Editorial: Harmful message sent

I don’t like Gian Ghomeshi. I didn’t realize just how much I disliked him until this week when he addressed.

I don’t like Gian Ghomeshi.

I didn’t realize just how much I disliked him until this week when he addressed, for the first time, an Ontario Provincial Court to apologize for “sexually inappropriate” behaviour towards a CBC co-worker in exchange for Crown dropping a charge of sexual assault against him.

The apology, meant as neither a confession or a conviction, basically indicates “a tie” in the legal world.

Both defence and Crown lawyers can claim a victory, the victim can avoid the brutal process of testifying in court, and Ghomeshi gets to walk without a criminal record.

So why does it still leave such a bitter taste?

I suppose that’s because as a woman I can relate to the harmful effects of sexual harassment in the workplace.

And, as a Canadian, I believe that yet another message has been sent that, ultimately, you can get away with harassing women in the workplace without criminal consequence.

In this case, according to CBC reports, the complainant accused Ghomeshi of pushing his pelvis into her behind at work when she had bent over to pick up some fallen papers. She asked the court to waive a ban that protected her identity and agreed with Crown to drop the charge of sexual assault against him if he apologized and signed a peace bond.

The victim, a producer at the radio show Q which Ghomeshi hosted, slammed the CBC for not protecting her when she went to them for help.

“The relentless message to me from my celebrity boss and the national institution we worked for were that his whims were more important than my humanity or dignity,” she told the media.

For his part, Ghomeshi said he “did not appreciate the damage” his behaviour caused the victim and that he was “insensitive to her perspective and how demeaning” his conduct was to her.

I find that hard to believe.

Also hard to believe is the CBC’s lack of action in all of this.

Perhaps the only comfort for future victims in all this is the public scolding Ghomeshi has faced. But is that really enough?

– Angie Mindus, Williams Lake Tribune

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