Why women shouldn’t be silent

I’ve only met Sarah Thompson a few times and I don’t know Rob Ford at all, so I’m not necessarily a fan of either. I have no skin in this game, as it were.

However, I take Sarah Thomson at her word. Regardless of the actions she took following the alleged grope, and whether I agree with them or not, one of these people has a history of lying, flaunting the rules and breaking the law. And that person is not Sarah Thomson.

In just two days, much has been written about what happened between Thomson and Ford at the CJPAC Action Party, but this piece, by Ivor Tossell, stands out.

Unfortunately, women do still have to deal with this shit. And it will only be when we all speak up and say enough, will it stop. Exactly because of the kind of attacks made against Thomson – she’s a liar, she wants attention, she’s not pretty enough to be groped or propositioned – many women remain silent. Speaking out takes courage, lots of it.

Almost a year ago, a Progressive Conservative MPP stood up in the Ontario Legislature and referred to me as someone’s “squeeze.” I was shocked. And I wasn’t alone. Gilles Bisson was shocked, too. He stood up and admonished Mr. Nicholls in the strongest language possible:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omWW0S8vays&feature=player_embedded]

There was a lot of media attention given to Nicholls’ comments, mostly because of the excuses he made (worse things have been said in the Legislature) and my person favourite: Nicholls thought it was a “term of endearment.”

Bottom line: Until more women, and men, speak out against harassment and sexism, and begin supporting those who make the allegations, it will continue. It exists and it happens to women every single day. To borrow a line from Tossell: Women have to deal with an appalling amount of garbage.


8 Comments on “Why women shouldn’t be silent”

  1. luvtosmock says:

    Lisa has more integrity than anyone I know and this piece is on the money, timely and exactly what we need to hear at this very time. Thank you.

  2. luvtosmock says:

    Did you hear what he said on his radio show today? “I’ve always wondered if she’s playing with a full deck.” He’s claiming it was a set up.

    And there’s still this gem: “one of these people has a history of lying, flaunting the rules and breaking the law. And that person is not Sarah Thomson.”

    You should definitely retweet this one today! He should never be using his position power like this.

  3. I’m ashamed to admit that when I heard this story, my first thoughts were about the reasons I am not a huge Sarah fan. But the fact is it doesn’t matter. If she was made to feel uncomfortable, if she was harassed, she does have the right to stand up and she has the right to be supported. Whether she is the most popular person or not is irrelevant, because standing up and speaking out is brave even if she didn’t handle it perfectly as she has later come to say.

  4. gurpreet says:

    You know who else had to put up with crap? Sarah Thomson’s aide, who she sent in to be groped by Ford to get a photo for future campaign uses. This emerged after people starting coming forward that she was telling them of her plans to ‘set [Ford] up’

    Sarah Thomson may or may not have been groped (so far multiple witnesses say she wasn’t and none say she was) — but by her own version of events she put a probably 20-something junior staffer in harms way to reap political benefit. The response if a male boss asked a female staffer to be sexually harassed to further his political career? (Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/08/rob_ford_sarah_thomson_accuses_toronto_mayor_of_inappropriate_touch_suggestive_remark.html)

    Personally, presuming she is being truthful, I’d consider sending a female subordinate into the line of fire to be groped and then planning to use that as campaign fodder to be equally offensive, if not slightly more so, to Ford’s alleged action towards her.

  5. Perry says:

    Lisa … I totally agree … woman should speak out … but speak out the TRUTH and not setup men for imagined attacks. I’ve known many good men how have been accused of attacks on their wives (now X-Wives) who have gone to jail and then later it was found that the accusations were not true … its all too EASY to put a man in jail these days.
    Gurpreet makes a very good point … what if it was a male boss that sent in his junior female staffer to get molested and sexually harass? I guess its acceptable to try to setup the Mayor this time? How about all the witnesses (not one but TWO councillors in Richmond Hill) who has come out to offer their first hand witness of the events?
    http://www.newstalk1010.com/News/localnews/blogentry.aspx?blogEntryID=10514450
    I guess the Mayor, the councillors and other witnesses are all lyning?
    Bottom line … I fully support speaking out … tell the police, press charges and lets find the truth … if a woman (or man) is attacked or sexually harassed, then lets get the police and our justice system involved … don’t send out your female (male) staffers out to get violated … don’t make accusations on social media that you can not prove …

  6. Sam Gurthrie says:

    Your post was pretty on the money with regards to women’s treatment in general. The one point I take exemption with is that you take “Sarah Thomson at her word” because you claim that she does not have a history of lying or breaking laws (that you know of).
    I also am curious as to why she is automatically the victim and not Rob Ford? Is it because she made the accusation first? If it is all false then Rob Ford becomes the victim and all the comments against him would have to be considered attacks against the victim, right?
    I don’t know Rob Ford nor am I conservative. I do know Sarah Thomson though and I am a Liberal.
    I have read a few times now that Sarah Thomson does not have a history of lying or breaking laws. Fact is, she had lied multiple times during her multiple campaigns to the point where she had to edit her bio page on her website more than once. She was also charged with assaulting an ex-employee. She admittedly (and corroborated by Vaughan MPP Greg Sorbara http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/08/who_is_sarah_thomson_meet_mayor_rob_fords_accuser_again.html) went through several campaign managers during the election. There is something not right in Denmark when seven campaign managers can’t work with a candidate. Other than Sorbara, no one else of any prominence has come out to support her. Not that an elected official or anything should carry more weight but it is curious that she doesn’t seem to have any friends out there on the political circuit with which she seems to run (though that could be more of a sign of political times than anything else.)
    My point here is that I think the argument should not be “his word vs hers” or the “culture of victimization” but rather something more simple. There is a right and there is wrong. If he did it he is wrong and should face the consequences that come with it. If Sarah Thomson lied she is wrong and should have to face the consequences. Anyway this story plays out is sad.


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