Who Said That?

The graduates of McGill University who finished their degrees after World War II ended are the great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents of those who are graduating from university and college over 65 years later.  The quotes beside each graduates’ name speaks volumes of how they interpreted the world around them.  Since most of the quotes fail to acknowledge the author of the quote, I thought it would be fun to see how many of these quotes are recognized by those who follow or visit my blog.  Today’s quote is this:

Follow the gleam.

Feel free to add the name of who you believe was — or may have been — the person who first spoke or first wrote those words, in the Comments Section below.

How Could This Have Gone On For So Long?

With the Jian Ghomeshi scandal breaking new stories every few hours, the aspect of bullying and intimidation has come forward as one of the many ways in which predators control their victims … or try to control their victims.  What is common among many predators who use bullying and intimidation to keep their victims in line is the fact that at the core of their being, they are anxious about their own limitations and a distrust of others because they recognize in themselves that they cannot be trusted.

They generally have an air of superiority and have a need for power over others as well as adulation and fawning.  There is no respect shown by predators for others, and there is no reciprocity unless, in doing so, it benefits the predator.

Some mistakenly believe that nice people cannot be predators.  The truth of the matter is that there are people who are perceived as being nice who are among some of the most dangerous predators out there.

They seem to lack empathy and their insecurity about themselves manifests itself in the predator’s air of superiority and the need for power over others.

For the most part, predators have minimal coping skills with which to deal with the stresses of every day living.  As their anxiety levels rise, so does their propensity for abusing others as they perceive their world as spiralling out of control to varying degrees.

How they succeed has everything to do with how successful they are in breaking their victim’s confidence.  Through manipulation and unpredictable behavior, they drive a wedge between the victim’s self-confidence and the victim’s realistic view of the situation.  Once this has been accomplished, predators know they can control and instill terror in the life of their victim or victims.  What’s more, they will make their victim second guess themselves and where necessary, push their victim towards feelings of paranoia.

Predators are very good at making themselves look very good and making their victims look — and feel — very bad (when victims feel unable to stand up to the predator).

Previous to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal breaking, he was known to be an award-winning broadcaster whose show had the largest audience of any cultural affairs program in Canada … a show that was syndicated in the U.S. and that was lauded in the Washington Post.  He is a former member of the Board of Governors at the Stratford Theatre Festival, and worked with many established arts groups with clout.  He won a New York Festivals award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. His Twitter account is blue tick verified, and has been for a long, long time.  And he’s hobnobbed with major established celebrities.  In all, a very impressive resume that is far longer than what’s been mentioned here.  He has a large following on social media where he is reported in the media and by acquaintances as focusing a large amount of time.  The balance of power is in his favor.

This is why, when the scandal began to break, so many were incredulous at what was being said about Jian.

From personal experience, I can state that I have been stalked and trolled by a predator and some of his inner circle for four years now. Like Jian, he has an award that’s tied to the same Queen and he’s received other awards.  Like Jian, he’s rubbed shoulders with (minor) celebrities.  Like Jian, he has a large following on social media (although there is some question as to how many of those followers are bought and paid for followers) where he claims to focus a large amount of his time.  Unlike Jian, his Twitter account is not blue tick verified in spite of a months-long aggressive campaign in an attempt to jump the Twitter blue tick verification process. The balance of power seems to be in his favor in his estimation.

When I rebuffed his many attempts to follow me on various social media platforms — I blocked him — he became abusive.  When I refused to join him on one of his many social media crusades, he targeted me.  When he couldn’t intimidate me into folding to his wishes, he increased his efforts by contacting people I knew and (unsuccessfully) attempting to spread lies about me to them.

He made sure I knew he had people stalking my social media accounts and news feeds, and to this day, he continues to spread wild confabulations about me.  If he lived closer to where I live, I would be far more worried about his behavior than I am.  But he lives a reasonable distance away, and I ignore most of his attacks against me and those who are close to me (including attacks against my son with multiple diagnoses).

However, this is without a doubt,the behavior of a predator, and this is the world in which we now live.  Studies have proven that 1 in 100 people is a psychopath.  Not every predator is a psychopath, however, they seem to share many traits and characteristics with psychopaths.

When people on social media question why it is that the women alleging that Jian Ghomeshi assaulted them didn’t file police reports against him or why they didn’t go to the CBC and discuss with human resources what happened to them, it’s because they may not understand the nature of a predator.    In fact, many of them have stated in the media that they felt they wouldn’t be believed, and that speaking up would lead to reprisals.

Intimidation, abuse, and violence — verbal, psychological, mental, and/or physical — are all part of a predator’s tool kit.  People like Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris seem to have known this.  And predators will do whatever it takes to gain and retain control of their victims and their victims’ lives.

Ask Brianna Wu.

Ask Carla Ciccone.

Ask Anita Sarkeesian.

Ask Lucy DeCoutere.

Ask any victim who has lived through the assaults by a predator and the predator’s blind but loyal followers.

This is another set of reasons why victims are reluctant to make known what has happened to them … or what is still happening to them.  It’s not as easy to speak out as one might think.

Elyse Bruce

Some Answers to the Question Why No Charges Were Ever Filed

The question that seems to be getting the most attention with regards to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal is this:  Why didn’t the women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Jian Ghomeshi report the assault to police?

Why, indeed?  Perhaps the statistics on sexual assault in Canada and the United States will help explain why women who claim they were sexually assaulted by Jian Ghomeshi allegedly did not report the assault to police.

Statistics show that 84 percent of women are sexually assaulted by someone they know — a friend, a family member, or an acquaintance.  Dating or working with someone qualifies that person for acquaintance status at the very least.

Some people will say it’s not sexual assault if the people involved have had sexual relations in the past.  This is incorrect.  It’s sexual assault if one of the people either does not consent to, or has revoked consent, to sexual relations.

It would appear that sexual assault is an easy crime to commit without fear of repercussions.  Statistics Canada states that only 10 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported to police.  Of the sexual assaults reported, only 25 percent result in an arrest.  In other words, 90 percent of sexual assaults are never reported.  This means that 100 percent of those who commit 90 percent of sexual assaults get away with it, and of the remaining 10 percent who are accused of sexual assault, only 2.5 percent are charged.

But this doesn’t mean that 2.5 percent of those who are charged with committing sexual assault are found guilty, and it doesn’t mean that 2.5 percent of those who are found guilty of the charge of committing sexual assault are convicted.

If we put this in terms of 200 sexual assaults committed, only 5 of those 200 will face charges that may or may not be stayed, or that may or may not result in conviction.

This is why the Toronto police can say that Jian Ghomeshi is not being investigated on sexual abuse allegations.  Because reports are rarely made, and of those reports made, few are prosecuted.  Of those who are prosecuted, fewer are found guilty and incarcerated.  The media reported that none of the women had ever filed a complaint against Jian Ghomeshi, and there may be good reason for that.

Now it was also reported that, according to the union to which Jian Ghomeshi belongs, Jian Ghomeshi stated that he would be filing a grievance against the CBC via the union.  His legal team confirmed this in a newspaper report where they were quoted as saying that Ghomeshi would “commence a grievance for reinstatement under his collective agreement.”  And it is also a fact that Jian Ghomeshi has directed his legal team to file a lawsuit against the CBC even with the union grievance already  mentioned.  The problem with filing a grievance and also filing a lawsuit against the CBC is that, as a union member, he cannot sue the CBC.  So what would be the reason for filing a lawsuit where the document is a matter of public record?

To incite abuse?   To incite online abuse?  To incite Internet abuse?  To incite social media abuse? To incite anonymous abuse?  To incite reprisal abuse? To incite victim blaming abuse?

We only have to look at what happened to people such as game developer, Brianna Wu and journalist, Carla Ciccone, and blogger, Anita Sarkeesian, to understand how paralyzing such abuse can be.  The abuse runs the gamut from personal attacks to hacking attacks and destroying careers and families in an attempt to discredit the victim and the victim’s experience and comments.  No one would willingly put themselves or their families in so much danger unless it was completely unavoidable.

As the victim of aggressive cyberbullying by an anti-bullying autism advocate and campaigner, I can assure you that cyberbullies seem to feel that anyone related to their target is fair game … including, in my case, my disabled son who was a minor at the time.  They will stop at nothing to find out their victim’s home phone number and the phone numbers of those with whom their victim works or are contracted to work for or who employs their victim.  They will go to enormous lengths to try to paint their victim as the abuser as they continue to encourage others to aggressively intimidate their victim online as well as in real life.

And while Christie Blatchford wrote in her article last week that the victims could request the courts to order a ban on publication of their name, the fact of the matter is, such a ban wouldn’t extend to a lawsuit such as the one that’s already been filed by Jian Ghomeshi’s legal team.  So the protection granted by a ban on publication of names is rendered moot by the lawsuit that has already been filed.

Coupled with the fact that Jian Ghomeshi has a leading crisis public relations firm on his side, and it’s understandable why the women in question are terrified to have their names known because Jian and his team seem intent on throwing these women to the wolves to protect Jian.

But you see, there are other big questions that need to be asked.  If Jian Ghomeshi is so convinced of his innocence, why would he bother to write a 1,600 word Facebook status update detailing his sexual activities while insisting that details of his sexual activities are private?  And why did Jian Ghomeshi feel it was imperative to run with a pre-emptive strike that consisted of many things including a very public Facebook status update and a lawsuit against his former employer that is a matter of public record once filed?

There’s no doubt that the best defense is an amazing offense, but there’s another saying from Abraham Lincoln that appears to apply to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal:  What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.

Elyse Bruce

SOURCES used in writing this article:

  1. Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008 – 2012
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports: 2006 – 2010
  3. National Center for Policy Analysis, Crime and Punishment in America, 1999
  4. Department of Justice, Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties: Average of 2002 – 2006
  5. CBS News, Rape In America: Justice Denied, 9 November 2009
  6. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  7. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  8. Smarter Sex website, Date Rape Myths & Facts, 2014
  9. Financial Post, Tom Blackwell, Jian Ghomeshi Not Facing Investigation Over Anonymous Sex Abuse Allegations Toronto Police Say, 27 October 2014
  10. New York Times, Anna North, What Jian Ghomeshi’s Accusers Were Afraid Of, 27 October 2014
  11. National Post, Howard Levitt, The Real Reasons Jian Ghomeshi Is Suing The CBC, 28 October 2014
  12. The Independent, Hans Rollman, This Is The Real Story We Need To Be Talking About, 28 October 2014
  13. The Globe and Mail, Kirk Makin, How Canada’s Sex Assault Laws Violate Rape Victims, 5 October 2013
  14. Women Against Violence Against Women, Mythbusting: Statistics, 2014
  15. SACHA Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton, ON), Sexual Assault Statistics, 2014
  16. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Sexual Assault In Canada, 2008
  17. Sex Assault, Sexual Assault Statistics In Canada, 2014
  18. Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Sexual Assault Statistics Fact Sheet, 2014

Idle No More: Important Announcement About This Friday

On Friday, my Idle No More entry will be about the outrageous and completely unacceptable behavior towards Gary Moostoos — an Aboriginal cultural advisor with Boyle Street Community Services — by security guards when he was enjoying a meal in City Centre Mall’s food court Monday afternoon.  The story on the CBC website can be found HERE.

Because of the mistreatment he has received at the hands of the security guards, there will be a peaceful demonstration held at Churchill  Square (also known as Sir Winston Churchill Square) in Edmonton to bring attention to the discriminatory and racist actions visited upon Gary Moostoos.  The peaceful demonstration intends to bring attention to the actions of employees and contract employees of City Center Mall owned by Oxford Property Group (owners of City Center Mall and Kingsway Mall in Edmonton as well as multiple other malls across Canada).

For more information on this peaceful demonstration, please visit the Facebook event page found HERE or copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.facebook.com/events/558910384208798.

Serve Oxford Property (city centre mall) Notice of Boycott and Community Human Rights Watch

Friday, October 31
at 11:00am – 11:30am in UTC-06

On Monday, October 27 an Indigenous Elder was arbitrarily banned from the City Centre mall. This incident is indicative of a larger issue of racial profiling of Indigenous and marginalized community members from this property. As a private property, Oxford Property Group is not responsible to, or governed by regular policing or government laws, however, they must abide by Alberta Human Rights laws including a “duty to accommodate”. Anecdotal evidence by inner city residents points to a theme of intolerance by the mall. The incident the Elder faced speaks to a larger social phenomenon targeting particularly Indigenous people in the inner city.

As Indigenous peoples, concerned citizens, employees and helpers within the inner city we have a duty to listen to the concerns of these vulnerable citizens and speak up as the Elder has bravely done.

By Friday, a letter will be drafted by willing participants giving notice to Oxford that:
– we do not tolerate discriminatory treatment of Indigenous and marginalized peoples
– that a Human rights watch is now underway of their property by concerned citizens and professionals
– that a boycott will be commenced and encouraged until the company goes to extreme and heroic lengths to remediate the situation

The letter will include suggestions on how they may remediate including a lift of the ban, a full and public apology, coordination with the city and agencies that serve vulnerable populations and immediate retraining of their security guards. Any other ideas that may seem appropriate are welcome.

Miigwetch for you support. We will meet at Churchill Square in Edmonton Friday at 11:00 am and walk to the Oxford Property Group Head Office to hand deliver the letter and show our physical support for our brothers and sisters who are mistreated.

4 Lawsuits Waiting To Happen

The following is not to be construed as legal advice.  For expert advice, consult a lawyer, barrister, or solicitor who is qualified to answer your questions on all aspects of business liability.

Being an entrepreneur or small business owner means you have to juggle several important aspects of business.  One of the aspects that is oftentimes overlooked is liability issues.  One lawsuit could be all it takes to lead to shuttering your business for good.  So what are some of the most overlooked liabilities?

Misuse of Intellectual Property

If you put together a hand-out to share with customers and potential customers, make sure that everything in that hand-out has been copyright cleared.  From photographs and cartoons to sections of a book you may be quoting from, make sure that everything is either copyright cleared or falls well within the Fair Use clause, and that you provide accurate source credit.

Unlawful Transmission of Personal Information

With new rules in place on the Internet as it pertains to confidential information (including email addresses), it’s more important than ever to make sure you and your employees and/or contractors keep to the letter of the law.  Whereas in the past, it may have worked to beg forgiveness over asking permission, these days it’s clear that permission must be sought, secured, and confirmed otherwise you could find yourself with bigger problems on your hands.

Outsourcing Events

Just because you’ve contracted with a third-party to provide services doesn’t mean that the third-party is fully responsible for any lawsuits arising from an event or a contract.  It’s up to you to ensure that you have sufficient insurance to cover anything from work-related injuries to customer accidents on-site.  And it’s up to you to confirm in writing that the third-party has sufficient insurance to cover any mishaps.

Product Liability

There is always the possibility that a product could cause an injury to a customer, either because the product is faulty or because the customer misused the product.  From negligence claims to consumer claims, it’s important to cover all your bases.  Don’t assume that you and your business are off the hook if the injury is caused by customer misuse of your product.  When McDonald’s coffee scalded and injured a McDonald’s customer, the franchise was held responsible.

Final Note

Take the time to understand how you or your business may be unknowingly endangered.  Speak with your insurance company to ensure that you have adequate protection, not only for your business but for yourself (especially if your company is unincorporated).  Discuss potential scenarios with your accountant and lawyer to reduce and limit the chances of litigation in the future.  And remember that even with the best planning possible, you can’t plan for everything.

Elyse Bruce

Additional Suggested Reading

Stella Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, P.T.S., Inc. and McDonald’s International, Inc. (August 18, 1994)

Charles A. Summers v. Howard W. Tice, et al. (November 17, 1947)

M’Alister (or Donoghue) (Pauper) v Stevenson (May 26, 1932)

Q’s Kettle Of Fish

I don’t know Jian Ghomeshi personally.  I’ve met him in passing at certain events as have many people.  He was the voice on the “Virtual Tour of the New Market Hallvideo published by Market Hall Performing Arts Centre uploaded to YouTube the summer of 2010.

And because I don’t know Jian Ghomeshi personally and I don’t know any of the women involved personally, I don’t have an opinion specifically about what Jian Ghomeshi has written about online that he claims is the basis for the parting of ways between himself and CBC.

Some say that what is happening with Jian Ghomeshi is because business thinks it has a place in the bedrooms of employees.   You see, CBC hasn’t said anything about Jian Ghomeshi’s personal life.  What the CBC said was that the corporation’s relationship with Jian had come to an end.

CBC ANNOUNCEMENTThere was no release of private information.  There was no commentary that indicated what may or may not have happened in Jian’s — or anyone else’s — bedroom.  And it ended with wishing him well.

Some say that what is happening with the Jian Ghomeshi situation is caused by white privilege because he is an Iranian-Canadian with dark hair, dark eyes, and dark skin.

White privilege is a set of advantages and immunities that benefit white people on a daily basis that are in excess of those accorded other ethnicities, and can exist without conscious knowledge of its presence.  The fact of the matter is, most people I’ve spoken to over the years think he’s got a really great tan and it never dawned on them that he was anything but Canadian.

White privilege wasn’t the reason why there was a parting of the ways between CBC and Jian Ghomeshi.

Cuts to CBC have been pretty brutal over the last few months.  In June of this year, it was announced that between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs would be cut over five years.  This was in addition to the more than 650 jobs that had already been slated for elimination.  The end result was that there would be considerably fewer permanent, contract, and temporary employees working at CBC.

Based on the PR Newswire release, Jian wasn’t cut loose because of cuts to funding for the CBC.

For the general public right now, the facts are still in that netherland region where innuendo and rumor are colliding with allegations and claims.

Let’s take a look at facts that are in evidence.

Jian Ghomeshi was a member of Moxy Fruvous back in the 1990s, and the band was commissioned by the CBC to write “My Baby Loves A Bunch of Authors” for the Toronto Authors’ Festival.   After the band went on hiatus, Jian was picked to host the CBC radio show PLAY after a CBC Newsworld producer hit on the idea of having Ghomeshi host the show.  The show won a Gemini in 2005 for best general / human interest program.

The show that Jian is best known for is Q that was launched 2 years later in 2007.  The Globe and Mail’s television columnist at the time (John Doyle) wrote:  “It seems that somebody thinks Ghomeshi’s narcissistic natterings are the future of CBC.”  To block any misinterpretation of what narcissitic means, this is the dictionary definition.

NARCISSISTIC DEFINITIONJian was quoted in Maclean’s magazine in November 2012 stating that when it comes to job security, he had learned that there is no such thing as job security.

And then there’s Jian’s comment in Toronto Life magazine about an article written by Carla Ciccone, and published on the website XOJane.  It was the story about a man named Keith whom she described as a C-list celebrity who was thought to be homosexual. Toronto Life magazine wrote in their article that Ghomeshi allegedly called his manager and his publicist over the article, believing the article was about him.  His manager and publicist said there was nothing actionable in the article, and advised him to steer clear of it.

NOTE 1:  Carla Ciccone became a target for a number of angry internet travellers, and was subjected to unwarranted abuse on the basis that the commenters believed they knew who Keith was.  The attacks were not dissimilar to those attacks recently experienced by Anita Sarkeesian for her videos on video games and misogynistic culture in video games.

NOTE 2:  In this same article, the writer alleged that Ghomeshi only dates “20-something media and culture types: pretty, bright young women who are likely impressed by [Ghomeshi's] status.”  As there were no sources quoted for the comment, the assumption is that it was based on the women Jian either was or allegedly was dating at any given time.  Ghomeshi also did not object to this passage in the article, implying that it was an accurate representation of his dating preferences.

Another fact is that Jian Ghomeshi has a powerful and large platform from which to tell his side of the story.  With tens of thousands of likes and shares for his Facebook status update at suppertime on Sunday, and the ongoing vilification of the unnamed women, the Internet — and by virtue of that action, the search engines — was clogged with Jian’s version of events.

He has power and public opinion on his side.  He’s the popular guy.  His accusers are the unknowns.

Studies by reputable and respected researchers have shown that it’s human nature to believe those who are known or admired or idolized.  And studies by reputable and respected researchers have shown that most victims of sexual assault are not believed or held responsible for being victimized.

What’s more, it’s a fact that fewer than ten percent of sexual assaults in Canada are ever reported to police.

But getting back to the matter at hand and the facts that are known, the CBC has refused to comment past the initial PR Newswire statement, citing privacy policies and the pending lawsuit from Jian’s lawyers.  In fact, it’s business policy no matter what company is being discussed to not comment on the reasons for an employee’s dismissal due to confidentiality.

The women in question are claiming they were victims of assault as it relates to being punched and/or slapped, choked nearly to unconsciousness, and more.  Jian claims that it was always consensual between all parties.  And although I haven’t researched this in detail, I don’t believe a person can consent to being assaulted under Canadian law.  In fact, under Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada, this is what’s stated regarding consent.

The women who consented to sex do not seem to be complaining about the sex aspect of the interaction to which they did consent; they seem to be complaining about the violence aspect to which they did not consent.

If, as the women have alleged, there was an application of force in excess to that which was previously agreed to, then this means consent was not given by the women.  That would mean what comes of the act is not consensual.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, I don’t know Jian Ghomeshi personally and I don’t know any of the women involved personally.  What I do know is that there are many troubling aspects to this story involving Jian Ghomeshi.  Only time will tell if Jian has been wrongly accused, or if his accusers have been wrongly maligned and victimized a second time … this time in the court of public opinion.

Elyse Bruce

Who Said That?

The graduates of McGill University who finished their degrees after World War II ended are the great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents of those who are graduating from university and college over 65 years later.  The quotes beside each graduates’ name speaks volumes of how they interpreted the world around them.  Since most of the quotes fail to acknowledge the author of the quote, I thought it would be fun to see how many of these quotes are recognized by those who follow or visit my blog.  Today’s quote is this:

How good to live and learn.

Feel free to add the name of who you believe was — or may have been — the person who first spoke or first wrote those words, in the Comments Section below.


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