Shame is part of our problem.
As the disturbing revelations flow from a trickle to a flood in the Jian Ghomeshi case, I, like many others have not only been horrified by what I have learned but also have just plain learned a lot. I have learned a lot about what victims of sexual assault go through, I have learned why so many choose not report this crime, I have begun to learn a tiny but interesting amount of information about the culture of BDSM and how important consent is to its participants. I have also learned about Canadian law. Most of all, I have learned about myself that I still have so much to learn. In more than one of the articles I’ve read in recent days, the writer has written something to the effect of “you (the reader) should be ashamed for immediately siding with Jian”. I agree it tells us a lot about our collective understanding of sexual assault how readily so many of us wanted to believe his side of things, but subsequently so many of us have learned new things and undoubtedly will be more skeptical of the person speaking and more concerned about who is being silent(silenced) from now on.
Shame does not help us learn anything. We already know that, right? Shame is in fact part of our problem. Let’s not be ashamed. Let’s take collective stock, let's listen with an open heart to anyone who is brave enough to speak up and understand our role in why so many people feel they can't.
We still have so much to learn and start (and continue) learning as much as we can. Shame dooms learning, and we can’t afford shame one minute longer.