*Please, please note that this post is in NO way defending Jian Ghomeshi, nor diminishing the accusations against him.
By now most are familiar with the series of events that have unfolded over the last few days.
I personally have met Jian Ghomeshi three times at various speaking engagements during the time he was promoting his book. We had bantered on social media for a while and we chatted a bit when we finally met face-to-face. He always seemed like a “nice guy” in those interactions. I, like many others, had heard whispers about him through the years. Enough whispers that not many people were surprised when the CBC released him, or at the very least, if they were surprised, they had suspicions as to why.
We’ve seen Jian Ghomeshi’s pre-emptive side of the story, the one he posted to Facebook. We’ve read the initial story from four women accusing him of slapping them, punching, biting, choking them. His side is that it was all consensual and under the realm of BDSM. As this was beginning to play out in the media, I couldn’t help but wonder if there would be any women (or men) speak up and say they had spent fully consensual, kinky time with Ghomeshi. I wondered if they were out there. I wondered if “his community” would speak up. I just mused this to myself and my partner. I didn’t speak of this on social media channels or to anyone else. But there was nothing. Not on regular media channels. Not on the kink channels, from what I could see.
This story, at the VERY beginning, still felt as if it could be consensual play turned nonconsensual. It seemed as if there was at least some BDSM feel to it. I’m NOT AT ALL saying that makes any of this any better, but I was still curious about how the events had escalated.
*Please also note, true BDSM would NOT go this way. Boundaries, communication and negotiation are absolutely paramount. Safe words and signals (in case words can’t be uttered) are agreed upon. If a safe word is said, even whispered, then all play STOPS IMMEDIATELY. No question. Consent can be given – and consent can be revoked at any time.
As time went on, more stories came to light. Four more women. More detail. The more information that came out, the less and less this story had anything to do with BDSM or kink. The assaults these women have recounted are in no way associated with BDSM, which is a very respectful, consensual act – with the submissive in true control. These assaults were far from anything you would find in the kink community. These were assaults. They weren’t “sex gone wrong”.
I started to wonder less if anyone would speak up about positive interactions they may have had with Jian Ghomeshi. This didn’t seem like someone who was in the kink community at all. This now screamed of someone USING the kink community to cover assault. And serial assault, at that.
Then I got a private message.
It was from a friend. A trusted source.
She confided in me she had been with Jian on and off for twelve years.
The last time they were intimate was about three years ago. They had continued to communicate a few times a month since then. He had seen her speak at an event this year and sent a supportive text. She would get random “remember when” texts. Their friendship – and virtual flirting – had never stopped.
Please be clear, she is NOT saying the women that have come forward are lying or throwing false accusations around. She just needed to tell her story. A story of someone who has had a very hot and healthy relationship with Jian Ghomeshi for years. She is only speaking about HER experience. We continued to chat and she gave permission for her story to be told. Anonymously, of course.
Please keep in mind BOTH these sides of Jian Ghomeshi can co-exist. We see cases all the time of someone who “seems like a great guy” and then is accused of horrific things.
As she was recounted her story, what kept popping to mind was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Two VERY different sides to the same person.
I said this must just be surreal for her to watch this all play out in the media, knowing him that closely and intimately.
She agreed. Then she told me her story.
She began by saying she had spoken him a couple times this week.
She said she has a soft spot in her heart for Jian and always will. She also added she has a soft spot in her heart for these women and hopes they are able to get the help and support they need.
I asked her if she was surprised by the events that were unfolding this week. She told me no. She wasn’t. That he’d had people threatening to blackmail him for a long time. She also added if it’s true (and the case against him is mounting by the hour), she hopes it does end in his arrest and he gets the punishment and help he needs.
She said she and Jian always had contracts with everything laid out clearly, even the inclusion of other parties and what that looks like.
We had fun. We didn’t do anything hardcore like the reports are saying.
She goes on to tell me how they first began years ago.
We met when I worked in the music industry. We were on the same tour. He was covering the band I was managing. It started off as a drunken night. Then it became regular… Texts, phone calls.. pics… We played [bdsm, sex] at his house, hotels, my place.
When I was living in Toronto, we weren’t monogamous, but he provided me with a contract. Very detailed. He was my Dom and I was his sub. We had safe words, signals.
It wasn’t hardcore kink at the beginning, but it was very assertive. He was very much “in charge” from the get go.
The contract came later. I was new to it. He explained that it was for my safety and that I was the one who had ultimate control.
In this contract there were hard lines, soft lines and things that were always ok. Hair pulling, for example, was something I agreed he could always do. Slapping was a soft line, so that meant a sometimes thing and only in certain areas.
We had an agreement he could spank any time he saw fit. And he could give punishments [for “misbehaviour”]. And we pre-agreed to these punishments. Some of the punishments were kinda fun. For example, if I didn’t send him a naughty picture the day before, I would go over for supper at his place and I would have to eat supper with him at home naked from the waist up.
I asked if anything that could be considered kinky happened before the contract. She said hair pulling and spanking had, yes.
I was also curious if there had ever been a time where she had to use the safe word or signal.
Yes we did. I had a sinus cold one time and had to signal I couldn’t breathe.
He stopped right away and helped me up and we stopped everything immediately. He put me to bed, got me tea and soup. He was concerned about my well-being.
She shared that she’s felt so torn about everything that has come out in the last few days, watching this play out, speaking with him.
I really hope it’s not true, but any doubts are fading.
I asked her if she ever had any sense at all that he was capable of the type of behaviour he’s being accused of.
I don’t know. I’m looking back at our interactions and am thinking carefully. We had a contract. I agreed to it. I never felt in danger or that I was compromised or that my boundaries were breached.
He knew what I liked. He gave it to me.
You never know what demons someone has inside them. They can be hidden for a while, until they’re not anymore.
*Upon surfacing from writing and posting this piece, I see Dan Savage has put forward interviews with two women who have also dated Jian Ghomeshi. He has a very good analysis in the post.
**I have chosen to post this piece anonymously, as it deals with BDSM and Dom/sub roles, and is a story that involves high emotions and reactions. For that reason, I choose anonymity to attempt to protect myself, my family, and my friend who came forward.