I’ve had issues with adults in authority positions ever since the abuse happened many years ago. In fact, there has been a sort of distrust that I have that I believe to be a genetic encoding within me to protect me as an after-effect from being so horrifically abused. Recently at the university I received a terse email from one of my supervisors and I reacted with an email that was equally terse, with a hint of anger in the mix. It was an impulsive response – but there is a part of me now that has very little tolerance for any kind of perceived bullying.
At the turn of this century (oh boy do I feel old now) I was working for a Standard Radio station – Z95.3. I was the morning show stunt guy – and I did lots of crazy things for the radio station. I was zany, loud, foolish and fun. I quickly became the most popular on air personality at the station – much to the chagrin of my co-workers who had honed their DJ crafts ever so carefully to get that right balance of info-fun so many morning DJ’s have. Darren B. Lamb and I got on very well. He was the Alpha jock in the morning show – he and I wrote well together and I really enjoyed his company. Our Program Director – Eric Samuels – was a great guy. He loved what I brought to the station and he really realized my value there. Unfortunately with many top 40 stations, turnover is huge. Eric eventually was promoted across the country to help bring up other Standard stations that needed boosts to their numbers. He was replaced at our station with a man I will only call “Bob”.
Bob was the kind of middle management figure that is laughable. He wanted to be everyone’s best friend – endless promises of having drinks and fun times. The promotions people hated the fact that he believed he could (and did) go into their prize cabinet and helped himself to whatever “swag” (free stuff) he could. He was toxic to the station. Ratings went down under his stewardship. He was nothing like Eric was.
The media (namely Mike Killeen) had heard of my case against the school I attended and wanted to do a story about it. This was well before the huge uncovering of abuse across North America even happened. Such topics were taboo and extremely uncomfortable back then. The station – CTV was going to do a story about me as a survivor of abuse and they wanted to send out a camera guy to film “B” roll of me doing one of my stunts for the morning show. I spoke to Darren and his sidekick about it – Darren was very accommodating and ok with it – I forget what his co-host said about it. The shooter met me early in the morning (I usually started around 5am) and let me do my thing. I knew I would have to tell “Bob” about the court case, and the story that was going to be done on my story of abuse. I met him in his office and was met with his usual rhetoric of paper promises of drinks, and buddy-buddyness. I mustered up enough courage to tell him about my history, the abuse, and the lawsuit – and he sat their stone-faced. He was extremely uncomfortable with what I was telling him. His immediate response was that this was “not good for ratings” – He thanked me for speaking to him and I was relieved to get this off my chest.
A few days passed and it was very odd that I never heard back from Mike Killeen at CTV about the story he was going to do on me. Even odder was I received a call from “Bob” to see him in his office. I had a sinking feeling that this “random” meeting was going to be serious. The next morning I arrived at the station for my “meeting” and security was there. I met “Bob” in his office and was told he was going to “shake things up” and had to let me go. I was the most popular on air guy there at the time and this did not make sense. He assured me that this had nothing to do with my “situation”. I was requested to give him my security key and was escorted out of the building by security. The door was locked behind me. I was unable to say goodbye to my co-workers and friends, and my email account and all my emails were deleted within the hour.
CTV never did that story on me.
Oddly enough the next day I was contacted by Karen Daniels and Clay St. Thomas of the JRFM station – Karen left a message for me – I still remember it. “Hey Nic, this is Karen Daniels and Clay St. Thomas from the JRFM Waking Crew. We heard you were fired from Z95.3….we’d love you to come over and work with us.” My three years at Zed turned into fourteen at JRFM. When I met with the Program Director at JRFM – Gord Eno – one of the first things I told him was about the abuse and the story (that never materialized) CTV was going to do on me. Gord listened and said he had no problem with that. It was that simple. I was accepted there for who I was and what I could contribute to the station. When I was finally let go last August I knew my character had run his course. I felt it. Marc Patrick had me come into his office. This time he had a difficult time telling me. I knew what was coming. It made sense. It was time for Nick the Guy to retire from the radio. This time there was no security. I was not escorted out of the building. Of course there was sadness, but this time it was a mutual sadness. I was not being let go for what happened to me. I was being let go because the idea well had run dry with me. I had a good run there. My only regret was that there was no goodbye gathering. I didn’t get to see my workplace friends one last time. I did not leave that station with resentment and hatred. I left it with sadness and melancholy – but knowing that it was for the best. Besides it was a nice feeling to not have to wake up at 4 in the morning anymore. I miss my family at JRFM. I can honestly say I don’t miss many of the people from the Z95 place except for Darren. I had many laughs with him.
As an abuse survivor, rejection is hard. There is a part of you that feels that you don’t deserve things. A part of me felt I didn’t deserve the opportunity at the radio station. Though there is also a part of me that loved making people laugh, smile, or shake their head at what I was up to. I know I impressed my bosses – Eric and Gord. I know deep down that I did a good job. I just miss my friends there.
With the radio days behind me I am again focused on justice for survivors of abuse. At the time I was let go from Z95.3 the idea of abuse in the private schools in Canada was not as mainstream in the papers. Mike Killeen missed out – a few years later the media explosion of stories of abuse across America within the Catholic community was rampant, while in Canada it remains relatively focused on the residential schools alone. I applaud the United States for speaking out and giving voice to the victims there. I only wish Canada could continue to do more to hear the stories from the survivors of the residential and private schools whose abusers moved freely across the border between the two countries.
I am only one voice. Thank you for reading and visiting this site. It means a lot to me that you are here. Thank you for not shutting your eyes and covering your ears to the survivors that dare to speak. I am a Jedi, and it is my duty to be a guardian for those who, like me, were so wrongfully abused.