Recently, one of the world's most renowned violinists played again after a five-year hiatus. In classical circles, the performance was kind of a big deal. So when a young child kept coughing, Kyung Wha Chung had to speak up.
Bear in mind it was the first time Chung played in Britain in 12 years. So you can imagine enthusiasts were miffed by the continual coughing that overlapped her performance. Eventually the virtuoso herself - who had paused and waited for the coughing to subside only for it to resume - snapped. She interrupted Mozart’s Sonata in G to suggest to the girl's parents that they should “maybe bring her back when she’s older.”
By all accounts the girl wasn't the only one coughing, yet hers was “quite loud and seemed quite aggressive.”
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If it seems cruel of Chung to pick on and single out the child, put yourself in her musical giant shoes for a moment. Here she is, feeling the weight of the comeback pressure in her fingertips. How can she concentrate with all that yakety-yaking going on? If her performance suffers, the critics won't take into account the disturbance.
"We don’t discourage parents or caregivers who wish to bring young people to an evening event and we do where possible check that they are aware of the nature of the event,” said a venue spokesperson, in terms far more diplomatic than I would use.
Canadians are generally enlightened, but we're not beyond reproach - not at all. After all, numbers speak volumes: 472,000: that's the number women who reported being sexually assaulted in this country. And that's only those who spoke up. How about 97? That's the percentage of assaults that are never recorded as crimes.
That stat was disturbing enough to prompt magazines from Rogers Media, including Chatelaine, Today's Parent, Flare and Macleans, to embark on a year-long project "examining Canada’s staggering problems with sexual violence."
This isn't about Ghomeshi or Cosby. But certainly those cases got Canadians talking. All these people you know and some you barely know—your sister, your mother, your best friend, the woman across the road...they all have stories - and maybe you do, too - and many are finally sharing them.
Why didn't women come forward in the former cases? That was the question skeptics posed when said mega-stars were accused of sexual assault. And a hornet nest opened. The reasons, as it turns out, are as long as your arm.
Even when the person who hurt you isn't famous, or powerful, the idea of coming forward is fraught with complications. Too often the tables turn. Victims feel the spotlight shift. What were you wearing? Were you drinking? What did you do to provoke it?
Because the default position of many was that surely you must have been at least partially responsible for bringing this horrible thing that happened onto yourself.
97 percent not recorded as crimes.
And even if you do go through with it, and have to live through the incident all over again, will you actually find justice? As Chatelaine points out, many women feel that instead of offering them protection, the legal system is biased and ultimately will not serve them.
“The best solution, if there is such a thing, is for people to know that it’s not going to be quiet anymore,” said Toronto MPP, Cheri DiNovo, who as part of the project admitted to being raped by an ex-boyfriend. “This is not going to be hush-hush.”
We applaud these media players for continuing the conversation that has just begun in Canada. Check out Project97. Let's all do our part to bring down that number.
For all of its strong suits, social media can really suck sometimes. Cowards and bullies freely hurl vitriol online without fear of a rebuke IRL. A game reviewer who was trolled found a novel way of dealing with threats: she went straight to the top, and got in touch with trolls parents.