Halifax rally in support of sexual assault survivors draws nearly 200
Demonstrators call for 'alternative justice' for sexual assault cases
A demonstration in support of the sexual assault complainants in the Jian Ghomeshi trial brought close to 200 people out to the Nova Scotia Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road on Friday afternoon.
The rally was organized by the Mount Saint Vincent University Feminist Collective whose members are condemning the former CBC host's acquittal on charges of sexual assault and one charge of choking. In his ruling, Judge William Horkins said the three complainants provided "deceptive testimony," saying that there were serious deficiencies in their evidence that significantly damaged their credibility and reliability.
Charlotte Kiddell, president of the MSVU Feminist Collective, says the demonstration was held outside the courthouse to show that the system is failing survivors of sexual assault.
"We are here to show our criminal justice system is not working and that we need alternative justice for survivors," said Kiddell.
She said the group wants to see legislative change, and cited work to pass a Nova Scotia private members bill that would introduce new rules on how campuses handle sexual assaults.
The Friday demonstration was in solidarity with others that have been happening across Canada to support survivors of sexual violence. Kiddell said not enough people are believed when they bring forward complaints of sexual assault.
Demonstrators carried signs that read "Stop Victim Blaming" and used sidewalk chalk to spell out "#WeBelieveSurvivors."
A few people took to the steps of the courthouse to talk about their personal experiences with sexual assault. There was a chant in support of Lucy DeCoutere, one of the three complainants in the Ghomeshi case: "We love you, Lucy. We believe you."
Close to 200 people outside Spring Garden Road courthouse in response to Ghomeshi acquittal <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Halifax?src=hash">#Halifax</a> <a href="https://t.co/Tri0MnaLvA">pic.twitter.com/Tri0MnaLvA</a>—@AnjuliCBC