When the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi became public last week, I was pretty angry. So angry that I wrote a post here and had to delete most of it before publishing. So angry that it took me a while to figure out what I was angry about, and to figure out exactly what point I was trying to make in that angry blog post.
Mostly I was angry that so many women had allegedly suffered assault at the hands of one man. But the number of people, men in particular, who jumped to his defence and immediately dismissed the accusations – that was infuriating beyond words.
It’s times like this that make me believe women and men really do live in two different worlds. Why is the default response dismissal and defensiveness? How can you not at least listen when a woman says she was assaulted?
The majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. These are not strangers jumping out of the bushes. These are friends and acquaintances, people we expect will be reasonable, that will listen to reason, that can be reasoned with. Sadly, an assault by definition seems to require the loss of reason.
So it makes total sense when a woman says she was confused and didn’t leave because it was probably just a misunderstanding, and she didn’t want to be rude. What would you do if someone you thought you knew – even superficially – started wigging out and hitting you out of nowhere? Would you automatically hit back? Scream and punch and call the police? Not likely.
Just because something has never happened to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Often. To people you know and love, even.
Please listen to women when they make these accusations. False accusations of assault are extremely rare. Misogyny and abuse, sadly, are not.