Monday, October 16, 2017

The Men of #MeToo

For those who want the last line first: Don't shame the men of #MeToo

The past two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. Anyone who has survived sexual assault & abuse will attest to that. Triggers are a cute word for some people to throw into a Facebook post, but they are a very harsh reality for those of us who have survived trauma. This week, thanks to the courage and strength of many great women, men who have suffered in silence for decades finally saw an entrance to the conversation. However, in many circles, they are being shut down and told to go home. That their presence is unwelcome and inappropriate. I feel compelled to address this, as that is simply not the case. Who are the men of #MeToo?

The men of #MeToo are allies & feminists. The men of #MeToo have been supporting female victims for decades without hesitation, sometimes at great personal risk. The men of #MeToo suffered silently through Sandusky, through Cosby, and for those of us in the entertainment industry, we for certain knew and dealt with a Harvey Weinstein. With every detail of every account that has emerged, we have been screaming out in silence. The men of #MeToo were desperately trying to claw our way out of this skin we are made to wear. Then, 24 short hours ago, the world changed with a single tweet. #MeToo

The men of #MeToo are an undeniable part of this conversation. For some of us, we never knew a day would come when we could openly speak of these topics. And of course, there is so much more work to do. This may be a giant leap, but it is also one small step. I have been writing about these experiences in a book for the last 10 years. But the book isn't finished yet. I hope to figure out how to speak of the men who wronged me. To speak their names.  Over the past 10 years, I have left clues throughout my writing like a trail of breadcrumbs from my youth. But that is as close as I have come. Until this week. I am terrified. I am empowered.

For those who are out there criticizing the men of #MeToo, I ask you this: Were you assaulted? Were you raped? Were you made to keep a terrible secret for 30 years while the people who harmed you are beloved by the community? Were you made to suffer and watch as they went on to lead successful powerful lives in the entertainment industry? Do you have night terrors every single night of your life because you can never be sure someone isn't waiting for you to fall asleep so they can assault you? Have you had to keep these things inside because of the stigma of being a male victim? Or the fear that no one will believe you and that you would never work again in your industry? Do you still see their faces in your nightmares? Do you still hear their horrible chilling voices? Do you get sick and have panic attacks when listening to the accounts of Cosby/Weinstein victims because you knew the details word for word?

If not, I would ask you to stop shaming us. Instead, please support the men of #MeToo. We didn't steal anyone's movement. We ARE #MeToo and we add strength to the voices, not diminish them. We too are the victims of powerful men. This time we must be seen. This time we must be heard. This time we must be counted. This moment is a turning point for so many people who have fought a lifetime to get here. No retreat. No surrender. No turning back.

A camp director, a camp counselor, a coworker at a restaurant, an AA sponsor, a conductor, a composer, a director, a casting agent #MeToo

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Damaged

My gut response to reading this story is like my response to hearing Cosby's victims speak out, and Sandusky's, and so many others. Everything in my soul wants to believe the things that happened to me as a child and teenager at the hands of powerful men in the entertainment industry were embellished in my mind. That they were no big deal. That they certainly only happened to me. But then I read these accounts. And I am filled with horror and guilt. I am still as paralyzed by the potential repercussions of speaking out as I am with guilt that these predators have harmed other lives over the last 3 decades. It makes me feel like a coward and a horrible person. 

There are certain scenes, events, and images one cannot forget. Not after decades. Not after drug and alcohol abuse. Not after therapy. They are imprinted on the soul and remain an ever present burden we must walk through life carrying. This is the pain of a survivor.