One question keeps getting asked about the Jian Ghomeshi situation….
“Why didn’t the victims go to the police?”
I understand why people are asking this. In fact, I asked it myself at first.
And then I read the stories of young women who had entry-level jobs in media. Women who hoped to make something of themselves. Women who were excited that this “big star” was paying attention to them.
Women who thought their careers would be ruined if they said anything, and I got it.
I thought about my own story.
In October of 1991, I broke up with my verbally abusive boyfriend.
On the same night, he attacked me. I was in a truck with a male friend, and my ex drove his car into my friend’s truck SEVEN times–while we were driving. My ex only stopped when my friend managed to flag down the police.
A high-speed chase ensued before the cops were able to catch my ex-boyfriend.
My friend and I went to the police station to give statements.
There were at least three other guys in my ex-boyfriend’s car when he did this. Presumably, they gave statements as well, and I heard through a third party that they were horrified by the guy’s actions–that they hadn’t seen it coming.
My spine was fractured in two places due to this little “adventure.” For years, I couldn’t stand, sit, or lie down in the same position for more than five minutes without extreme pain. A doctor told me I’d be in a wheelchair within a few years, but thankfully she was wrong.
I’ve done a lot to heal myself through exercise and healthy living, but I still suffer from chronic back and neck pain, as well as brutal migraines. That will never change.
So there you have it.
My ex wasn’t famous. He wasn’t a beloved media celebrity with the court of public opinion on his side.
He broke my spine in two places. I reported it to the police–several people did, and the police witnessed part of this mess themselves when they had to chase him down.
And what happened to this guy? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He counsels troubled youth now–how’s that for chilling?
I have nothing against police officers. I count some of them among my closest friends, and I realize they have a very difficult job to do.
But if the attack on me–which was extremely public and violent–didn’t have any repercussions for the perpetrator, how could we expect any of these women to put so much on the line and maybe still not get any justice in return?
Sometimes going to the police just doesn’t work.
That said, I encourage anyone who has been abused or assaulted to file a report.
Just don’t point to a lack of reports as evidence the women are lying.