We were fooled for years by him. Silver tongued, charming, intelligent, and sensitive. But he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And we, all of us, were fooled.
It’s been two weeks today since the Jian Ghomeshi story started unraveling. Many people, far more eloquent than me have lent their voices to try to deconstruct and understand the story. I don’t want to reiterate what’s already been said, but I do want to share a few thoughts I’ve been having since the story surfaced.
Mostly I’m sad.
Sad that intelligent people I call friends couldn’t seem to understand the difference between the person and the persona. Sad that these people felt as though they knew Jian Ghomeshi–that he was their friend, and not just another voice on the radio to fill our silent spaces.
I’m sad that when I suggested to friends on that very first Sunday night that perhaps Mr. Ghomeshi’s carefully PR-crafted Facebook post was not the entire truth and that there was probably more to the story, they shamed me rather than contemplate the fact that sometimes perceived good guys can be bad. I’m sad that it seemed like I was one of the few who could make the leap in logic before all the news reports rolled in with more and more women each day stating that Mr. Ghomeshi had sexually and physically assaulted them. I’m sad that so many were willing to follow him so blindly.
I’m sad that it took more than four women to come forward to have people start re-considering their friend‘s story and start recanting their support on Facebook. Sad because as the story unfolded, it seemed to me that rape culture was still alive and well. Somehow it seemed easier for some people to believe a charming, thoughtful, radio host rather than a young, anonymous woman. It’s 2014 and many people still think that women are liars, especially about sexual assault, even though the cases of false reporting are no higher than any other crime in Canada. When did we get to this point, Canada? And how did we get here?
I’m sad that the twitter hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported became so popular. Not because of the strength, power, and support it gave women, but because so many people (including me) used it.
I’m sad because now it seems as though everyone wants to lay blame on everyone else–the CBC for not doing anything earlier, journalist insiders who had heard rumours about Mr. Ghomeshi but didn’t share them, and the list goes on. I’m sad because blame doesn’t help move us forward.
I’m sad because I don’t know the way forward–I only know that it’s a long, hard road that seems never ending. And that makes me sad.
Notes: Here’s one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject, and it was written before the Jian Ghomeshi story came to light. http://www.thebaffler.com/blog/fratty-wolf/
If you’d like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.