or that you weren’t harmed. People react to trauma in all kinds of counter-intuitive ways.
If you’ve been hurt, you deserve an expert’s help. RAINN has a long list of resources for sexual assault survivors, including a link to HotPeachPages which has a massive list of resources for people outside the US. You can also check out the PTSD Association of Canada, the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs PTSD site (just remember that your trauma and symptoms still count even if you weren’t literally in a war) and their online PTSD coach. There are also a shitton of apps on the Google Play Store that could help and presumably on the iOS App Store too but iTunes is a real dick about links so you’ll have to search for PTSD on your own. I haven’t tried those apps and freely admit I’m not any sort of expert, but I think they could be a useful first step if you’re not ready to talk to a human yet or if you’re one of the many who can’t get therapy for whatever reason. And don’t forget at least some therapists will work with you over the phone or over skype if you can’t physically get to them.
No one resource is going to be right for everyone whether it’s a website, app, actual human therapist, medication, or anything else. If you find one that’s not right for you, you are not the problem. Just keep googling until you find something that works for you.
And if you’re not ready for therapy yet, that’s okay too. This post and all those resources will be here when you are.