No Fancy Titles, Just One Man’s Opinion.

So as you know, I use my infinitesimal slice of the interweb to take my revenge on stingy hotels guests and to rant and rave about my job and life in general. Sure, I’ll sometimes get sentimental or reflective, but for the most part, this is the place to go if you want to laugh at one man’s temporary misery.

But there’s another side to The Hook.

There has been something gnawing at me for years now. An event from my past that occasionally surfaces to momentarily distract me from my daily. Life. I ponder it. Weigh its importance and push it back down with the dark things that bubble and scream under the surface of my mind, such as it is. This has been the cycle for years and I was content to leave the status quo alone.

Then this happened.

Jian Ghomeshi: The story so far.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who aren’t familiar with this debacle, but those of you who are must share my concern for the debate this has sparked concerning workplace harassment and most disturbingly, the stigma attached to reporting a sexual assault.

By all indications, Ghomeshi’s behavior has been left unchecked for decades;  Media outlets and the authorities are continuing to investigate and are receiving allegations dating back more than 20 years, when Ghomeshi was a member of the band Moxy Früvous. 

What bothers me most is how easily a situation like this divides the sexes. I’ve read of and observed some furiously bitter engagements over the last week and it just all seems so… pointless.

Wee need to come together and eradicate the type of “Old Boys Club” that allows predators to stalk their prey under the surface of daily life. Since his firing, Ghomeshi had been dumped by crisis communications firm Navigator; publicity company Rock-It Promotions; his publisher; his agent; the musician Lights, whom he managed for 12 years; and the Polaris Music Prize jury. But what of his victims? How will their lives be impacted, not only by the trauma they’ve suffered but by the fallout and attention of this scandal that appears to have barely begun to gain steam?

And at last, my friends, we’ve reached the point of this little rant.

What I’m about to discuss isn’t a play for sympathy or attention. I don’t care about being Freshly Pressed or going viral. I’m not concerned with being retweeted a million times. I simply want to address Ghomeshi’s victims and the millions/billions (?) of other individuals out there who have been raped. And yes, I’m going to use the word “rape”. Not “sexual assault”. That term is clinical. Cold. Impersonal. That term was invented to make newscasters, prosecutors and others feel more comfortable discussing the most personal, horrible act that one can have forced upon them by another.

To anyone who has ever been raped, I have this to say.

You are not alone. Though on one level, no one can ever fully understand the exact nature of your specific violation, there are others out there who have been rendered helpless. Others who have been stripped of their humanity. Others who have been thrust into the dark, seemingly never to feel the light in their hearts again.

You are not worthless. You will be able to experience and give love again. The act of rape is inhuman and therefore should not impact your life as a fully-realized person of value in society – even though it certainly feels that way.

 You have a voice. It feels as though it has been silenced, but that is only true if you refuse to vocalize your pain, your anger and your shame. We live in an age where our voices can be head across the gulf in a matter of seconds. Your heart will break as you do so, but you must reach out. You must tell others what you have experienced, if only once, to one person. If you do not, then you will truly be lost.

You can live a full life. Horribly, there are countless acts of violence and degradation committed against individuals every second across the globe. This is a frightening statistic, yes, but it is also an empowering one. To me, it means that no one is truly without brothers and sisters who share their pain and are willing to band together – if they only willing to acknowledge each other.

My name is Robert Hookey. People call me The Hook. As a young boy, something unspeakable happened to me. But you know what?

It doesn’t really matter.

I have a spouse of twenty years who knows everything about me and doesn’t care. (Well, the nerdy stuff drives her around the bend, but the darkness is irrelevant.)

I’m not worthless. (Financially, I  certainly am, but not in every other way that matters. And yes, my humor may seem out of place, but we each have our own coping mechanisms, don’t we?)

I have a voice. Which as you know, I use quite regularly.

I have a full life. My past hasn’t impacted my ability to experience a fully-realized life, in and out of the bedroom. I have a great kid who has already exceeded her father’s accomplishments. My past has never forced me to contemplate suicide or crawl inside a bottle or needle. As I’ve said, it rises to the surface on occasion but I can live with that.

And so can you.

One last thing before I click the “publish” box – which is among the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, truth be told – my personal feelings may anger some who feel the world isn’t as cut and dry as I make it appear to be. I’m only one man with an opinion which I’m sharing in the hopes of helping others. I’m no expert. Take my words for what they’re worth and move on with your life.

That is all. Good day.

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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67 Responses to No Fancy Titles, Just One Man’s Opinion.

  1. TJLubrano says:

    This is beautifully written, my dear hook. And being able to put it in words and hit publish…I can only applaud this. Because you are so right when you say that a lot might feel like they have lost their voice. As long as there are examples like you, the voices that are lost will be found back again.

  2. Pamela Edwards says:

    Good Job Hook ! Glad you gave this subject a voice !

  3. I’m glad you clicked “publish” and that you are taking a stand. I am following this story and am interested to see, when all the BS falls away, what we are left with.

    And not to be too cheeky on such a serious post, but do you think Jian, once the King of Spain, will now eat humble pie?

  4. Sue Vincent says:

    A brave post.

    I won’t comment on one man’s guilt or innocence; I know too little of the facts of this particular case to do so. However I wholeheartedly agree that the closing of ranks in order to protect any perpetrator of abuse is both prevalent in certain areas and utterly wrong. Victims of any kind of abuse find it hard enough to speak out without fear of reprisals and/or disbelief and ridicule being added to the burden.

    I must also say though that there have also been cases where the abuse is a tale fabricated by a mind intent on revenge for some slight, real or imagined, and the mud sticks just as firmly to the accused and does its own damage.

    I am not taking the side here of anything but truth.

    On the second part of your post I also agree with you.

    Victims of rape or abuse can survive and thrive. There is a life afterwards and it does not have to be a mess. It does, however, take time, understanding and support for the victims to cease being ‘just’ faceless statistics… and to cease being victims, shamed, in their own eyes and become themselves once more, only stronger.

    I too speak from personal experience.

    • The Hook says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, but I applaud your strength, Sue.
      And I’m not making judgements either. In fact, I supported Ghomeshi at first – for roughly 12 hrs. – but we’ll have to see how this all plays out.

      • Sue Vincent says:

        We will indeed.
        I can honestly say I am not sorry to have lived the life I have lived, and though I may regret certain things had to take place I would not now go back and change anything. It is from such events we manage to learn to be who we are. Without them, we would be different people.

      • The Hook says:

        I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Sue Vincent says:

        “The past has no power over my present.” I rather think you did 🙂

  5. Littlesundog says:

    You will find a compassionate nature from me regarding the atrocities many of us suffered as children. I tend to nurture myself with nature, and heal with Mother Nature’s balm. It isn’t easy to put yourself out there in a society that has put a wall of defense up… for some, to ward off further hurt, and for others a place of some kind of security and protection. A society so superficial that we focus on pretending, hiding and stuffing our deepest hurts. Truly, only we can heal ourselves by connecting with others – by reaching out in understanding, compassion, caring and love. This is well written Hook… this is the side of you I especially love and understand.

  6. Fucking brilliant, Hook!

    My Redneck Respect-O-Meter just broke. When I read the words “something unspeakable happened to me”, it hit me like a 2x 4 between the eyes on just how incredibly difficult it must have been to hit that “Publish” button.

    I applaud you, amigo.

    Best. Post. Ever.

    • The Hook says:

      Thank you, my Leader.
      I actually hesitated for a few minutes, but I figured, what the hell? The past has no power over my present. I just hope I don’t anger anyone with my opinions.

  7. Very well written and an absolutely imperative message for all to hear. Thanks for sharing your story, I know it will benefit others who don’t feel like anyone knows what they are going through.

    — Meg

  8. Terri says:

    for Hook. *warm, fuzzy, comforting typea thing

  9. krazykris71 says:

    Well said sir. I’m glad to know there are those willing and able to help be the voice for change.

  10. katecrimmins says:

    Very well written and humor is healing. Sometimes I can only say hard things with humor injected.

  11. colemining says:

    Great post, Hook. This dialogue we have going on since the JG madness came to light is headed in the right direction because it includes brave voices like yours.

  12. JackieP says:

    I don’t comment often Hook, but I am today. Thank you. I know how much courage it took to write those few words. We do grow up, we do have wonderful lives, we do grow into great people. And sometimes, we do manage to write things down, we wouldn’t normally do so we can reach others that may need that helping hand and know they aren’t alone. Speaking from my own past, yes we can and do lead good lives, even if the past is always lurking, we don’t let it stop us from trying to be the best we can be. It certainly doesn’t have to stop us from holding out that hand and helping someone else along their own road of self.

    As for the other topic, we shall see what happens when all the BS levels off.

  13. LucyBre says:

    Well done for standing up against this cruel, cowardly crime! The only people who are worthless are the people who inflict such pain…

  14. Lindsay says:

    What courage this took! Hook, you’ve outdone yourself on this one. You are a wonderful man. Thank you for this important piece.

  15. Like you, I also sided with the accused when the story first broke. I’m definitely not leaning that way now. With the media being the judge and jury it may be some time (if ever) before the BS does clear and we can know the truth. Also, like you and (judging from the comments above) many of your readers I have things from my past that are unspeakable. Finally, like you, I use humour as my coping mechanism, so I can appreciate how eloquently and realistically you addressed this situation. I applaud you, Robert, from the bottom of my heart.

  16. Dear Hook,
    Your courage and grace and resilience amaze and inspires me. I’m saving your post and sending it to a friend who just told me (not even 7 days ago) the horrible things that happened to him when he was twelve. I’m a helper and a fixer and feeler and I wanted/want to do anything to him help him with what he’s going through…30+ years later. I know that your words will resonate with him and I will send the moment I know it’s right. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. xo

    • The Hook says:

      I hope your friend moves away from the dark.
      Tell him he’s far from alone.

      • I hope he does, too. He has a beautiful wife and two little boys and a ghost that haunts him. I always knew that there was something behind his eyes. I told him the same you just did…he is far from alone. Your words confirm that. Thank you, Robert.

  17. Britt says:

    Well done, Robert. This is brave and awesome… like you. xoxo

  18. Ned's Blog says:

    As is often the case, those with the most humor to offer are just as often keepers of a painful past. It is a coping mechanism; a way to filter the pain through a calydoscope meant to distract. Eventually it becomes a way of life which, as long as we understand it for what it is, moves from coping mechanism to healing process over time. It takes courage and insight to put the calydoscope down and reveal the true nature of what we see. The fact that you have done so here, and in such a brilliant and courageous way, is proof that you are stronger than your past and more than its sum total. You are your own person capable of sharing the best of yourself with others. We’re all fortunate to be among them, Robert.

  19. Amen. You are a courageous, smart and enlightened man. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

  20. From someone who has also had unspeakable things done I can attest to your courage to get up and keep going. To live a full life with a wonderful spouse and a cool kid! Thank you for having the words to encourage others in their pain. Hopefully it will ring true with some and they will seek help and guidance and know there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Rock on my friend…… you are “off the Hook!” 😀 ❤

    • The Hook says:

      I had no idea, Courtney.
      All my love and friendship to you, of course.
      Thank you.

      • Yeah…well….I don’t talk about that stuff any more than I have to. I dealt with it a long time ago and put it behind me, same as you. But it does put me in a place of pure unadulterated empathy when I hear about it happening to someone else. I can truly say I understand on some level. Mine was not violent…it was incest by my step father for 4 years, enough said. But damaging none the less. I appreciate your friendship Robert. I love so much the blog community and the enormous love and support that flows uninhibited from others I have met like you. It blows my mind! Thank you for your words. 🙂 ❤

      • The Hook says:

        And thank you for yours, Courtney.

  21. markbialczak says:

    Mr. Hookey, you are a man of bravery and well-chosen words for the manner in which you’ve presented this safe landing spot for the fears and self-loathing of the victims of a truly hateful crime. I’m glad you’ve been able to live and share a prosperous emotional life with your spouse and daughter. To find this in a spot where I am accustomed to being entertained and perhaps even educated through sharp humor, well, thank you sir for allowing this side to see the light.

  22. This is a beautiful moving post, Robert. And most inspiring! You are so right! The survivors and victims can live out the fullness and richness of their lives despite their traumatic past. Though not everyone deals with pain and suffering the same way, there is always a better way. A more positive and beneficial way, for sure. I, too, had my own share of traumatic childhood. Things that should not happen to young children. I was not always strong and had lived in fear for a long time. But I did find a better way out of the darkness. I am very glad that I made it through. Hence, I have the highest respect and admiration for people like you who are just fearless in the most empowering sense. You recognised that a bad horrible incident in your life need not become your life. Bravo, Robert. As always, I am honoured to know you.

  23. PsiFiGal says:

    Thank you Hook, for being so brave to publish this. It is a sad fact that it is something that happens every day, that there are people hurting from abuse, not knowing they are not alone. As a society we need to teach our young that this is NOT ok and to speak up, loudly, if something like this happens, so that the abuser cannot hurt anyone else… Most don’t speak up, that’s the fact that haunts me…

  24. orples says:

    I was really impressed with this post, Hook. I had not yet seen your serious side. I had a friend who had been raped, and was surprised at her reaction at the proprietor of a friendly little pub I used to visit on occasion. The owner greeted the clientele at the door with a kiss on top of the hand if you were female; a handshake if you weren’t. My friend freaked when Terry greeted her. I never really understood her severe reaction to what I thought was a gentlemanly gesture, until later when a mutual friend clued me in. You hear about this sort of thing going on, but I guess until it happens to you, you never really know how deep the dagger cuts. I hope I will never find out, either.

  25. Marissa says:

    Thanks so much for saying and sharing. It is a courageous act! One necessary if we are to stop the violence! I deeply appreciate this post and your courage. Blessings, Marissa

  26. Marie says:

    To invite vulnerability in order to lend strength and illuminate hope for strangers; your words on this intimate subject are both brave and inspired.

  27. Becky says:

    I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to publish this. Good for you for speaking out.

  28. shimoniac says:

    That was incredibly courageous of you, Hook. Thank you for pressing “publish”. I think though that perhaps we need to become angry. Angry that rape happens. Angry that rape gets swept under the carpet. Angry that all too often it seems the victim is blamed rather than the perpetrator.

  29. curvyroads says:

    Hook, you are a kind and courageous man, and I admire you for sharing your experience. I know nothing about the case you mentioned, but I totally agree that expressing and sharing pain of any sort is a start to healing. I hope it helps you as much as I am sure it will help others.

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