The floodgates have opened and the waters that have been unleashed are only the beginning of what hopefully will be a movement for empowerment.
A few weeks ago the New York Times and the New Yorker both published significant exposes of alleged sexual abuse by huge Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. At last count more than 40 women have come forward with eerily similar accounts of meetings with the producer and powerful executive.
Since then a similar piece of investigative journalism by the Los Angeles Times spoke with 38 women who accused director James Toback of sexual harassment and assault. Since the article was published more than 200 women have come forward.
Something is happening. Most recently creepy celebrity photographer Terry Richardson has been blacklisted by Conde Nast and others.
For years now former child stars such as Corey Feldman have been warning anyone who would listen that Hollywood was rife with pedophiles preying on young actors and actresses.
How could such a thing, seemingly a public secret, have been allowed to continue for so long? Such is the way of power in the world and the impact that it has on victims.
So why is this exploding to the forefront now?
Well the answer is complex but one significant part of the reason is that courage begets courage. When one person speaks up about abuse and is heard it gives others the courage to step forward and so on until a movement, such as what is rising now, begins.
For uncountable people, especially women, have been subject to the unwelcome sexual advances of people in power (usually men). Sometimes they are subject to outright sexual abuse and assault and then all the baggage that goes with it like shame, fear and guilt.
Sadly what we are seeing is the tiniest tip of an enormous iceberg which is being laid bare by a powerful new movement that includes a social media component with hashtags like #MeToo to ensure people suffering in silence know they are not alone.
I know of what I speak and could tattoo #MeToo on my forehead for the years of sexual abuse I had to suffer at the hands of man in authority over me.
It’s not just a Hollywood problem. It happens everywhere. There are victims suffering in silence everywhere and abusers living lives without consequence. It happens in Canada; it happens in Manitoba; and it happens right here in the Pembina Valley – people in power and authority who have abused and are actively abusing right now – it needs to stop. It needs to be exposed.
I know from personal experience that coming forward and revealing your abuse and the abuser can be the most difficult experience in the world. But I also know from personal experience it can make a difference. In my case it took decades for me to come forward. When I did my abuser was still in positions of authority over the vulnerable. Coming forward put a stop to that. It held the person accountable.
More importantly coming forward can start you on the road of healing – it did for me.
I hope the flood waters continue to rise. I hope those who use power and authority to abuse others are caught in their wake, removed from authority and held accountable for their actions.
If you have been or are being abused contact the police or someone you trust. My only regret is that I never did so sooner.
I am here to tell you it can make a difference.
I am here to tell you it is never too late.
I am here to tell you that you have a voice.
I am here to tell you that you are not alone.