It has been a crazy month for Canadians. I have been horrified, scared, proud, and everything in between. This week, news broke that popular CBC personality Jian had been fired. I have read his initial press release, in which he states he was fired for his kinks. I have read the Star article stating that he has a history of skeeziness and that there are 4 separate woman that have shared their stories of violence -NOT KINK-, at the hands of Jian. A lot of articles and responses have been popping up since the story broke and I have been reading as many as I can. I do want to respond quickly, as I am noticing a disturbing trend popping up in some of these articles.
Many people have been asking why these women haven’t gone to the police and will not share their identities with the press. In a world where Gamer’s gate has forced women from their homes and internet lynch mobs routinely take it upon themselves to destroy lives for fun, I can’t blame them in the least. While it is important to remember that in this country everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, I am going to step up here and say that that is totally appropriate when it comes to actual law and legal proceedings however I will always choose to believe a victim of sexual abuse. Always.
I know that sounds crazy, and that isn’t a position that everyone will take. I know what it is like. I have been there. I know the fear of coming forward, and in my case, I know what it is like when people you love and respect tell you to shut your mouth and to stop making things awkward and difficult.
I have talked about my experiences before, and perhaps in a belated reaction to my terrible then-“friends” I keep talking about it (HA! TAKE THAT!).
I was a teenager. I was traveling with close friends and family in a public seemingly safe fashion (Via Rail). In the middle of the night, while asleep, one of my friends sexually assaulted me. I turned away, I cried silently. I was too afraid to say “Stop, don’t touch me”. I was too ashamed. He has since said that because I didn’t vocalize my refusal that he thought I was consenting. That because we had flirted online before, he thought I was into it and that it was “romantic” and “spontaneous”. It took me a long time to tell people about the encounter because this boy was popular, and was a close friend of a family member. When I finally told my loved ones, they initially seemed supportive, but quickly became dismissive. When I brought it up again, I was told that I was “holding on to the past”, “dwelling”, “being dramatic” and making things awkward for everyone. I was forced to be alone with my abuser on several occasions (I was visiting out of town friends, and was left alone with him).
I never went to the police. I regret it immensely, but I forgive myself. Women are constantly accused of being dramatic, of making mountains out of molehills, misunderstanding situations, or of being vindictive bitches, or regretful whores. I don’t care if these girls were into it until the moment flesh touched flesh. Expressing an interest in roughness, in flirting (in person or at a distance, by text or online), by meeting up or going to his hotel room or apartment does not mean they consented to these acts.
I can’t help but to think of Sam Pepper as well, and the charges that are being filed against him. In a world where celebrities post “Prank” videos and host debates about the existance of rape culture, is it any wonder that these women are afraid of going up against these men in power? I had a time with it when it was going up against a 17 year old jerk.