Cultural Appropriations · Rants For Thought

In Order To Be Balanced On Jian Ghomeshi’s Case, We Need To Listen To The Women Too

As the story evolves on Jian Ghomeshi and his case against the CBC, articles have been coming out left and right, taking sides, pointing out different facts and voices in the scandal, and bringing new information to the table. Because Canada, in truth, sometimes seems like a very small village when a broadcaster of Ghomeshi’s calibre becomes embroiled in something like this, we as Canadians often feel like we’re watching a friend go through something really messy. That comes with all the same uncomfortable feelings and disbelief. It does not surprise me at all that people want to wait to pass judgement until more facts in the case come out. I, too, am waiting to see how this plays out.

Over the past two days, I’ve been contacted by a lot of people who were upset with my piece on Ghomeshi, which was picked up by the Huffington Post and BlogHer. I want to take this time to reiterate that I have never once accused Jian Ghomeshi of sexual harassment and assault, as has been attributed to me. My words have been taken out of context and twisted, and in fact, I do agree that we need to be careful to consider all sides of the case. That includes the side of the women involved.

Jian Ghomeshi, photograph by Handout

I have been interviewed on Newstalk Radio 1010 and also Sun News’s The Straight Talk and have been pleased to clarify my position on rape culture. I was also grateful for the opportunities to discuss these issues more. I am a strong and proud feminist and I believe that we live in a culture where it’s easier to disbelieve a woman and call her crazy than it is to believe that a man may be guilty of sexual assault. Regardless of my personal views on the Ghomeshi case, my main objective with my article was to simply bring attention to rape culture and how it may be affecting people’s perceptions of this case. I have no more facts that anyone else in the media does – and I am not interested in trying Ghomeshi in the court of public opinion. I do believe that he has been quick to vilify the women who have accused him – but that doesn’t mean that I want to make an accusation of guilt against him, myself.

Another point I want to clarify is the title of my Huffington Post article. The title given to this article was not written by me, as is fairly standard for articles that have passed through an editor and been posted by a major news outlet. I realize that the headline is inflammatory and upsetting. As such, I have asked Huffington Post to run the original title of my piece as an edit to the repost of my article. I hope that will help people to understand exactly what I’m trying to say, as opposed to what the inflammatory headline may represent my views as.

The thoughts I want to leave you with are these: while we need to continue to weigh all the facts of the case as we are given them, we also need to believe women when they say they have been abused. Every time. Just as much as we would believe men. Until further notice. I stand by those points and will continue to state them. The only way to fight rape culture is to create a new culture in which women are considered as credible as the men they are accusing. My entire issue with the Ghomeshi case is the way that Ghomeshi is considered to be a credible source who needs to be believed, while the women he is accusing of trying to ruin his career are considered to be nothing more than “crazy, jilted exes” who are trying to get something from him. If we truly want to look at this in a balanced way, the women’s voices need to matter just as much as Ghomeshi’s.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in writing my articles, to the media outlets who have given my article a platform, and to the many people who have agreed that in order to truly create a just world, women need to be placed on the same platform of credence as men.

I will continue to follow this case closely, and hope that no matter what happens, the outcome will be fair and just to the affected parties.

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3 thoughts on “In Order To Be Balanced On Jian Ghomeshi’s Case, We Need To Listen To The Women Too

  1. I don’t know very much about the situation and I’m not Canadian, so I’m quite detached from it (although I 100% agree with you about listening to all sides of the story, and the rape culture element). What I’m wondering, though, is whether you were paid by the media outlets who used your article? I sure hope so, considering the grief their inflammatory headline has caused you!

  2. For me, the inflammatory line in your previous article was this one:

    “[…]but as someone who never spoke up when a man in power put me through hell, for a variety of reasons – I believe her until further notice.”

    Which suggested you weren’t interested in being fair. Thank you for clarifying your position.

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