Supporters stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors after Ghomeshi verdict

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Jian Ghomeshi, former CBC host, was acquitted of all charges of sexual assault today. He had been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking to overcome resistance, all of which he plead not guilty to.

"We are not surprised, but we are outraged," Hilla Kerner at the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter told rabble. "We're disappointed and we're angry and we think the most important message from this judgment is that the criminal justice system is not giving women justice."

Lenore Lukasik-Foss, Chair of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) and Executive Director of SACHA agreed and told rabble "the verdict was not surprising given the stats we know about conviction rates, particularly in historical sexual assaults and when folks are in a relationship of any sort."

Last night, a rally organized by Vancouver Rape Relief, took place outside CBC Vancouver offices to support victims of sexual assault and those who came forward during the trial.

Tonight a similar rally and march organized by RSU Centre for Women and Trans People will take place in Toronto and countless other actions are being organized across the country.

Supporters of sexual assault survivors are also using #WeBelieveSurvivors to stand in solidarity with women speaking up about violent experiences and share their reaction to the verdict. Use this hashtag to find an event near your city.

The outcome of this case arguably sets precedent for future cases of sexual assault, particularly as sexual assault survivors are often hesitant to come forward about their experiences.

"We're very concerned that how this is going to play out for survivors is that the message is loud and clear that your behaviour will be under the microscope. What you do before and after your experience of abuse or assault is going to be analyzed and that the person who has perpetrated the violence or abuse -- they don't even have to take the stand. None of their behaviour is scrutinized," Lukasik-Foss told rabble.

In fact, nearly 80 per cent of sexual assaults currently go unreported to police in Canada.

"For many years now women have been really worrying from coming forward and speaking to police and facing trial," said Kerner. "This case, unfortunately, is reinforcing women's worries."

The bravery of those who did choose to come forward in this trial has been commended by others.

"The bravery of these women who refused to be silent and insisted on being heard…and tried to seek justice and hold these men accountable is also very important," she said. "Many women are encouraged with that."

Survivors of sexual assault can call rape crisis centres across Canada to seek support or to express their feelings as a result of today's verdict in a safe, supportive place. Lukasik-Foss emphasized that sexual assault and rape crisis centres are available 24 hours a day to provide support, and are available to discuss this case and verdict specifically.

"I want survivors to know that they are not alone," said Lukasik-Foss "There are people here who believe them and who are there and want to offer support and that the criminal system is one system but it's not the yardstick of truth and there are other avenues of support and healing."


Family and friends who know someone dealing with sexual violence should listen without judgement or expectations of a formal report and find safe spaces to seeks additional support, said the OCRCC in a statement.

If you are in need of immediate emotional support or a safe space, please consult this directory for all Rape Crisis Centres in Canada for an organization near you.


Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.