You want to know something? I understand why the CBC brass reacted the way they did to the in-house allegations about Ghomeshi. I don’t like it and I don’t like that they tried to cover up their knowledge when his house of cards started to crumble, but it’s no different than how any other organization that has dealt with this guy has handled themselves.
There is knowledge of his behaviour that apparently stretches back 20+ years. People knew what was going on, but time and time again were willing to turn a blind eye. There were lots of opportunities for someone to step up and protect women, or at least not condone and cover-up his behaviour. The CBC is not the first to avoid doing it.
I judge no woman for not coming forward to police with an official complaint. Despite the lip service paid, our system is not set up to protect us. Sometimes the easiest way to protect ourselves is to say nothing.
This is about so much more than Ghomeshi.
This is about a culture and judicial system that again and again fails to protect women, to support them in coming forward, and stop sexual harassment and assault. This is about a culture that is still happy looking the other way when this stuff happens and sweeping it all under the rug.
Today the news was headlined by reports of alleged sexual harassment on Parliament Hill, involving two Liberal MPs. Did you take time to read the anonymous letter penned by a former Hill intern?
Ghomeshi wasn’t involved in that. The CBC wasn’t involved in that.
Don’t fall into the trap of blaming Ghomeshi’s behaviour on the CBC. This does not lie at their feet. They are just another player in grand scheme of Canadian corporate culture that was willing to look away.
We pay a lot of lip service to equality.
What was involved is this pervasive idea that harassment is no big deal, that women shouldn’t make waves, that we should be happy with what we get, and that this type of treatment is a necessary evil in professional advancement.
That is #rapeculture.
If you have ever needed an example, you need look no further than the comments by Canadian men and women on the media coverage, blaming women for not bringing Ghomeshi to the attention of authorities sooner, of the reasons shared by brave women via the #beenrapedneverreported hashtag on Facebook and Twitter. Our judicial system is set up to presume the accused innocent until proven guilty, but in the case of sexual offenses has the reverse effect of implying accusers are complicit.
That is #rapeculture.
It needs to change.
The one positive I have seen coming out of this is the sheer volume of people coming forward to share their reasons for not talking about their experiences. Ghomeshi is not a stone falling from heaven, he is not an isolated case — he is indicative of a broken system and upside-down values. We all play a role in creating men like him — either by excusing their behaviours, gaslighting their victims, or disbelieving stories we hear even when a voice inside tells us something is off.