Ghomeshi trial and low level violence

Ghomeshi trial and low level violence

There really was no contest about whether or not he did it, nor did he ever deny he did it. The question really was: was there consent? Nothing that came up in the trial really indicated there was. Sure the women were conflicted, sure their reflections after the fact varied and seemed to question their assertions that he was being violent. But look at the cultural context. Look at the huge power differential.

This man was next to a rock star. The CBC were hungry for stars. He was allotted a huge office, his own TV show, and all the adoring fans he could handle. Talk about handling, those around him knew not to send him younger girls unattended, that was already embedded in their culture. He could do no wrong. Sort of.  The size of the ego here, must have been huge. And the fall that came  was also correspondingly  huge.

Then came the revelations.  So when these incidents came to light, and the women’s stories started to make the news, and finally the whole thing came to trial, the women’s stories were questioned because of their varied reactions. The violence was there. The consent wasn’t. But the whole story hinged on the afterthoughts. But this is an old story. Domestic abuse cases: he beats her up but she hesitates to call the cops – she knows he really loves her – and he may go for quite a while being nice even. Too she has but limited choices, to walk out of a stable financial situation into what?  Work harassment: the boss wants you to do him favours; or at school, the professor likes you a little too much. Power differential , big time.  Same here. He would be quite a catch – maybe it wasn’t all that bad – maybe it wouldn’t happen again – maybe she could get around it somehow. If, if, if…

We haven’t come as far as we thought we had, in the relations between the sexes. Our women are still  not free to make the choices they really want. We have still to achieve a power  that really is equalized. Real freedom to choose is still a dream away. Let’s dream a new dream together.

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