Pages

Monday, 16 October 2017

#MeToo

#MeToo
This is my story, it is not told for the first time but for the first time I choose to be seen, I am not alone!...

In the wake of the appalling revelations of sexual abuse that go back decades and have been covered up by Hollywood Execs, Weinstein will never work again. His empire destroyed and if criminal charges are brought he faces the real possibility of Jail time. Working in the film industry I have become accustomed to stories of the 'casting couch' mentality of some Directors, it isn't a new problem but it seems one that the Industry finds impossible to eradicate. However, with Weinstein's crimes now given the light of day and with scores of caring people taking to Social Media under the #MeToo, it feels like something has changed.  We live in a society which has never been more connected, more technically advanced and yet we still struggle with the same century old problems. We are still afflicted with individuals within our community who don't live by the same moral codes that most of us do. These, often powerful and rich people, seem to believe that they are above the law and that their influence also buys them the right to use and abuse whomever they wish. For too long people like Weinstein have devastated lives and taken the innocence of talented rising stars with the promise of fame and celebrity status. It is outrageous to think that today, people like him are still abusing others with no sign of moral responsibility and without thinking or caring about the consequences of their actions. More than all of this, people like James Corden feel it is appropriate to make jokes about one man's actions that have tormented his victims for decades. It isn't something to joke about, it's not funny and for those who live every day under the shadow of their abuser it is something that drives them to the edge of life itself. Sexual abuse is one of the most evil crimes that can be committed because it rips the humanity away from its victims, it destroys and rapes and it leaves the barely living corpse of someone who used to be like you or I. Well you, because this is my story and how I am taking to my feet and opening my mouth to the sexual abuse that I endured.


I was abused by someone who had posed as a friend for many years, someone that I trusted and as is often the case, someone that I had given support to. My abuser was an older man and he took advantage of me, on at least one occasion after getting me drunk. I have come to regard our friendship as something very different, I now believe he groomed me. In my early Twenties I had finished a two year stint at college and had returned to a job in retail which I had held prior to college. I loved my job but I wasn't enjoying the experience of living back with my parents as I had started to enjoy my freedom and the town nightlife. It was at this time that I was offered a room nearer town and at a rate that I could afford. There was another lodger and I had no reason to believe that the offer was anything other than financially beneficial. Over time I began to spend occasional evenings chatting with my landlord and often sharing a bottle of Jamesons. At no stage did I feel that he was anything other than friendly and he knew that I was straight. I spent about a year living in this house and then moved to Kent for a higher paid retail position but I retained contact with my landlord as a friend. It was during one of his visits that he told me what had happened during one particular drunken evening. Whilst helping me upstairs to my bed he told me that he had sexually abused me and that he had been to ashamed to say anything afterwards. The feelings of revulsion and nausea were so strong that I can still remember them vividly today as my brain struggled to process what I had been told. I had been betrayed at a moment of complete vulnerability and with no regards to my own sexual orientation. More than that, he had committed a crime that had it been reported would have left him with a criminal record, it was for this reason plus his standing in the local church that led to a cover up. He left and I never saw him again and I also dropped all contact with him, even though he continued to attempt to maintain communication. This revelation was nothing but a selfish and callous attempt to salve his burning conscience and did nothing for me other than to deepen my mental instability and confusion. As I made futile attempts to scrub away the filth and dirt I felt was covering me I realised that it was all my fault. I had somehow led him to believe that I had feelings and perhaps I had flirted with him unconsciously. All of this is completely untrue but at the time I believed I was the guilty man and he the misunderstood victim of circumstance. When you see people accuse ladies of wearing clothing that invites unwanted attention THEY are part of the problem. People who voice these sort of heartless lies are as much enabling the abusers as those that turn a blind eye. We all have a choice and we are responsible for our own actions. Those of us who have been sexually abused didn't want this to happen, we are the victims and we need to be allowed to speak.

My self imposed silence was caused by self revulsion but also the terrible stigma that still exists today. There are so many unheard victims of abuse that silently scream for help but are ignored or not supported. Male or Female, when we are abused we are stripped of our dignity, of any shred of self respect, we are reduced to a body that exists only to be taken and broken. We deserve more than that and we will not stay silent anymore. The truth surrounding Weinstein's many victims has broken the seal that was preventing victims from coming forward. The mental torment that this abuse causes leads to depression and it can lead to death and yet if we take a moment to listen, a silent scream can be heard. It was the knowledge of these events that sped up my drinking and my addiction to alcohol as a sure way to numb pain was now established. He will never know the damage he caused and I wont give him the satisfaction of knowing that I have now come to some semblance of peace over the abuse I suffered. I am, if nothing else, resilient and yet the wounds that were inflicted so many years ago still twinge from time to time. The dreams of masked or faceless men pinning me to my bed still haunt my dreams even now, but I was to find my voice again.


15 years later I came across a tweet from a Journalist asking for men who were victims of sexual abuse to come forward. I found myself messaging him and over the course of a two hour interview I relived events as if they were happening again. This time I wasn't asleep and as I recounted what had happened I was awake and I felt everything. With the publishing of my story, along with 2 other brave men, I had reached a level of closure but also of admission that this had been done to me. That I was a victim and that there was nothing that I had done or said that caused it. It is my fervent hope that, in sharing my story with people, my voice assisted someone in gaining their own. In this world terrible things happen to people everyday, from the Syrian family who just want to live to those who are slaughtered simply because they do not share the same religion. But I have a choice, I always do. Do I choose to live my life both good experience and bad in the service of others or do I stay broken and silent. My experience of sexual abuse changed me and it broke me and some days I feel that brokenness like the stab of a war wound. But I strive to muster my pain to gather my experience and to use it to support someone else. We can eradicate the blame culture by caring about those who suffer , instead of pointing fingers offering a hand up. I stand broken but I stand with those who #MeToo because I must but also because I wear my scars with pride. My abuser didn't beat me and, if you are still to find your voice, you can be sure of one thing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! #METoo!

No comments:

Post a comment