The Current

Responsibility and rehabilitation: What's next for the #MeToo conversation?

As the anniversary of the rise of #MeToo approaches, The Current invited listeners to call in and join a discussion about where the movement should go next.

The Current’s listeners weigh in on where the #MeToo movement goes from here

People participate in a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017. As the anniversary of the rise of #MeToo approaches, The Current invited listeners to call discuss where the movement should go next. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

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"The bottom line" is men need to acknowledge past wrongdoings, according to a caller on a special edition of The Current.

Sexual harassment was once accepted by both men and women as just "the way it is," Peter Linha, a caller from Toronto, told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

As the anniversary of the rise of #MeToo approaches, The Current invited listeners to call in and join a discussion about where the movement should go next.

"I admit myself that I have ... put my body towards women in the past as a young man, and it was ... not OK," Linha said. "And these women must have been uncomfortable, but didn't say anything."​​

Linha added that he has also received unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, but did not speak up.

"This has to be a full conversation with men and women," said Maclean's senior writer Anne Kingston, who has covered the #MeToo movement since the first allegations.

"Men are tired of being tarred with the same brush," said Shelley Meadows of Oakville, Ont., who called in to The Current's special. "I think we do have to acknowledge that."

But "it's important to have that dialogue so that men can see the different perspective, and that women can see it as well," she said, echoing Kingston.

Redemption versus reintegration

That dialogue includes expectations around redemption and rehabilitation.

Jian Ghomeshi and his lawyer Marie Henein (left) leave court in Toronto following closing arguments in his sexual assault trial on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Several high-profile men have recently sought redemption, Kingston noted, including former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who wrote a personal essay in The New York Review of Books.

"The extent to which they deserve to come back into the public eye I think is a function of how they … fully account for what they did, apologize for what they did, and deal with it not only on a level of a big essay in a splashy, elite magazine or publication like The New York Review of Books, but rather atonement on a very personal level," she said.

Responding to the conversation on Twitter, a listener named Barbara Low said #MeToo is an opportunity to "make room for decent men."

Neil Boyd, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, told Tremonti that "the notion that people can't change, I think, is misguided."

"Jian Ghomeshi tried to argue in his essay that he had changed, it wasn't convincing to me entirely, but I think we have to accept that there's a general principle in terms of crime — most people come back to the community after serving short time in jail. After criminal conviction, same thing.

"It's about reintegration, I prefer that to the notion of redemption."

Listen to the conversation from your part of the country here.

Produced by The Current's Willow Smith, Alison Masemann and Zena Olijnyk.


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