Last week was a bit of a challenging week around our house. Monday my six-year old broke her arm and had to hang out in hospital for a couple of days to have the bone set and pins inserted and then a cast put on her arm, plus recovery time from the general anaesthetic. I picked her and my wife up from the hospital Wednesday morning and they drove me to the airport so I could fly to Toronto for a couple of days of meetings. We weren’t all in the same house between Monday morning and Thursday night. Thankfully my mum was able to come up for a few days to help out while I was in Toronto. Throughout the week I have been reading and listening to the evolving Jian Ghomeshi story.
Last Sunday when the story broke that CBC had fired Ghomeshi I was surprised and shocked. While I am not a regular listener of Q since it happens while I am at work, I do hear the show from time to time and I generally enjoy his interview style and the show. I couldn’t figure out what CBC was thinking in letting him go. We didn’t have to wait long for more of the story to emerge.
Like many people I initially felt that CBC had made a mistake in letting him go over his private life. Obviously the story has evolved from that point. It seems that there are new stories coming out almost daily about Ghomeshi and his behaviour professionally and personally that does suggest that at best he is a disrespectful jerk and at worst that he is a violent sexual offender. Likely he is both. It also seems like lots of people were aware of this and until now, nothing was done about it.
I understand why women and men who are abused tend not to report the abuse. There is not a lot of support for those who report and often the psychological damage is exacerbated by the justice system, not to mention the potential personal and professional damage that can come from those who take the side of the abuser or generally shun/disbelieve the abused.
The stories coming out however do indicate that people in positions of authority at CBC were aware of at least some of the allegations about his behaviour and they did not act on them. There have also been reports that people in other organizations were also aware and did nothing or very little to stop him. That is disappointing and frustrating.
I am disappointed that someone I perceived to be a positive, thoughtful, respectful and progressive voice on the radio seems to be in fact be an asshole who abuses women and power alike.
I am disappointed and angered that there were apparently a lot of people who knew about his behaviour and he was allowed to continue.
I am disappointed that people at CBC were aware of issues about Ghomeshi and at a minimum were aware of rumours about his personal behaviour when it came to women and they did nothing about it and continued to allow him on the air.
Most of all I am disappointed that Ghomeshi thought any of this behaviour was ok. I should be angry that he would abuse his star and economic power as it is alleged that he did. Really I am just disappointed and resigned to another story about a man in a public role who is not who his public persona suggests. Another person who uses their public persona as cover for unprofessional, disrespectful and perhaps/probably criminal behaviour.
Of course my disappointment in this whole situation pales in comparison to what all the women Ghomeshi seems to have hurt personally and professionally have been and are going through. I am very glad that a space is being created for them to speak out and make their voices heard.
Most of all I am feeling a little lost about how I help my daughters to feel safe and be safe in their lives when there are people – mostly men – out there who think they can get away with this kind of crap and bystanders in the know who apparently let them do it.