Saturday, 1 November 2014

Adam O'Hehir wrote it: now I don't have to

But then again I will have lots of other stuff to say

The Ghomeshi Syndrome; Delusional Creeps from Clarence Thomas to Gamergate.

One paragraph near the beginning of the article:

"There’s something sad and troubling to be found just below the surface of this case, which has implications far beyond the career meltdown of a public-radio talking head. Ghomeshi appears to be one of those men — a distressingly large number of men, it seems – who are unable or unwilling to pick up basic social cues from women about sexual and dating behavior (among other things). They seem to view women as a mysterious alien species who do not say what they mean or mean what they say, and they stumble far too easily into paranoid stereotypes about bitch-covens of “jilted exes” and ball-slicing feminists. Encountering this pattern of behavior in a much-admired and good-looking media celebrity, who honestly should have had no trouble finding consenting partners for whatever level of kinky sex he wanted, offers us a chance to come to grips with how widespread it is. (As Dan Savage has reported, at least one of Ghomeshi’s former lovers says the BDSM activities were fully consensual in her case – but that seems to have been pure luck.)"


Friday, 31 October 2014

And they say that there is no misogyny - tell us about it Mother Jones

Today is about Gamergate or How Science Explains #Gamergate
Tells us about it, Mother Jones
My son is part of gamecritics.com (http://gamecritics.com/about-us) whose members have all been doxxed. The slacker in my son meant that his information is out of date. The horrendous and vicious e-mails and comments are at the least unsettling, at the worst, criminal. If someone cares to find these people and put them behind bars the sooner, the better. The subtext for putting all this information out there is "we know where you live". As anyone who has been stalked knows, it can be terrifying.
This goes to the point - the viciousness has nothing to do with "ethics in video journalism" if gamecritics.com is part of the attack, and is unacceptable in any event, for any other site. The GameCritics reviewers are all volunteer. They use an ad service and have some ads from software companies on their site (ancestry.com, american express are most recent ones that I have seen). For example, they do not take the luscious Microsoft packages to review games (in fact they were boycotted by Microsoft for years because of bad reviews). They are probably the MOST ethical video review site on the web. Full disclosure on games is on every review (in the instance at hand, whether they were sent the games free, whether they bought them themselves, etc.). Go visit the site & see for yourselves.
Some reviewers have taken games to task for their misogyny. That is probably the real reason for the attack. It has nothing to do with "ethics in journalism". That is just an excuse for a bunch of angry, disturbed people to cyber-stalk.
Well, at least it's not Jian again . However, the issue of vicious attacks on women is the same. Whether we like it or not, there is something deeply wrong in a society that fosters and protects (mostly) men who think that they have a right to abuse and attack women (real or avatars), and those who would defend women and their right to be fairly treated.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

So...... Is the CBC actually trying to lose its case?

Or is it trying to gauge the opinion of its listeners or increase its listeners' outrage so that the CBC can say that people wouldn't stand for this behaviour and thus, it was reasonable to fire Gomeshi and it will win the case?

It's hard to tell.

This morning I wrote a post called "Shame on As It Happens". I have just finished streaming the interview with Lucy DeCoutere on The Current (http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2014/10/30/from-smooching-to-smacking-there-was-no-build-up---actor-lucy-decoutere-speaks-out/). It was not as bad as the As It Happens interview but ....

I must say that I am puzzled. This woman sounds as if she is just learning that she should have been more upset 11 years ago than she was. No wonder Jian thinks that he always had consent. Clearly, he didn't in this case. However, she didn't call him on the violence; she didn't bring it up; and she dated him more than once after it occurred. The cynic in me wonders if she thought that this might be a good career move now, because she clearly states that it wouldn't have been a good career move to have said anything previously (& she is probably right about that).

Women need to take some responsibility in all of this. For over ten years, this man has thought that what he was doing was just "hunky-dory" and it doesn't appear that either the women involved, or the men who were his friends said anything to dissuade him of that fact. That doesn't make his behaviour morally defensible, but if we as women don't want to stand up and be willing to be counted, why are we surprised when there are so many more victims. These are not children, all of them are grown women and were when the assaults occurred. Is it ridiculous of me to think that, at some point, at least some of these women should have done something more than just walking away & metaphorically shrugging their shoulders? They can't all have been so traumatized that they couldn't act. But then, they belong to the "post-feminist" generation - the ones that don't need its insights.

They also all seem to believe the propaganda that the police wouldn't have done anything. This is not the seventies or the eighties. There are female police officers and the male police officers who are in domestic violence and sexual assault units who are well trained and sympathetic. Social media (and that includes TV and radio) only tells its audience about the bad ones. The police and the justice system can do nothing at all if no one comes forward. From my experience, in cases of harassment and potential violence, for example, even when they can't arrest someone, they can scare the hell out of them. Real life is not a TV show.

"Women done got themselves some education". They don't seem to have gotten any smarter.

Shame on "As It Happens"

I am writing this because 1) there is nowhere to comment on the As It Happens website or their Facebook page; 2) I am teaching a Canadian Women's History course & need to get this off my chest before this afternoon; 3) I am so disappointed in this news program & the CBC; 4) I don't even want to listen to The Current this morning; and 5) this whole thing is bothering me more than I would like to admit.

This is where the women's movement and the sexual revolution and social media world has taken us?

"As It Happens" is a CBC news show that is on in Canada 5 nights a week varying from 1 hour to 1 & 1/2 hours every weekday  night. I was one of those faithful listeners ever since it began in the 70s - even when we were overseas. It is a news and current affairs show. Over the last few years, I have listened to it less and less - not consciously, but because it just didn't seem worth listening to anymore (unlike The Current, which I will often stream if I miss it). We currently have a sex scandal going on across the country involving the man who hosted & has been fired from the show that he created called Q, which was (is?) an extremely popular morning radio Cultural Show. It has created a social media storm in Canada and the United States - even Salon & Jezebel have weighed in.

It is an unpleasant, murky case involving BDSM and issues of consent. Needless to say, perhaps, but social media has revolved around who is telling the truth. The women say he hit & beat them without consent, he says that he never hit a woman without consent.

So many people on my Facebook page were horribly disappointed & one was even "heartbroken" that this man could do such a thing. Others were outraged. The dangers of putting anyone on a pedestal.

Before I go on, a couple of points:

I have listened to the show on & off, depending on who was on and what I was doing. Can't say that I was a fan. And like with Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and others, all previously listened to shows will have the YUK factor - which is too bad because, ironically, there was a very interesting "Q debate" on the issue of rape culture back in March 24, 2014 (http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/03/24/rape-culture-debate/).

I have weighed in on Facebook (on my own status, which is public) & as a commenter on other pages, saying that we need to wait - "it will all come out in the wash". If Gomeshi is guilty of assault & battery & rape, then this needs to be in the courts, not social media, & he needs to be sent to jail. However, not one of the accusers has filed a complaint with the police. The reasons "why not" are part of the social media storm.

Shame on "As It Happens" and the CBC for letting it air: 

Listen to the interview in question at: http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/2014/10/29/jian/  

This interview brings up all the murky issues around our attitudes towards women, the patriarchy, misogyny, sexuality, women's sense of self worth & most disturbingly, the issue of consent. The woman came forward on the condition of anonymity, which I understand. However, that will not make her immune to the fallout.

The quick story is that she went out with Gomeshi the first time and he yanked her head back & pulled her hair in the car at the end of the "date". Then she went out with him again - to his apartment this time - where he hit her and started to choke her. She began to cry, he stopped and said that it was late and she should leave. She was distraught and spent the rest of the night with a girlfriend crying her heart out.

What "As It Happens" and Carol Off don't seem to get, is that this interview gives Gomeshi - however distasteful the scenario - 1. the right to claim that he thought that he had consent (whether or not he did is up to the courts - see the addendum) & 2. when he realized that he had misread the situation, he stopped immediately. A case of the law of unintended consequences?????

Carol Off did ask her why she went out with him after the first time. The answer indicates that this has haunted her even though it all happened over 10 years ago. Part of her answer is that he was charming and "wow, my father would really like you", and she didn't really know how to think about it. She said that "we didn't discuss it" - "why didn't he ask me" & actually gave a scenario about how the conversation should have gone (what she would have considered consent), "it came out of nowhere".

The problem is that this is what we hear women say again and again. The warning sign was in the first violent act. She should never have gone out with him again. However, this is what women do. We excuse and excuse violent behaviour from men.

Did second wave feminism accomplish nothing????

My part of the story or why was I so upset?

This probably gets me to the point that has been bothering me ever since I heard the interview - took me a long time to get to sleep last night. No man ever hit me except my father, and I would have walked and never given any man who did (we could say "without consent") a second chance. However, it was violence that sent me on the road to leaving both my husbands. There were lots of other reasons in the mix, but these incidents were catalysts. One kicked our son for no reason; the other was so angry he almost killed his father and took a door off of its hinges in our house. In the one case, I broke up the marriage within 6 weeks; the other took longer for various reasons. Both men were extremely frustrated and unhappy at the time when they exhibited their violence.

While I have always understood that those incidents played a role in the breakup of the marriages, I don't think that I realized until this morning and as I am writing this post, just how important these were in my decision making. Both husbands scared the hell out of me - something that has, for years, been difficult to acknowledge. In both cases, I had to get the children away from these men. I have often voiced the fact that I could not change my husbands, but I could not let my sons grow up thinking that this violence and the way that they treated me was acceptable behaviour. If I stayed, I would have been implicitly, if not explicitly, condoning behaviour that I had years ago deemed completely unacceptable. My father never hit my mother, only his children.

We learn about relationships from our parents and those around us. What we learn is different in every case. My sisters and I all learned different complicated things from our childhoods, but  none of us ever allowed physical abuse to happen to our children (as far as we know, of course - but on this issue we were vigilant).

We still have a long, long way to go if we expect to end violence (whatever kind) in our society. Some days, I feel like we have gone nowhere on this issue. I can only go back to Alice Miller's For Your Own Good: The Hidden Roots of Violence in Child-Rearing Practices. If only the world would take it seriously.

An Addendum

Canadian law is very difficult in the area of the law and rough sex. See the following article, from which I have excerpted the relevant paragraph here (Ms. Leiper is a lawyer):

Nor is express consent at the outset of any sexual activity a complete answer for an alleged criminal assault. Ms. Leiper said certain provisions in the Criminal Code, such as sections 273.1 and 265, describe situations in which consent cannot be properly given. For example, consent is not obtained if the person engages in activity because the other person has taken advantage of a position of authority or trust. Consent is not obtained in law where it is given as a result of threats, fear of force, fraud or actual application of force. Also, consent in sexual cases must be ongoing. A person must be able to revoke consent, by words or conduct, even if initially he or she did consent to sexual activity at the outset. And if a complainant is incapable of expressing consent, the consent is gone.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Reflections on Ottawa's 22/10/14 "Terrorist Attack"

We have been here before.

I lived in Montreal in 69-70. A bomb went off down the block from my apartment building. The military roamed the streets of Montreal when the police went on strike. The bank where I worked closed. Sir George Williams (now Concordia) shut down, so my class was cancelled,

I was in Ottawa when the War Measures Act went into effect and the hysteria was ridiculous. I remember sitting with a girlfriend in a bar talking about how "stupid" the Act was (& unnecessary). She was freaking out because we could be "arrested" or something because of my non-supportive position. We all should have some idea about the re-evalution of the "War Measures Act" that has taken place over the last 5 decades. Hysteria helps no one & potentially damages many.

Has no one seen the similarities with the Montreal Massacre? Seems we can go crazy when it's soldiers & Parliament; a targeted attack on women - we still debate whether it says anything about our society (think: "powerful mothers"; "patriarchal fathers"). I just want the implications to be on the record. I was teaching when the Montreal Massacre occurred & found out about it after I got home. I made an extensive prediction about what we would find out about the gunman (family background, state of mind, etc.) - I was dead on (I didn't have the nickname "Sibyl" as in the Roman Sibyls for no reason). The roots of violence begin in the home. If someone wants to understand this, just read Alice Miller's "For Your Own Good: The Hidden Roots of Violence in Child-Rearing Practices". This book is as "a propos" today as it was when written.

It is easy to blame "radicalization" or fundamentalist Islam for this man's behaviour - whatever the flavour of the day. This is not the problem. Someone who is angry, who believes that they have no where to turn will find something "to believe in". What this man did is no different from Columbine, the Texas Observatory, the Oklahoma City bombing, and unlike the Air India attack, which was a planned organized terror attack. Do I need to even say that making guns harder to get  might help? However, even that is not the solution.

You cannot stop someone from doing something like this if they are motivated enough, particularly if they are individuals. There is no conspiracy to uncover - no leaks. I may be wrong, but I wouldn't bet against myself. We don't have the resources to follow people 24/7 & it is extremely hard to target which ones will actually move from speech to action.

 I wish the world was different. I wish that we didn't have to go through this again and again. The line is "So it was, so it is & apparently, so it ever shall be." Seems societies, the people who run them, and the people who live in them never really learn.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Triggers: Ray Donovan: Season 2.7

I wrote that I was going to review Ray Donovan episodes after season 1 was finished. Well I didn't get around to it. After watching the second season to episode 7 (binge watching), I am beginning to wonder whether that was a deliberate avoidance.

Season 2:7 was full of triggers for me. The impact wasn't all immediate but the biggest "gotcha" was near the end when Ray stands in the middle of the room staring at his wife and says "Conor wanted the family; Conor got a family", snort-smiles, shrugs and walks away (at 46:45). Interestingly enough, I remembered it as "I wanted the family, I got the family." What is really boils down is that we keep looking for some kind of stability in the structures around us - even when we watch it crumbling. Ray tries to run, tries so hard to  make it right in all the wrong ways. The fights, the screaming, the drinking, the disintegration, the obliviousness - all because we can't change the past. The old truism "you can run, but you can't hide", it will come and bite you in the ass is borne out again and again.

My mother ran, my father took care of her. I ran, nobody took care of me, I just ended up in so many ways like Ray, trying to create stability, trying to take care of everyone and everything, and frankly, at times, not doing a very good job of it. This is not a pity comment, but a reflection comment. I think that I did better in many ways than my mother did (and certainly better than Ray - LOL). But watching this episode, brought back so many of the fights (with my original family, my marriages, my children). There were so many of the moments when one was incapable of doing anything but fight because there was no other release. Then the "I'm sorries" but nothing ever really changed. Then eventually, the complete sense of utter defeat. Things only seemed to change with the complete destruction of a world, sometimes forces from the outside, sometimes from within. Then one started all over again.

If one wonders whether or not this show is getting it right, I would say that, at least the personal aspect is certainly true to the reality of the intergenerational impact of childhood sexual abuse. The family dynamics of generations of sexual abuse, whether acknowledged or not, are being played out in this series. It is gut-wrenching and soul-destroying; it leaves no one undamaged.

I will get to the entire series, episode by episode, In the meantime, I boogie to "Walk this Way" and go find Aerosmith's Pump.


Monday, 10 February 2014

Short Response from the Vatican to the U.N. Report

"Please find below a statement issued by the Holy See following the publishing of the U.N. reports:
According to the proper procedures forseen for the parties to the Convention, the Holy See takes note of the Concluding Observations on its Reports, which will be submitted to a thorough study and examination, in full respect of the Convention in the different areas presented by the Committee according to international law and practice, as well as taking into consideration the public interactive debate with the Committee, held on 16 January 2014.
The Holy See does, however, regret to see in some points of the Concluding Observations an attempt to interfere with Catholic Church teaching on the dignity of human person and in the exercise of religious freedom.
The Holy See reiterates its commitment to defending and protecting the rights of the child, in line with the principles promoted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and according to the moral and religious values offered by Catholic doctrine."


I'm sure that there will a longer one sometime in the future????????

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church

THE REPORT

You will need to download it depending on the browser you use - but it's only 16 pages long.

I think that it speaks for itself. There is a problem (duh!!) & we have yet to hear the present Pope make any commentary on the issue - poverty, abortion, but no child sexual abuse.

Makes one wonder ..................