Like many, I’ve experienced anger, horror, rage, frustration, and sorrow this week, as the Jian Ghomeshi story has broken. I have never listened to his program, but am fully aware of his popularity. That such a popular host would a.) get fired and b.) follow his firing with a massive PR campaign and lawsuit that accused the CBC of prudery in the face of what he articulated as a soft form of Fifty Shades of Grey was not what I expected. And that the floodgates would then open, with first 4 women and now, three days later, 8, all coming forward with stories of violence, has horrified me. That they would be vilified by so many, even as their numbers have risen and even as Ghomeshi’s word – likely carefully constructed with one of the country’s leading “reputation management” firms – has been accepted as gospel truth, has seen me alternately raging, weeping and nauseous.
And now, as the story progresses, there’s even more: it seems that it was common knowledge that he was a ‘bad date.’ That people have known this – and whispered about it – for over a decade. They also tweeted about it months before his firing.
There is so very much to process here. I find myself overwhelmed with grief – for abused women, for a system that can’t (and sometimes won’t) protect them, and for a society that still thinks that it’s ok to allow this kind of thing to happen.
And if I’m overwhelmed, if I’m angry, if I’m grieving, if I’m horrified, and I’m nauseous, then what must all of this be to the women whose stories have emerged in The Star and on the CBC?
No, the vast majority of these women have not identified themselves. No, they have not gone to the police (Sandy Garossino offers a thoughtful commentary on why this might be). No, there has been no court case. No, these allegations have not been ‘proven in a court of law.’
But now there are 8. Just ponder that for a moment. 8. How many more are there?
If there is one good thing to come out of this ever-expanding horror it is the fact that this conversation about violence against women has now become a very public, national conversation, and that it has led to some very thoughtful, and well-considered commentaries about sex, consent, violence, kink and more . But those conversations should never have had to happen on the bruised bodies of 8 – and possibly more – women.