Speak out

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“I’m telling you right now, get in here,” Weinstein allegedly says in the nearly two-minute recording. “I’m gonna take a shower, you sit there and have a drink.”

Gutierrez, clearly uncomfortable, continually rebuffs him and eventually references him touching her inappropriately without her permission a day earlier.

“No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me,” she says. “I need to know a person to be touched. I don’t want to be touched.”

After a bit more back-and-forth, she asks “why yesterday you touch my breast?” — to which Weinstein replies, “Oh please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m used to that.”   

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/hear-harvey-weinstein-caught-tape-sexual-accuser-article-1.3553473

This is a small portion of a shocking audio recording captured during a NYPD sting operation between 65 -year-old Hollywood filmmaker, Harvey Weinstein and 22-year-old model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.  Weinstein repeatedly attempts to bully Gutierrez into his hotel room, but she makes it clear she wants no part of it.  This story has exploded everywhere and I have been watching the minute-by-minute updates along with millions of others.

Day after day more alleged victims have continued to come forward.  It’s at the point where it feels so overwhelmingly shocking and unreal.  That this could have happened to so many for so long?  How does someone actually get away with it for years?  These women tell the same stories of unwanted advances, inappropriate touching, and even rape.  Reporters, actresses, assistants and the list goes on and on and on.  How and why did so many women remain silent?

Watching these stories unfold I suddenly become anxious and my stomach is queasy.  I know exactly why it took so long for them to speak out.  You see “my Weinsteins” weren’t Hollywood moguls but rather family members.  The one thing they had in common with Harvey is that they were older and held all the power.  They were sexual predators who looked for every opportunity to satisfy their depraved desires.  I was a child and didn’t know I had a voice.  Even if I had spoken out who would’ve heard me?

I don’t know how long sexual abuse has existed in my family but I wasn’t the first casualty.  It still exists to this very day.  When I finally escaped my brutal horror I ran hard and vowed to never ever look back.  As a survivor I was so relived to be free of the constant groping, touching and mental games that I immediately locked those memories in a deeply dug vault.  I did my best to pretend it did not exist and tried my best to move forward.  I can honestly say that I thought it worked for a while but I only fooled myself.

Now I see that to be truly healed you have to go back and face the past.  The lies must be exposed for the truth to set you free.  In my attempt to protect myself for years I cut myself off from so many relatives.  Now I’ve learned of many others who were powerless victims too, and my heart truly breaks.  What causes me deep pain is that these relatives – these predators – were never held accountable.  No one in my family ever stopped them.  No one said “this isn’t okay” or “stay away from family gatherings” or “our children are more important” or “I’m calling the police.” 

No these disgusting people were allowed to continue to perpetuate their sick crimes over and over for decades.  There were four relatives who were sexual predators in my life.  My grandfather, aunt and cousin one-by-one finally passed away.  My uncle still lives and recently fathered another child.  There are relatives who offer him financial support – and even worse access to their children and grandchildren.

I do not judge why it’s taken these women so long to speak out against Harvey Weinstein.  You see it took me over 30 years to have the courage to file a police report against my final living abuser.  I was trembling and petrified the day I walked into the Tempe Police Department.  I honestly didn’t know if I’d survive that day.  Would anyone believe me?  Would it make a difference? 

As a society – as a family- as individuals – we must protect our children, our friends, our neighbors – even strangers.  We must hold sexual predators and those who keep their secrets accountable.  The days of looking the other way must end.

WE MUST SPEAK OUT!

It starts with you and it starts with me.

 

 

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