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.
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.