Stella Leventoyannis Harvey


“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.” Vincent Van Gogh

Over the past few weeks it has been difficult to avoid news of the trial of former CBC personality, Jian Ghomeshi. I’m a news junkie so listening, reading, watching the news is a big part of my day. I typically avoid this kind of sensationalism, preferring to focus on global political issues. But the cross examination of the women in this trial has stirred long forgotten memories.

A man I met years ago came back to mind. I can’t remember his name and barely have an image of what he looked like, but there he was again. Front and centre. And more importantly there I was again. My actions. My ineptitude.

I was young, new to a city, likely lonely and this man pursued me. Of course, it was flattering. Problem was I wasn’t interested in him. I can’t tell you why exactly, but there was something I didn’t trust about him. I put him off, over and over again. Whether it was work or other commitments, I was able to find some excuse. I hoped he would eventually go away.

You might have noticed I have a tendency toward the naïve. And further, I seem to have a need to please or at least not hurt anyone’s feelings. So I did end up going out with him. That first time, I brought a friend along. I thought this would give him the hint, nicely. It didn’t. He continued to call until I had run out of excuses.  I finally came out with it. Thanks but no thanks. Sorry.

I felt good about taking control, but then there was the guilt. Ridiculous really. But I don’t like hurting people. I don’t know if this is a woman thing or just a Stella thing, so of course, I called him to make sure he was ok. Talk about giving the poor fellow a double message.

Thank goodness he got the first message and ignored the confusing second one, thereby saving me from myself. This memory sparked others. Times I wasn’t firm enough, times I thought I could change someone, make him better. Ridiculous.

I have no idea what happened between the women and Mr. Ghomeshi. I know it is difficult for any woman to come forward after an assault occurs, so I don’t believe the complainants took this step lightly or without sober thought. I also know from my own experience that at times I’ve been unsure how to behave in a situation I was uncomfortable with. I’ve done contradictory things. Whatever the reasons, none of us act in ways that are expected all the time. There but by the grace of God go I. How many times have we all uttered these words to ourselves? Perhaps we should think about that before passing judgement on the complainants in the Ghomeshi trial. And let’s remember they are not the ones on trial.

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