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Ghomeshi read the apology in court as former Q producer Kathryn Borel looked on.
“I want to apologize to Ms. Borel for my behaviour towards her in the workplace," Ghomeshi said. “In the last 18 months, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on this incident and the difficulties I caused Ms. Borel, and I have had to come to terms with my own deep regret and embarrassment.”
Just before Ghomeshi spoke, the court heard that Borel and Ghomeshi were working late at the office one night in 2008 when he pressed his pelvis repeatedly against her buttocks.
“I now recognize that I crossed boundaries inappropriately. A workplace should not have any sexualized tone. I failed to understand how my words and actions would put a coworker who was younger than me, and in a junior position to mine, in an uncomfortable place. I did not appreciate the damage I caused, and I recognize that no workplace friendship or creative environment excuses this sort of behaviour, especially where there is a power imbalance as there was with Ms. Borel. This incident was thoughtless and I was insensitive to her perspective and how demeaning my conduct was towards her. I understand this now. This is a challenging business to be in and I did not need to make it more difficult for Ms. Borel. The past 18 months have been an education for me. I have reflected deeply and have been working hard to address the attitudes that led me, at the time, to think that this was acceptable.
That's something Ghomeshi has shown to the court in his apology and through seeking therapy for 18 months, Silverstein said, the latter of which was submitted as evidence to the court Wednesday. "He has demonstrated to the world that he appreciates now that what he did was wrong, at least in the context of his employment at CBC. He's demonstrated that he admits he has a psychological issue that needs dealing with and that he is dealing with it."
"There is a huge amount of training being done with police, with crowns and with judges regarding the neurobiology with trauma,” she said. “When people experience trauma the brain is keeping people alive and that means that ‘flight, fight (or) freeze’ (mentality) kicks in. Freeze is the most common response and from that, police have to understand what freeze looks like.”
Jesse, I’m guessing (and only guessing) your interview with Borel may have had something to do with the Crown agreeing to withdraw the charge against Ghomeshi tomorrow and him signing a peace bond. It may be that a woman who cheerfully agrees with you that she was “incredibly inappropriate, foul-mouthed and sexual” in the workplace may be vulnerable to cross-examination.
You have anything to say about this?
Are you actually suggesting that a woman who makes dirty jokes at the office and is subsequently sexually assaulted at work has compromised her credibility? Do you not perceive the distinction between making a dirty joke to a group of colleagues and being sexually assaulted by your boss? Are these both just equivalent manifestations of a "sexualized" workplace?
Did she have it coming, Christie?
A few months into my job in 2007, I let out a big yawn at a staff meeting and my host told me “I want to hate # you, to wake you up.” I was 27 years old. I made sure never to yawn in front of him again.
After that, there were the uninvited back massages at my desk to which it was clear I couldn’t say no, during which my host’s hands would slide down just a little too close to the tops of my breasts.
A year into my time on the job, he grabbed my rear end and claimed he couldn’t control himself because of my skirt.
Occasionally my host would stand in the doorway of his office, when no one was around, and slowly undo his shirt by two or three buttons while staring at me, grinning.
He once grabbed my waist from behind – in front of our fellow colleague, at the office – and proceeded to repeatedly thrust his crotch into my backside.
There was emotional abuse, too: gaslighting and psychological games that undermined my intelligence, security and sense of self. Sometimes that hit harder than the physical trespassing.
Levels of Sexual Assault
(Summary of Criminal Code of Canada classifications)
Level 1: Any form of sexual activity forced on another person (i.e., sexual activity without consent), or non-consensual bodily contact for a sexual purpose (e.g., kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse). Level 1 sexual assault involves minor physical injury or no injury to the victim. Conviction
for a level 1 sexual assault is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Level 2: A sexual assault in which the perpetrator uses or threatens to use a weapon, threatens the victim’s friends or family members, causes bodily harm to the victim, or commits the assault with
another person (multiple assailants). Conviction for a level 2 sexual assault is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Level 3: (Aggravated sexual assault) A sexual assault that wounds, maims, or disfigures the victim, or endangers the victim’s life. Conviction for a level 3 sexual assault is punishable by up to life in prison.
The witness, Roberto Veri, who had worked at Q, has previously said publicly that he witnessed Ghomeshi’s actions. On Wednesday he told the Star in a brief telephone interview he was going to testify if the case has proceeded to trial.
In November 2014, Veri had told Jesse Brown, in an interview for Brown’s Canadaland podcast, what he saw on February 7, 2008 in the Q studio.
“(Borel) was leaning over her desk between the corridor of the executive producer's office and her desk. So she was leaned over contrary to where she sat. And she's bending over working on some papers. And he came up behind her, grabbed her by the waist and humped her like four or five times. He drove his pelvis into her buttocks and a big smile on his face. So I looked over at that and I just sort of put my head down again,” Veri said in his interview. He has expressed remorse that he did nothing at the time.
“I think we all want this to be over. But it won’t be until he admits to everything that he’s done,” Borel told about 40 journalists outside of Old City Hall courts.