This is part 1 of a 2 part series, join us next week for part 2.
In 2018, you would have felt the far-reaching effects of the #metoo movement. Women’s concerns about sexual misconduct in the workplace, usually a man taking advantage of his position for his own most basic needs and gratification, finally spilt out into the mainstream media and into the courts. It’s an important year to remember where thousands of women finally had the chance to speak up about past crimes committed against them.
It was a sobering year for men. As a man, I was shaken up to hear a few of my guy friends and acquaintances also got caught up in sexual misconduct and assault accusations, which is what today’s episode is about. Today we’ll hear what it’s like being a man on trial for sexual assault charges in Australia, a crime which, if found guilty, could mean up to 14 years in prison, and a future on the verge of collapse.
Hearing this as a friend, I couldn’t help but feel mixed emotions. Someone had felt so affected they had lodged a police report and pursued legal action. Regardless of my friendship with any of them, it was taught to me in law school that no one is guilty until it’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That is, it must be a near certainty that the accused committed the crime, otherwise, the defendant should be found not guilty.
The most important meaning for me in that is that anyone accused is innocent until the court process decides. But I couldn’t help but wonder what happened along the way that led one of my friends, who is intellectually probably in the top 1% of Australia and studied law with me, now on trial for sexual assault in Australia.
What you need to know about Sebastian** is that he comes from the most promising part of Australian society. He’s not the drunken, rough, aggressive type you’d find talking down to women and trying to overcompensate with his machoism or mullet. He’s not the type that you’d find being rude to his now fiancee, losing his cool, or being overly touchy without knowing he is.
He comes from the promising part of Australian society because he’s the son of hard-working migrants from China, he has a shyness or a meekness about him, but an ambition in him that was passed to him probably from his parents and his upbringing, just like mine helped to shape me. The kind of ambition that tells him, if you want something in this world, you should go out and get it, the type that we all had when we were young and naive, whether as a full-on mentality or flickers of ambition before adulthood crushed us. It’s the kind of ambition that made me first try to excel in sales when I was working on my first startup, Beeconomic. It’s the kind of ambition that can look greedy from the outside but on the inside, it’s driven by the personal curiosity to tread through unknown waters, testing yourself with even bigger challenges once you’ve passed a point of no return.
Well, why don’t you judge for yourself? But before we start the interview, I’d like to acknowledge that this is a one-sided story and I pay my respects to the accuser in the trial and apologise to my audience that there is no female representation in this episode. While this is only a one-sided view, I want to reassert my belief in gender equality, and my goal with future episodes is to build a more balanced view of this issue that affects every single one of us. It could happen to anyone. I recently finished an episode on sexism experienced by Singaporean entrepreneur, Krystal Choo, she opens up about how she battles and overcomes sexism.
So take a listen, and keep an open mind, while almost everyone in Sebastian’s life had given up on him at some point he was arrested, listen and make your own mind up about the event that took place and the struggle he’s been through ever since.
**Sebastian is a fictitious name used to protect the identity of the person since his trial is still ongoing.
Music Attribution (CC/Royalty Free)
Lee Rosevere – 03 – Divine Light
Lee Rosevere – 04 – The Rain Falls
Lee Rosevere – 03 – Song Before Sunrise
Lee Rosevere – 02 – Morning Mist
Lee Rosevere – 01 – Sepia Dawn
Lee Rosevere – 04 – Self-Care
Lee Rosevere – 05 – Affirmation
Lee Rosevere – 02 – Taking the Time
Lee Rosevere – 17 – Awkward Silences version b
Lee Rosevere – 13 – Decompress
Lee Rosevere – 07 – Awkward Silences version a
Lee Rosevere – 01 – Introducing the Pre-roll
Lee Rosevere – 08 – Past Catching Up