Jian Ghomeshi: Accusations against the Q host are not about BDSM, but about consent.

The Jian Ghomeshi Accusations Are Not About BDSM. They Are About Consent.  

The Jian Ghomeshi Accusations Are Not About BDSM. They Are About Consent.  

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 27 2014 4:36 PM

The Jian Ghomeshi Accusations Are Not About BDSM. They Are About Consent.

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Jian Ghomeshi wrote on Facebook that he is being persecuted for his kinky sexual tastes.

Photo by Sonia Recchia/Getty Images for GREY GOOSE Vodka

Jian Ghomeshi, host of the popular Canadian radio show Q, is suing the CBC after the network fired him in the wake of allegations that he is a serial abuser of women. The story is a fairly straightforward one, as far as these things go: The Toronto Star has collected the stories of three separate women who dated Ghomeshi and told the paper he abused them and forced them into non-consensual sexual activities. A fourth woman, a colleague at the CBC, told the paper he grabbed her behind and whispered that he wanted to "hate fuck" her. Accusations of dating violence, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment, if true, are all good reasons for the CBC to terminate its relationship with Ghomeshi. But Ghomeshi is fighting back, not just by accusing these women of lying, but also by painting himself as an oppressed sexual minority who is being mistreated because he has a taste for BDSM. 

Ghomeshi posted a lengthy defense of himself on Facebook spelling out his belief that he's being singled out for his non-vanilla sexual habits, as well as claiming he's the victim of a conspiracy started by a vengeful ex-girlfriend. "I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer," he wrote. He then goes into a lengthy description of his taste for "adventurous forms of sex that included role-play, dominance and submission," tastes that he declares "may be shocking to some." Even though he writes in his Facebook post that the accusations against him are that he forced women into non-consensual activities—which he denies—he believes that it's the kinky nature of his sexual interests that are the issue here. "Let me be the first to say that my tastes in the bedroom may not be palatable to some folks," he wrote. "But that is my private life. That is my personal life. And no one, and certainly no employer, should have dominion over what people do consensually in their private life."

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And, just in case you didn't get the message that this is about CBC prudes who are out to crucify the kinkster: "Sexual preferences are a human right."

But while the accusations against Ghomeshi are perhaps a little more titillating than usual because of the BDSM details, the issue here isn't how he likes to have sex, but whether or not he limits his sexual proclivities to the willing. Ghomeshi says the consent was there, arguing that he and his partner (he only talks about the one, even though there are three accusers) "talked about using safe words" and "regularly checked in with each other about our comfort levels." The women who spoke to the Star disagree, saying he sprung violence on them without consent:

The three women interviewed by the Star allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without consent. They allege he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.

There is, of course, a lot of lingering prejudice against people who enjoy consensual BDSM. But that shouldn't distract from the only issue that matters here, which is whether or not there was consent. The difference between BDSM with consent and BDSM without it is simply the difference between consensual sex and rape. Ghomeshi's protestations about being kinky only serve to confuse the issue, but it's actually quite simple: If the interactions were consensual, then Ghomeshi shouldn't have lost his job. But if the women didn't want it—whether "it" is sexual intercourse or whether "it" is a punch to the face—then it's violent assault and needs to be treated that way.