AN ISOLATED INCIDENT?
I do not believe in isolated incidents. Alarms sound when I hear someone playing down a scandal by saying, It’s an isolated incident. Every isolated incident always turns out to be not-so isolated.
Jian Ghomeshi wanted the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and the world, to believe that the allegations against him were from a disgruntled ex-girlfriend. In other words, an isolated incident.
Sexual harassment is rampant. It always has been rampant and, perhaps, always will be. Sexual predators in organizations, companies, businesses wield enough power to cover it up. They also make it hard to prove, and difficult for victims to come forward. In some cases, as in the entertainment industry, sexual harassment is out in the open for all to see. The powerful sexual predators make no attempt to hide it. They have no problems finding victims with so many people worried about their careers and wanting success. Those who refuse to go along with the sexual harassment get replaced from a long line of those who will go along.
A friend told me that his daughter worked for a major telecommunications company. It was well-known that women were expected to get into the hot tub with the CEO, and other executives, at the yearly Christmas party held at the CEO’s home. Any women refusing to get into the hot tub would be “let go.” The company always made it seem that a woman who had refused to comply was let go for a legitimate reason. No one could prove that her failure to get into the hot tub was the reason, but everyone knew and kept their mouths shut.
My friend said that his daughter refused to get into the hot tub at Christmas one year. She was “let go” the following March. The reason? The company restructured and her job was redundant.
Many years ago, a Canadian actress published and article in the Canadian actor’s magazine. She did not name the director, but said that he was well-known. She wrote that she auditioned for a role, and the director told her that the role was hers if she slept with him. She refused and did not get the part. I do not know whether her courage to report the incident, in the actor’s magazine, affected her acting career.
Isolated incidents? Was this the only company that found ways of getting rid of women who did not comply with the CEO’s sexual desires? Was this the only time a director offered a role in exchange for sex?
What a difference between appearance and reality! The appearance is that sexual harassment rarely happens. If it does, then it’s an isolated incident. The company takes measures to make sure that it will never happen again. The reality is that sexual harassment is widespread, covered up, and not reported no matter what measures existed to prevent it. For appearances, a spokesperson will say, Our company will not tolerate sexual harassment. The reality is, Our company will tolerate sexual harassment because of the power of the sexual predators. We will do out best to deny it and cover it up making it difficult for the victims to come forward. Any preventive measures we put in place are for appearances only.
Did the CBC know about Jian Ghomeshi’s “inappropriate behavior” and look the other way? Is Jian Ghomeshi the only CBC employee who used his position to satisfy his sexual desires?
What about the other media outlets? Their columnists and commentators express “shock and outrage” at the CBC’s apparent tolerance of Jian Ghomeshi’s behavior. Are these media outlets sexual-harassment free? If they are not, then I am sure that any occurrences of sexual harassment will be isolated incidents.