Secrets: Surviving Jian Ghomeshi
Zine, Ellie Anglin, ellieanglin.blogspot.com
As a Torontonian, I know all about Jian Ghomeshi’s recent legal scandals, the toxic CBC culture that turned a blind eye to his behavior, and witnessed the painful experiences of his brave accusers as their testimony and experiences were taken apart in a highly public trial. This pretty little zine Secrets (compiled and designed by Waterloo artist and zinester Ellie Anglin) is a collection of thoughts and comments from various sources – social media posts by activists, feminists and survivors, comments from allies, and sound bites from the case’s complainants – that gives a series of multi-faceted perspectives on not only the trial of the notorious former CBC host, but all types of intimate abuse in a way that’s quiet and strong.
This zine demands a broad audience. Any reader can find enlightenment, solace, or inspiration between these pages, and the quotes within its pages seek to both heal and encourage empathy. Toronto-based activist Stephanie Guthrie is quoted in Secret’s first page, saying we need to trust our own judgement and actions, empowering readers with smart mediations on the “psychedelic cognitive dissonance of intimate violence.” Despite cheerful images of flowers and cartoon girls, this zine provides a sad reality check. “The court system was never built to help us,” it asserts on page one.
A quiet sorrow exists throughout, as contributors react and unpack the dispiriting outcome of the Ghomeshi trial and the burden that the trial’s brave complainants shouldered (and now have to live with.) There are occasional devastating threads of candor: one contributor dreams of a future where her daughter can live without fear of scrutiny if she is a victim of sexual violence. There is no sugar coating here, and no poetic justice. Still, this zine never lets the feelings of disillusionment overwhelm it; the key here is emphasizing the importance of action and collective healing. This zine is a fight, and a plea for change and understanding, and demands to be shared amongst friends, allies and the ones that you love. (Grace Bueler)