If you read Canadian news by major metropolitan area (i.e. Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto etc.) rather than just reading a country-wide overview, you can find some pretty surprising stories, more often than not, more in line with what the general populace would and should need to know about. I mean, there's also a lot of local fluff pieces, but a lot of the time, the country-wide headlines don't tell you about what you really need to know. I like using the nation's capital as an example, because in terms of sucking, it really sucks. On many, many levels. One of those levels is Ottawas' public transit system, O.C. Transpo. O.C. Transpo is in the Ottawa news just about every day. They run the most expensive public transit system in the country (twelfth in the world, I believe) and deliver some of the worst service in the entire country as well. Apparently, their union has a stranglehold on the mayor's office and subsequently, on Ottawas' transit-riding populace. Most Ottawa citizens that have ever taken a city bus are worse off for it, and the drivers threaten the city with strikes on a yearly basis, while fare rates are increased twice to thrice per year.
I'm not anti-union. But, there ARE corrupt unions out there. It seems to me, that over in Ottawa, O.C. Transpo's one of them.
But, this post isn't about how shitty Ottawa's public transit is. No, this is about how an Ottawa bus driver is being touted as a hero for really, from what it sounds like, doing the bare minimum to help a woman in trouble. The story can be found here, but I'll run it down for you anyways.
On October 4th, bus driver Michel Laurin was gearing up to start his route. While heading to his bus or whatever, he came across a young woman who had just been beaten, raped and robbed and was lying on the ground, just outside the car in which her assailant was still sitting. Being a heroic dude of dudely action, Laurin yelled at the woman to "come to me, to get out of the way." From a safe distance, of course. The attacker, realizing he'd been spotted, fled the scene. Laurin caught the license plate number and called the cops. Let me digress for one second here.
Laurin's an older dude, judging by his picture. I guess I shouldn't expect that he'd rush the car, rip the door off its' hinges and beat the shit out of the rapist. And, sticking around to help, getting the license plate number and calling the cops is more than a lot of people would've done. A lot of people would've just walked on by, ignored the situation, not gotten involved. That's not my beef with this story. Laurin did the right thing. Does that make him a hero? Or, did he just do something human? I don't know if it's for me to decide. I'm not tooting this dudes' horn, I'm just trying to report the facts as I understand them.
Anyways, so the cops showed up, took the info and presumably got the woman to a hospital, but I don't know, because that's where the story stops giving a shit about her. And her assailant, who apparently hasn't been caught yet, even though the cops have his plate number. No, the status of the attacker and victim both are unknown, but what I do know is that apparently Michel Laurin is a honest to goodness hero for calling the cops. He got an award. And the transit union of Ottawa is using this story to get positive publicity for their otherwise hated bus drivers. Isn't that nice? That woman could've died from her injuries and we have no fucking idea. Because what this story is saying is: that's not the real story here. The REAL story is one of dudely heroics and quick-man-thinking! The writer should be fucking ashamed! Who the fuck uses a brutal rape and beating as a goddamn backdrop to an "extraordinary citizen" piece?!?!
Only one or two of the comments pick up on this line of thinking. Most people are too busy metaphorically patting this dude on the back to wonder what happened to the victim, or why the police haven't caught the rapist, or why it took two and a half MONTHS for anyone to hear about this assault in the first place. It's depressing. The news media is oftentimes guilty of the objectification of women, but to turn a human's tragedy into a pedestal upon which to shine the spotlight on a 'hero' who's only act of heroism should be considered basic human decency and to not even follow up on her (the victims') condition in the aftermath of all of this is just reprehensible. But, it happens all the time in the news. If something happens, and both men and women are involved, the bulk of the coverage will be spent on the men, while the women will be reduced to mere sidebar mentions. Unless, of course, they're just shown as whatever photos some pervert decided to take from their Facebook pages.
The long and short of it is, the news, like most every other form of media in today's world, still views men as more important than women, still views women as mere objects for the servitude and gratification of men and will shirk proper coverage of stories to either glorify the men they deem 'heroic' or dehumanize women who would otherwise be human beings.