The news has been filled lately with the demise of Jian Ghomeshi. I felt compelled to address this as there are so many things about this story that are disturbing yet at the same time, may provide lessons to us all.
When the first alleged victim came forward and Ghomeshi was fired from CBC he took to Facebook almost immediately. When I read his post my first thought was “why is he sharing so much personal information” and on Facebook no less. I also thought that I agreed with his words around two consenting adults participating in something private in the bedroom. I personally do not believe it is anyone’s business what people do behind closed doors, as long it is consensual.
This was short lived however as it became quite clear that Ghomeshi’s activities were in fact not consensual. The more the sordid details were revealed the more he looked, in my opinion, to be a misogynistic egotistical jerk. It is apparent he used his fame, ego and position to take advantage of often much younger women. A 47 year old man chasing 20 somethings is disturbing to me in itself as it smells of the need for control. But then to engage in unsolicited sexual advances, often violent and demeaning in nature, is deplorable and despicable.
CBC did the right thing in firing Ghomeshi but I have a feeling there was smoke a long time before and no one took it seriously. It took the actions of that first brave victim to come forward and start to unravel the story. I suppose CBC finally realized there was a serious issue here and fired him.
Although I think Ghomeshi got what he deserved and will no doubt pay a harsh price in a career that may be ruined, I am also trying to look at this compassionately. Life has a way of poking us when it is time to change our ways and if we do not listen you can expect a TKO punch between the eyes which he surely did receive. We all make mistakes and I do hope he finds a way to deal with his demons.
The lessons in this story to me are numerous including the need for workplaces to take seriously sexual harassment allegations, the need for women to stand up for ourselves and report inappropriate behaviours right when they happen, and the need for our society to reflect on our obsession with egoists, “celebrities” and their perceived value in society. The sad part is that this will not be the last time someone in power takes advantage of others, but if we can continue the dialogue perhaps one day there will be action sooner rather than complacency.