Why the attacks on Jian Ghomeshi are of no help to abused women

So far this week, Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party, apologized for supporting Jian Ghomeshi, apparently in response to the threat that ‘no woman in Canada would vote for her.’

Judy Rebick, publisher of rabble.ca, Q media panelist and all-round hell raiser removed a post from her Facebook.  The post, the link to an article by her media co-panelist on Q, Jonathan Kay, Whatever jian ghomeshi did with women, his show was a stunning accomplishment  turned out to be so offensive, she apologized for originally posting it.

Two of Canada’s most formidable feminists are in retreat.

I think we can safely say that Jian Ghomeshi is now a certified pariah. He is such a pariah, in fact, that anyone hinting at a suggestion of supporting him is accused of condoning woman abuse. His shunning is unparalleled. To utter a passing ‘hold on, wait a minute here’ is tantamount to not believing women when they say they’ve been assaulted, which quite suddenly, is a serious crime, in and of, itself. Such is the power of this suggestion that even people who’ve benefitted from being on his show refuse to have their heads turned.

At the same time, on this very day, thousands of women with thousands of scars and many more stories have visited courtrooms, police stations, emergency rooms and lawyers’ offices from one end of the country to the other. They’ve sat in splintered wooden chairs or on plastic chairs bolted to the floor, some with their children crawling over their lap, some with a support person, lots of them alone.

They are waiting for peace bonds, restraining orders, rape kits to be collected, custody of their children or, perhaps, a court order allowing them to go back to their homes to collect their belongings. Many don’t speak English as a first language and many are poor. All are threatened by the violence done to them and scared of the violence that could still be done. They are afraid for their children. They feel unsafe, are looking for protection and, possibly, justice. Some have nowhere to go and so return to their abusers in the hope that things will change.

I can pretty well guarantee you that very few are thinking about tweets, Facebook friends or the blogosphere. And it’s just as well. The idea that you must be believed on social media in order to be safe and validated is both ridiculous and dangerous. That sadistic jungle, as is well documented, eats vulnerable people for breakfast.

In the 25 years I have worked on the issue of violence against women, we have argued, fought and lobbied hard for judges, lawyers, police officers, social workers and medical professionals to believe women when they said they’d been assaulted. Though we still have a ways to go, awareness of violence against women among the so-called helping professions has much improved.

What we didn’t argue, fight and lobby for was the idea any woman anywhere could make any claim in the media about any one and have it, ipso facto, taken as gospel. And I don’t know why anyone believes that to be the ultimate feminist creed on the issue of violence against women. It’s like they read page one of the manifesto and chucked the rest.

In whose interest would blanket acceptance of any claim made by a woman through the media, social or otherwise, be? It’s certainly not in every woman’s interest, especially a marginalized woman’s interest, since access to media is something that’s in direct correlation to privilege and power.

The women’s movement in this country has fought long and hard for women’s equality under the law—not the right to make any claim in the media about any one at any time and be believed because you are a woman. This is not a judgment on the women in the Ghomeshi case (in which we are actually being asked to believe Kevin Donovan, Jesse Brown and Michael Cooke).

It is the women’s movement staking a claim to equal treatment under the law. The under the law part is important.

Because the idea that media access means you don’t have to line up in front of a Justice of the Peace like all those other battered women schmucks, who don’t have reporters writing down their every word, is as offensive as all get out.

By extension, blanket acceptance of a woman’s claims on social or other media could, hypothetically, result in homophobic women claiming verbal, physical or sexual abuse by Premier Kathleen Wynne prior to the next election and have Ms. Wynne automatically removed from political office.

Or a group of women elders making the claim on social media or through a TV station that their daughter-in-law hit them could justifiably get her banished from the house.

Or in the same week as terrorist attack on Parliament by a so-called radical Muslim, a prominent Muslim broadcaster could be fired because his employer had heard a claim he’d assaulted women.

Oh wait … hold on … that last one was actually true.

But surely to heavens there’s no connection between the CBC deciding that their popular Muslim host was more trouble than he was worth the very same week as a radical Muslim attack in Ottawa. (Sorry, you don’t even get to ask that question. It’s ridiculous and you’re blaming women.)

But I do have to confess, however, that if I had been a well-recognized Muslim man of colour who had been accused of sexual violence last week, I would have high-tailed it over to Navigator at the very first opportunity (and probably changed the locks on my door).

The law is often a clumsy instrument, but it is the tool we have to protect women, minorities and those of us who are marginalized. Women have fought hard for a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees our rights and the courts deliver that justice, not social media. And you can’t change that by typing in capital letters.

Abuse of women is outrageous. And, clearly, many people, men and women alike are suddenly so outraged they will slaughter anyone who makes the slightest suggestion of due process—equal treatment under the law.

Yet, I was at a women’s shelter this afternoon, as I am on many days, and there was no influx of donations, no one tweeting about the great work, no one asking if help was needed. I made a couple of calls and found the same lack of interest to be true in other shelters too. It the same old, same old—one new Twitter follower a day and 100 bucks a week from the local church group.

Is this how we create a safer environment for abused women?

Take it from someone who knows—the answer is a categorical no. The urgent and most pressing issue facing those working in the area of violence against women is the resources available to help the women who are reporting.

In the province of Ontario, population 10,000,000, there are 2,000 shelter beds (for women and children).  Shelters are always full and there’s always a waiting list. Most towns do not have a rape crisis centre or a hospital unit that specializes in sexual assault.

What’s going on in the Internet right now is a version of the boorish and high-horsed slackativism that many mistake for making the world a better place. It’s a world where people think the revolution is about re-tweeting or liking something on Facebook or yelling at people who offer the slightest divergence from your viewpoint. Or that the point you’re yelling about is really the only point because it’s the only piece of the issue you know.

UNICEF Sweden tried to address the issue by putting out this ad of an orphaned boy ironically pinning his and his brother’s redemption to the number of likes on UNICEF Sweden’s Facebook.

The events of the past week have done nothing to help women who are abused or sexually assaulted. It bears no relation to a fight for women’s equality or safety.

It has only served to whip up an emotional diversion from the real issues facing abused women and made people afraid to speak their minds on the issue; apparently, a shockingly easy thing to do.

This ridiculous stand, supposedly in support of abused women has blinded us—including, God forgive me for saying, people who I think should know better—to what we really need to help women facing violence and, to me, the unbelievably racist undertones of this whole episode.

I am, to tell you the God’s truth, shocked.

And I have one more thing to say before I go. I am no Margaret Wente or Ann Coulter or any other name you might use to slag me. I am a woman who has worked for on this issue for 25 years, including on the frontline in a shelter for women and children. I have made it my life’s work to ensure that resources are available to help women. I have seen the government interest in the issue wane and the public interest flag. And I don’t appreciate a bunch of social media know-it-alls showing up like cops, bossing everyone around with nothing to offer except a demand to see the issue through their own, particularly narrow lens, and for reducing this issue to one man–a celebrity who, if he was found guilty in a court of law would receive, given it was a first offence, court-mandated participation in a men’s group for which he would be on a long wait list, given there are very few of those groups available.

 

Author Photo 01 Sandy Tam PhotographyGail Picco is a strategist who has worked in the nonprofit sector for 25 years. She is the author of What the Enemy Thinks, a recent novel set in the nonprofit sector, and is Chair of the Board of the Regent Park Film Festival. She also writes about baseball and F1 racing.

 

 

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Comments

  1. You – like the rest of us – have no basis for a position on this story. Yet. It will not be resolved through social media. I do not have an opinion on Ghomeshi and I do not yet know the truth about his accusers. I read his Facebook account, which is heavily scripted with the help of his newly hired PR firm. I have read the Toronto Star’s accounts. The women did not go to the police (no surprise, since most women who are sexually assaulted do not report) so it’s he said, she said. But I’ll tell you one thing. I will not be sticking my neck out on the line for Ghomeshi in the absence of further information. Like some people did for Strauss-Kahn after his hotel maid reported being attacked by him.

  2. As a woman who has worked on this issue for 25 years, you will know that only a small percentage of sexual assaults (6 to 8% according to some Stats Can figures) are ever reported to police. You will know that the vast majority of women who do not report sexual assault do so because they feel ashamed – 60% plus. You will know that 50% plus do not report because they believe the police will not take any action. You will know that sexual assault has the lowest conviction rate of any violent crime. Given what you know, you will understand that these women, if their allegations are true, would represent the vast majority of sex assault victims. The other schmucks who line up on court benches, as you call them, represent a tiny fraction of sexual assault victims, and you know it. I believe the Tweets and Facebook comments have opened up a very lively and necessary discussion about sexual assault, about consent, and about how we deal with these issues. And I think that does help women, perhaps not in shelter beds, but certainly in drawing attention to the discrepancy between how many sexual assaults occur in this country and how many are reported and convicted. And guess what? You can believe all this without taking a side.

    • Hi Pooky, Thanks for the comment. I can see you feel very deeply the about this issue and that you want to help. I understand the issue of reporting and the many reasons why women don’t report assaults to the police. Sometimes it has to do with her assessment of the ongoing threat. Thankfully, women don’t have to make a police report to get help for themselves and it’s very important women know they don’t have to report to the police to get that help. I would encourage any woman who’s experienced assault to reach out, to not suffer in silence. Here is a link to the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres, a bi-lingual French/English site which lists all the places in Canada a woman can call if she’s been assaulted. http://www.casac.ca/content/anti-violence-centres. The counsellor on the other end of the phone can help her with a safety plan and work with her on next steps. I don’t, I’m afraid, encourage women who’ve been assaulted to turn to social media for help and solace. Disclosing assault on social media is a woman’s choice, of course, but she should have a solid real life support system in place that will help her with the inevitable backlash from people who like to act like jackasses. The Internet is not a healing place.

      • This is not about feelings, this is about facts. You write an article insinuating that the women accusing Ghomeshi are somehow deficient for not reporting the alleged crimes to the police. But you must know that the vast majority of sexual crimes are never reported to police. So these women, if their allegations are true represent most sexual assault victims, not aberrant outliers. Your arguments are deeply flawed and your response (which I am reading as a veiled attempt to imply that I am an emotionally wrought sexual assault victim reaching out for help on the internet – I am not) is puzzling. I don’t care particularly about Jian Ghomeshi. I care about good arguments. Yours isn’t.

    • “You will know that the vast majority of women who do not report sexual assault do so because”…

      At risk of being barbequed, here goes: A lot of things in life are horribly difficult. And everyone has reasons. But when either are used as excuses to not report an assault, to justify inaction, society has a serious problem. No reason is good enough to not do the right thing. Women have an obligation and duty to other women. Women are accountable to other women. ONE report; just one, and there might not have been other victims. If only 6-8 percent of assaults are reported to the police that failure rests entirely on the shoulders of women. Not men, not the police, not the justice system, just women, and when the message is wrong then change the message. Not reporting is a blinking neon sign that tells all of us ‘expect to get away with it and offend again’ and unless or until women understand our shared responsibility to one another, due process and justice cannot be served, and archaic attitudes cannot be change. As the mother of (now adult) sons, who were raised to be decent, kind, gentle, and respectful to women, the thought that they could be publicly crucified without due process makes my hair stand on end, but as a woman, society’s failure to teach their daughters how to be courageous is a disgrace.

  3. There seem to be numerous issues conflated here in your writing. Maybe I’m mistaking your points, or, maybe, in such a fluid environment, we’re not looking at the same root information.

    Dancing around a “connection between the CBC deciding that their popular Muslim host was more trouble than he was worth the very same week as a radical Muslim attack in Ottawa” seems to neglect the fact of the issues being under review and deliberation for months. And the timing of Jian Ghomeshi’s departure, which turned into a dismissal, he has stated, pivoted on negotiations between he and the CBC as to how the matter was addressed ie. the time-off proposed and the context of that.

    On the part of the CBC and the Star there has not been “blanket acceptance of any claim made by a woman through the media, social or otherwise”. These matters were investigated for months – and great deliberation was involved.

    If, in that latter comment, you’re strictly referring to online discourse, I can only believe you’re seeing very different facebook and blog posts than I’m seeing. There’s a shockingly large contingent, either genuine folks, or plants working for the PR campaign, aggressively shaming and smearing the three women who report being beaten, and the woman who reported sexual harassment in the CBC workplace.

    What’s welcome, for a change, is to see a greater than customary amount of online support being shown for these women who’ve spoken of their experiences.

    In no way does what I’ve seen unfolding online diminish the value of the work you’ve described – I learned of this post from someone’s tweet saying they disagreed with your article’s perspective on the Ghomeshi case, but, donated to a woman’s shelter as a consequence of reading your blog post.

    My hope is that you may, should you revisit this situation, find some of the beneficial things I’m witnessing – people elevating discourse, and striving toward a more respectful state for all.

    • Thanks for your comment adrian22 and your kind words. So happy your friend donated to a women’s shelter. I encourage all readers to do the same! It would sure make their day. I’m not sure about the elevated discourse, as yet. People seem to feel like they have to compensate for the online support Jian is receiving and the discussion is currently pretty focused on the issue of reporting, which is hugely complicated in and of itself. Being believed by police is a relatively small piece of the puzzle. Since most of sexual or physical abuse is from men who are known to the victim, it is complicated by a wide range of personal and relationship dynamics. I also think (as you know, already), that we need to bring race and religion into the analysis. (I can hear the collective sigh now.) It’s a thankless job– the elevation of discourse!

  4. goonsquad says:

    “And I don’t appreciate a bunch of social media know-it-alls showing up like cops, bossing everyone around with nothing to offer except a demand to see the issue through their own, particularly narrow lens”

    AMEN. Thanks for the reasoned article and more importantly for the work that you do.

  5. Terrence Mckenna says:

    Wait, did you just suggest Ghomeshi was fired partially because he was a Muslim? You’re into crazy town with that suggestion. Credibility gone.

    • Hey Terrence–Yes, I did make that suggestion and maybe I can work to regain my credibility with you. I just found it so odd that a few days after we have national politicians talking about not blaming all Muslims for the attack in Ottawa, a the most high-profile Muslim national broadcaster in the country was suddenly fired based on information they’d supposedly had for months. Did it have anything to do with the timing? I’ve seen no trace of that angle in any media. Is it because people are afraid they are blaming the victim? Or, like you, they find the notion so out there, it can’t be true? Maybe so, i can’t say for sure, but accusations of sexual violence against men of colour is a widely recognized cultural dynamic and bias against Muslim men is also widely recognized. I think it’s okay to ask the question, right?

      • Where on earth did you get the idea that he’s muslim?

        It’s not something I’ve been aware of. It’s not something I’ve seen mentioned anywhere. I did a google search and it did not come up on his wikipedia page, or his many interviews.

        If he is muslim, it’s certainly not how canadians primarily think of him. This is a frankly bonkers argument and yes, it does reduce your credibility. You are reaching. Big time.

      • Suggesting Ghomeshi was fired partially because he was a Muslim doesn’t explain how/why the CBC brass/Q producers/fellow CBC employees protected him for so long, then. I think it’s a particularly ridiculous suggestion.

      • To Andrea McDowell below: Yes, Jian Ghomeshi is a Muslim. I heard him say so on his show. He once greeted a Jewish guest around Christmas time with, “The Muslim in me wishes the Jew in you, Merry Christmas.” It was funny. Iranians are mainly Muslims. I don’t think Jian is a fundamentalist, or religious fanatic. In fact he seems to be secular, but he is as Muslim as the average child of Jewish parents is Jewish regardless of well they keep the faith.

        I somehow doubt he was fired from the show for it, unless it was some personal decision of a CBC official, but I know many of the attacks on him combined his Muslim affiliations with penchant for violence. One called him a sand monkey. Another said his large nose and unibrow made him look subhuman. Another cursed “the whore who bore this mutant”. Aren’t women lucky to have the support of such commenters?

  6. No name brand commenter says:

    Good piece. Innocent until proven guilty. Every human being is entitled to face their accuser and have the evidence tested in a court of law. That is justice. The mob bays for blood, but the law is deliberate and cautious and has due process for good reason.
    The Internet gives rule of the stupid the upper hand in our culture.

    • The law is not the great equalizer–it is only guaranteed to serve the most powerful and monied. We have a two-tiered system of justice which ensures that the country’s political and financial class is virtually immune from prosecution, licensed to act without restraint, while the politically powerless are ignored, imprisoned with greater ease and in greater numbers than those who have money and power.

      • No name brand commenter says:

        Case in point . . .

      • So do you condone vigilante justice from the first emotional response someone has to a story? Because that’s the alternative here. If people had reasoned responses I would agree, but the Internet spawns a lynch mentality, 100% emotionally based on very little sense of getting both sides of the story.

      • Our system is far from perfect, but it is still a damned good one. I have been on both sides of this issue , being sexually assaulted myself and also having a young son, at the age of 14, publicly destroyed over false sexual assault charges . He was declared by the public in our small city to be guilty the day the charges were laid, and even when the trial came about 6 months later (where the girl admitted she lied and the charges were thrown out by the judge) there are people ti this day that still believe my son raped this girl.; This was in 1197 and he has never and most likely will never recover. Public shaming and the calling for blood must stop. Both the accused and accusers need to have anonymity until found guilty in a court of law.

      • Edit: should be 1997

  7. Best thing I’ve read on this subject. Huge admiration.

  8. ScreamiMimi says:

    Bringing up even the tiniest hint he was fired for being Muslim bc of recent terrorist attacks denigrates his alleged victims even further, ensuring they NEVER speak out, as if there was the slightest chance! Something I’m sure you wish to avoid.

  9. Suggesting that there may be a connection “between the CBC deciding that their popular Muslim host was more trouble than he was worth the very same week as a radical Muslim attack in Ottawa” is appalling. The writer of this article, who states she has worked 25 years with violence against women. should know better than most that you can’t use a bias excuse for sexual harrassment.

    And as for the concept of the court of public opinion and criticism by WorkingGirl about “boorish hacktivism”, Mr. Ghomeshi is courting public opinion through the use of a professional PR firm.

    I think the discourse in the past week gives us more room to openly talk about these things, raise awareness, and be used to strengthen legislation.

  10. Your entire piece is so filled with logical fallacies I could barely make it to the end.

    The two prominent Canadian feminists weren’t slammed for saying that they want to give him the benefit of the doubt. They were criticized because they came out in support of him, or appeared to–in May’s case, public support of him, fully accepting his self-serving account, before she’d even read the allegations in the Star. If she’d said something like “I want to wait until I see the facts” there would have been much less blowback.

    Furthermore, your characterization of the response to his letter and the Star article is bizarrely out of touch and completely unsupported by facts. Ghomeshi’s FB likes, in the days following his letter, went up by about 12,000, or over 150%. At least one of his musicians, Lights, has stated her support. Newspapers have come out supporting him. A pariah? In some feminist circles, yep, and that’s their right; in society at large, I haven’t seen it.

    Now this touching picture you’ve painted of “real abused women.” I’m sure it’s quite accurate. But you bloody well know, or you should, that those social gains you work so hard for occur in a context that is determined by social mores. That is, in a society where public response is in favour of the abuser, where the conversation revolves around what she did to deserve it and why didn’t she leave, where men are considered more credible and defendable, those gains you fight for don’t happen. To characterize the conversation as worthless or irrelevant, because it’s not what you do, is ridiculous. A culture change where it is now publicly acceptable and even becoming common to automatically take the woman’s side, as opposed to the man’s, is a huge win for feminism. Who cares if it happens in court or not? Even when they are reported, they’re not found guilty; fact is that many abused women quickly find that their sole means of protecting themselves and other women is gossip.

    The whole “under the law” thing is completely wrong. Feminism has fought hard for women’s equality, period. Under the law and elsewhere. On the streets. In the bedroom. At work. While shopping. During childcare. While at the hospital. In medical studies. And yes, on the freaking internet (see gamergate). Your insinuation that this is worthless because they haven’t reported it is offensive. You should retract it.

    For the record, I haven’t made up my mind, though statistically speaking it’s highly unlikely that is accusers are making it up. Even so, I find your response here offensive to the women’s movement you claim to work for.

    • I’m a man, I was very brutally sexually assaulted when I was ten, and I have known two people (both men) who were both falsely accused of sexual assault. I’ve seen things from both sides, and in what I’ve seen, those false accusations of rape were at *least* as damaging to the two men as to being raped to me. I never came forward with what happened to me until much later, and the predator was already behind bars at the time. To one of the guys I know that was falsely accused, the woman (who wasn’t a bad person, just looking for an easy way out of a very tough situation and under immense pressure from her father) didn’t tell the truth for over 7 years. The guy’s life was completely ruined by then, lost his job, friends, family, moved to another province, etc. When I was raped I had all kinds of counseling and support at least, this guy got nothing, and even after being vindicated his image as a rapist was already so firmly implanted in people’s minds that he was branded forever.

      As a survivor who knows how difficult it is to come forward, I have the utmost sympathy for those women if their allegations are true (and I think there is a better chance than not that they are telling the truth), but we (as a society) *cannot* rush to judgement. That’s the kind of thinking they use where they stone people for adultery, without due process, without presumption of innocence, etc.; our justice system is highly imperfect, but it is the best I’ve seen so far, and regressing back to mob rule and public shunning is I think a step backwards.

      The Scarlet Letter seems to have been turned from an “A” to an “R” with what a lot of people are pinning on the accused in all this right now. Justice does not move at the speed of Twitter, FB, or someone’s blog, and to me it doesn’t seem complete beyond the bounds of rationality that a few exes of a wealthy person whose reputation is their career to be talked into blackmailing someone (it could happen, admit it to yourself). There are a lot of really fucked up people out there, both men AND women who are capable of all kinds of evil shit, so either of these scenarios is solidly in the realm of possibility.

      Regarding statistics, there are very credible studies that show a false accusation rate of up to 40%, though most academic studies hit between 8% and 10%. This is where the accused may be an ordinary person (no fame to lose, to money to extort, etc.). Isn’t it possible the rate might be higher than normal in cases where the accuser may have something to gain (revenge, money, etc.), and the accused is famous and wealthy (and therefore more vulnerable to media attacks)? Using a 10% figure and guessing at say, oh, 300 people he may have dated over the course of maybe a decade (not unusual for many people, both male and female), even a conservative false-accusation rate could yield 30 people disordered enough to make fake accusations, and again, this is with an ordinary person rather than a celebrity. We don’t know how many potential accusers the journalist may have contacted to find another 3 accusers, so what really are throwing around these statistics useful for in this case at all? I’m a fairly ordinary guy I think and I can think of at *least* 3 women from my past who still hold such a grudge against me that they would say *anything* to get back at me. I bet a large amount of men and women could say the same thing.

      To allow someone’s life, livelihood, reputation …. everything, to be destroyed without their day in court is not right, no matter what crime they have or have not committed. I think that the people that are blindly supporting this guy are completely wrong, but the people that are blindly supporting the accusers are also wrong; not all the facts are in. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize the truth will tell, but it doesn’t always happen overnight.

    • My apologies Andrea (and that’s not meant sarcastically, I can’t tell how much of your reply was meant to be unfortunately), I honestly meant to comment on the article in general and not your comment specifically. My comment though was heartfelt, as well as long (and that maybe necessarily so).

      Here’s a quote from a play to ponder (again, not specifically for you Andrea, I mean “you” ubiquitously):

      William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

      Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

      William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

      Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

      From the play “A Man For All Seasons” by Robert Bolt

      p.s. Thanks for the well wishes “No name brand”, I appreciate them.

      • I’m sorry. Can you point me towards any source that feels Jian should be put in jail without a fair trial?

        Oh, they don’t exist? Shocking.

        Why is it that this whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing is only trotted out in discourse when it’s a woman accusing a man of something? Do you think a salesperson would keep his job if he developed a reputation for seducing important clients? What do you think happens to women who are accused of sleeping their way to the top? Do they get a trial? Do people decline to comment publicly until after a judge gives a guilty verdict? What about a cashier who always comes up short in their till at the end of the night–do their employers need to wait until after they are sentenced to jail time before firing them?

        No.

        WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE LEGAL SYSTEM. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply. Even taking his word for what he did–merely seducing his fans routinely who were much younger and using his position to do so–would be perfectly fine grounds for the CBC to fire him. And regular people have every right to come to their own conclusions about his conduct, and talk about them.

      • Hey Greg – I read your comment when it came in the other day and had been wanting to respond but it’s taken me this long to get to it. I apologize because what you had to say has been on my mind. I appreciate your perspective and your strength in overcoming what must have been a horrific assault. Abuse by people who are meant to love and care for us — and who we love and care for — is a deep betrayal. You emerged the fine man you seem to be.

        After a week of this story with new details emerging every day, the absence of a call for a national domestic violence strategy amid the braying for one man’s blood leaves me feeling worried that we are actually going back in time, and that the issue of domestic violence has now fallen into the lowest common denominator of public discourse — the complex problem (domestic violence) with the simple solution (stigma of reporting). Once we go down that road, it’s a long slog back. Your voice — and the voices of others, men and women alike — will play a vital role in any real progress on the issue. Thanks so much for reading the blog and I encourage you to continue writing and talking about your perspective.

      • Andrea McDowell, of course no one has advocated not giving Jian Ghomeshi a fair trial but that is actually what is being done by opinions like yours. You’ve already condemned him. If a trial presented evidence of his innocence, or discredited his accusers, would you change your mind? You’ve already tried and convicted him so why are you even asking about a fair trial? Unless by ‘fair’ you mean only one that convicts him.

  11. When I first ventured here I mistakenly thought I’d landed on a blogsite hosted on Earth. Seeing the continuing bizarre conspiratorial claims that the abuser Jian Ghomeshi may be the victim himself, and because he’s Muslim?!!! As someone else said – this is crazy-town. Or Mars.

  12. Brilliant piece of writing. Well done.

  13. http://freethepresscanada.org/2014/10/28/toronto-star-loses-its-religion-for-jian-ghomeshi/

    “This is an open letter to the parties involved in a smear campaign against Jian Ghomeshi and members of the mainstream media who’ve forsaken journalism ethics and integrity in general, to miss the larger picture altogether.”

  14. Thank you for your reasoned post. I have stopped calling myself a feminist largely due to the screaming banshees calling themselves feminists, who will bully anyone who dares to disagree with them, charging those with another point of view as enablers of abuse against women. As if abuse against women is so incontrovertible no one is allowed to deny it under any circumstances. It’s another form of tyranny and convinces me that not much will change if women take the world over from men. I proudly call myself a humanist because I know that a) just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you can’t be wrong, b) I am interested in justice, which does not discriminate between men and women. Whichever women are due justice should get it, and whatever men are due justice should get it too. If we have a world where both sexes are treated with justice we will have a happy world. If only men, or only women get prioritized treatment, the hell will continue. I would like to see the justice system that allows women to lay charges and keep their anonymity also allow the charged men anonymity until the whole thing is resolved. This ridiculous insistence that only women have to be protected from losing their reputation is sexist and female chauvinist.

  15. OK..almost a year has gone by and what has changed..good or bad?

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