Women stand side by side looking into the sunset over the water.

Some guys who seem really “nice” are violent to women

The Jian Ghomeshi scandal has provoked lots of discussion. One take-away for all of us, I think, is that guys who seem really “nice” are sometimes violent to women. I listened often to the radio show, “Q” and enjoyed Ghomeshi’s broadcasting. He seemed like a genuinely good guy. But here is the thing: men who are abusive or violent to women, usually seem like good guys. Most violent men hide their violence from everyone except their intimate partner. This is part of what isolates and disempowers women who experience abuse. Everyone else thinks he is a great guy and so she is concerned (with good reason) that no one will believe her if they say what is going on behind closed doors.

I think about a woman I supported once who was raped on a date. She was so badly assaulted that she had to go to hospital. The police interviewed her and said they would go ahead with charges. Then they interviewed the man and came back and said, “He is a good guy. Clearly there was just some sort of misunderstanding between you two.” It was shocking that a police officer would think that a guy who presented himself well was not capable of rape. If police officers are not clear about that, what hope do the rest of us have?

I hope Canadians will take away from this mess regarding Ghomeshi that “nice” guys sometimes do awful things to women behind closed doors.

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