May 11, 2016, a day I’ll never forget.
I started May 11, 2016 with very mixed emotions. The impending peace bond with rumours of a possible apology. I wasn’t certain how I felt but the initial internal screaming was hard to ignore.
I came to the court to hold signs and stand with my sisters in support of survivors.
The inference was that the crown had once again thrown in the towel with no faith in his witness. Was another one of us going to get thrown to the wolves from this mythical justice system, and in this case, not even through trial?
Nope. My assumptions were wrong on every level. This was history in the making. Borel was magnificent.
My first comments to the media were premature and based on what I had surmised to be taking place that day. I expressed that Borel wasn’t going to get her day in court, but later found out she did have her day outside of court. I thought Ghomeshi would once again just walk away from his abuse, and that this was his get out of jail free card (well it was).
It was Henein who had brought the peace bond to the table hoping to quickly squelch the charges with a promise to stay away from Ms. Borel even though they didn’t work together anymore, and, she is currently working in L.A.
It made no sense to me. I heard Borel had witnesses and reports, and this sounded like it would have a far better probability of conviction than mine did. I thought perhaps she didn’t want to go through the hell we did with Henein and her crafty ability to create a lie from the truth.
Once media caught wind of my presence it was non-stop requests for a response to the peace bond. My intention of holding signs with my sisters was cut short. The day was tiring and I felt my words were becoming redundant. Then came Ghomeshi’s apology and the subsequent statement from Ms. Borel.
Ghomeshi’s apology was read to me as I took a much needed break from reporters. An apology no one was certain would happen, but was rumoured be a part of the peace bond that made no sense.
Some of what he said stood out for me.
“I recognized that I crossed boundaries inappropriately….I did not appreciate the damage that I caused….this incident was thoughtless and I was insensitive to her perspective and how demeaning my conduct was towards her. I understand that now.”
My internal voice was once again screaming. Did you realize punching me in the head repeatedly, choking Lucy and smothering witness number 3 was demeaning too? Did you realize that not getting consent first was crossing boundaries inappropriately with us as well? Do you understand that now after your 61 sessions with your therapist (whom I thought you were seeing for years and told you to get a teddy bear)?
It seemed to be a carefully crafted statement to get out of jail free with an apology. He would have maintained the lie in court had the peace bond not been an option. This is what he did with us. We weren’t offered the option of a peace bond. With the admission of wrong doing with Ms. Borel, witnesses, reports and his public admission of liking rough sex, it seemed Ghomeshi was perhaps forced into a peace bond or face admitting this in a trial and losing. Ghomeshi was only able to maintain the lie with us because we had no witnesses. He has now publicly proven himself to be a liar with Ms. Borel with this faux-pology and peace bond. (Word used by another survivor)
What Ghomeshi and Henein, or any of us for that matter didn’t see coming was Ms. Borel’s brilliant statement. For this I am forever grateful.
Ghomeshi opened the door a little with his apology and Borel blew it wide open with the truth. She included all of us who she believes he has lied to, and also owes an apology.
Thank you Kathryn Borel for your courage.
Hi everyone, thanks for coming out and listening my name is Kathryn Borel.
In December of 2014, I pressed sexual assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi. As you know, Mr. Ghomeshi initially denied all the charges that were brought against him. But today, as you just heard, Jian Ghomeshi admitted wrongdoing and apologized to me.
It’s unfortunate, but maybe not surprising, that he chose not to say much about what exactly he was apologizing for. I’m going to provide those details for you now.
Every day, over the course of a three-year period, Mr. Ghomeshi made it clear to me that he could do what he wanted to me and my body. He made it clear that he could humiliate me repeatedly and walk away with impunity. There are at least three documented incidents of physical touching. This includes the one charge he just apologized for, when he came up behind me while I was standing near my desk, put his hands on my hips, and rammed his pelvis against my backside over and over, simulating sexual intercourse.
Throughout the time that I worked with him, he framed his actions with near daily verbal assaults and emotional manipulations. These inferences felt like threats or declarations like I deserved to have happening to me what was happening to me. It became very difficult for me to trust what I was feeling.
Up until recently, I didn’t even internalize that what he was doing to my body was sexual assault. Because when I went to the CBC for help, what I received in return was a directive that yes, he could do this, and yes, it was my job to let him. The relentless message to me, from my celebrity boss and from the national institution we worked for were that his whims were more important than my humanity or my dignity. So I came to accept this. I came to believe it was his right. But when I spoke to the police at the end of 2014, and detailed my experiences with Mr. Ghomeshi, they confirmed to me that what he did to me was, in fact, sexual assault.
And that is what Jian Ghomeshi just apologized for, the crime of sexual assault. This is a story of a man who had immense power over me and my livelihood, admitting that he chronically abused his power and violated me in ways that violate the law. Mr. Ghomeshi’s constant workplace abuse of me and my many colleagues and friends has since been corroborated by multiple sources, a CBC fifth estate documentary, and a third party investigation.
In a perfect world, people who commit sexual assault would be convicted for their crimes. Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of having done the things that I’ve outlined today. So when it was presented to me that the defence would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego the trial. It seemed like the clearest path to the truth. A trial would have maintained his lie, the lie that he was not guilty, and would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I am currently trying to stop.
Jian Ghomeshi has apologized, but only to me. There are 20 other women who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about his violent behavior. Women who have come forward to say he punched, and choked, and smothered and silenced them.
There is no way I would have come forward if it weren’t for their courage. And yet Mr. Ghomeshi hasn’t met any of their allegations head on, as he vowed to do in his Facebook post of 2014. He hasn’t taken the stand on any charge. All he’s said about his other accusers is that they’re all lying and that he’s not guilty. And remember: that’s what he said about me.
I think we all want this to be over. But it won’t be until he admits to everything he’s done. Thank you.