The news of Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal didn’t take long to hit social media. Soon after the verdict was released, many people turned to their screens to stress their opinions.
Many are against Justice William Horkins’ ruling. Support was posted everywhere for the victims.
Hashtags like #IBelieveSurvivors and #WeBelieve Survivors were common trends.
St. Thomas University student, Kaleb Drake was unimpressed with the news and also showed support for the victims.
“I was kinda disappointed actually,” said Drake, “I think we need to move away from the assumption we need to doubt the victim and start doubting the person that’s actually being accused.”
“I think it was ridiculous he was acquitted.”
Drake isn’t alone. More St. Thomas students voiced their support and concerns.
“Well if that would happen to you, how would you react, right?,” said second year student Nora Bertin.
“They’re focusing too much on disproving the victims. And they need to focus more on their story,” said third year, Kathryn Avery.
Jean Sauvageau is a criminology professor at St. Thomas. He views the case a little differently and says that after the inconsistencies the judge had to assess what he could.
“In retrospect hearing the justifications, I think this is what we have to live with as verdict,” said Sauvageau.
Cases like this one, including the Kesha and Bill Cosby are generating a lot of buzz on the topic. Many are now wondering where cases like this leave the justice system as a whole. The popular opinion is in favour of changing how sexual assault cases are handled.
Sauvageau says changes may be coming up. However, it does not necessarily stem from these particular cases. He says the Liberal Government has plans to reassess the system on several different topics, like sexual assault, wrongful convictions and inmates who are non violent.
“Like a number of other decisions in the past few years it does lead to some reassessment of what is it that we do in the justice system, what can we expect from a justice system,” said Sauvageau.
“We can expect something in the first mandate of this government which will take a number of such issues into consideration.”
But when it comes to the responses on social media, he says people are too quick to jump to conclusions.
“People have an opinion on everything, people write tweets in 140 characters or less expressing a very strong opinion on something in which they know nothing,” said Sauvageau, “We have to be careful as a public to trust the system a bit more and/or to inform ourselves way way better before we make public such strong opinions.”