If you’ve been living under a rock these last few months, allegations came out against Harvey Weinstein and a slew of other Hollywood directors about sexual misconduct among actors and actresses. This is what started the #metoo campaign. There was a lot of support for the men and women who came forth and also a lot of backlash wondering why it took so long for them to come forward.
As a fellow survivor, I understand why these men and women didn’t come forward. For a lot of them, it could’ve made or broke their careers. In today’s day and age of technology and social media, it is easier for this information to come out.
In my case, it was the early 90’s and this sort of thing was taboo. Luckily I wasn’t assaulted but I was abused. I was 8 when this happened and the system failed me as a child. Granted, I give Children & Youth the benefit of the doubt as this stuff is not easy to handle. Especially when you have 2 people giving conflicting results. In my case, they couldn’t determine who was lying and who was telling the truth. That can be said in this day and age. What everyone needed was proof. At 8, I didn’t think about writing down everything that happened. My mindset was he was doing this because he loved me. In reality, it is all about control, especially when it’s a younger woman and an older male. My abuse went on for 7 years before I was able to do anything about it. The abuser: my father.
I was 15 when I put my foot down and put a stop to it. When my parents divorced, I stayed with him on the weekends. At first, everything was fine, we got along and hung out with his neighbors. It wasn’t until one night he told me something disturbing that I did for him while under the influence of marijuana. I didn’t remember anything and was disgusted to think that something happened. That’s when the floodgates opened and I went all Hannibal Lecter on him. I went through the long laundry list of things he did to me, of course, him denying everything. He gave me the phone to call the police but instead I ran to a friend’s house that lived around the corner until my mother could pick me up. That was my final straw to go back to the police and put him away.
For a lot of women, facing their accuser is a terrifying idea. I couldn’t imagine if I was in the public eye and having to do this. It takes a lot of support and courage to sit through and recall all the horrible things that happen. He was in jail on an unrelated charge so to see him sit there shaking his head every time I went into detail was a knife digging into my back.
Since statue of limitations had passed, there wasn’t much they could do. I got a restraining order for 6 months and he had to stay 500ft away from me. That fear went with me every time I went to a gas station, shopping center or grocery store. Luckily, I never had to see him again my uncle got married in 2006. We were cordial but if I didn’t have to be near him, I wasn’t. I only saw him a handful of times after that and haven’t seen him since.
As I had kids, I thought about forgiving him and letting him get to know his grandchildren. Then I think back to everything that happened, what he put me and my family through, and the destruction that was left in the aftermath. Not only does it hurt the victim, it hurts everyone around them. I applaud Harvey’s wife to separate from him while this is going on. I couldn’t imagine being with someone that did stuff like this to countless others, thinking it was okay because of who they were.
If you have a hard time believing someone that they say something happened, imagine yourself in their shoes. Imagine the courage it takes, the backlash that occurs and the loss of family and friends. Abuse or assault should never be tolerated and if it happens to you, speak up. It doesn’t matter if you are a child, young adult or an adult. Have a support system intact to help you through, go to the police and bring your abuser to justice.
Even after my father remarried, I don’t know if he ever touched or hurt another person again. It sickens me to think if he did and when these stories come up in the news, it makes me go back to this. I was a lot stronger than a lot of women, even at 8 or 15. The law may not be on your side but if enough happens, someday you’ll be able to sleep in peace knowing your accuser had what was coming to them.