#metoo #ustoo #ihearyou
So, the #metoo hash tag has been sweeping across the interweb in a show of solidarity to the whole, vile Harvey Weinstein affair. Thousands of Woman and Men sharing their stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape. I have been impressed by people’s bravery, Saddened, and deeply troubled by some of things I have read, an amazed at the amount of support that I have seen others offer victims. I have also got very angry that still after all this some people think that it’s just hype and some of it is the woman’s fault, still in 2017.
The other thing I have found troubling is a sort of pressure from people for other ‘victims ‘to share their stories, even if they are still processing what happened to them, without care that by doing so could cause the victim even more pain, harm, and distress. I guess that is why I felt I needed and wanted to write about this. I am a survivor of domestic violence, rape and serve mental, physical, and sexual abuse. I have spoken a little about it in the past, I am still dealing with it, every day, and at this point in my life I am not ready to share more. So how can I write anything for this or do more than listen to others?
It was over lunch a few days ago with the girls and my Great Aunt May that we got to talking about it. I said I felt I needed to share, but was not sure if I wanted to talk about it more than I had. Aunty May piped up with ‘well why don’t you share other stories, so they have a voice, but don’t have to share it themselves.’ I think that was a light bulb moment for me, help others share and be their voice! So, we talked about it and aunty may and the girls shared their stories. we got to talking it over dinner and Big Steve (my personal trainer) shared his story, and later that night via skype one of my best male friend shared his story with me. They have all said it is ok to write down what happened to them, in the chance it helps someone else. So here are their stories.
Great Aunty May 82 – Now for any of you that don’t know much about my Aunty May, she is the feisty, vocal, and strong minded and strong-willed head of my daddy’s side of the family. She is also one of the cleverest, most full of life and love and the most spirted people I have ever known. She was born in 1935 in Ballygowan in county down, Northern Ireland. She is a devote catholic, as were all her family. Growing up she saw that the church and the priest ward was that of god and you agreed with it. Girls who did would be sent to the reformatory schools or the Magdalen launderers. May recalled that at the age of 14 she was asked to help at the local presbytery after school. She had heard awful stories of thing going on there and that several of the girls had been sent to the feared launders. A few weeks in to working there, one of the priest offered to help peg out some sheets with her. While caring a heavy basket of wet sheets, he came up behind her and grouped her chest and tried to rub himself against her leg. Terrified and sacked she screamed, dropped the washing and this caused the priest to stop his assault. She left that day and after begging her mother to not send her back. Aunty May said she never spoke to anyone, except her older sister Irene (my nana), who said that they should stay quiet and pray that the priest never touched another girl. Fast forward 6 years and May found herself working as a Nanny to a posh society family in New York City, a very different place than her small village that she grew up in. She loved her job and the freedom it gave her. But she was homesick and sometimes was left tearful. The father of the family seemed very kind and always seemed to have words of comfort. It was on one of her low moments that her boss made her move. Her cornered in the kitchen, kissed her very hard while grabbing her wrists and pinning them to her side. Thankfully she managed to knee him hard in the balls and run and lock herself in the bathroom. She was dismissed the next morning and turned out on the streets with very little money, no job, and a very long way from home. thankfully NYC has a very large Irish community and she was taking in and found a new job within days! Again, she never talked about this till years later, fearing how people would look at her or how they would judge her. She survived, stayed strong and has lived a full and happy life. She says ‘A man or woman has not right to try and take anything be force. I would urge people who anything like this happens to speak up and to not keep it hidden, you have done nothing wrong’
Babe, 40 – Babe is are family little d. She is the sassy, strong and fearless. She is the one who the boss man leaves in charge when he must work away or if we are out and about without him. She recalls in her first job as a junior hair dresser, her 45-year-old male boss would make suggestive comments and lude remarks. He would always brush up against the joiners and made her feel uncommittable with the way he acted. Being only 17 she kept quiet and kept her head down not wanting to rock the boat. A few years later she was when she had just discovered her love for women (she’s bi-sexual), she was hanging out on Brighton’s gay scene a lot. On one night out the was a random drunk straight guy in the club that she was in. he seemed to latch on to babe and babe being a friendly lass and feeling a little sorry for him danced with him. After they danced he started trying to ply her with strong drinks, started to get a little handsy and said, ‘she was too pretty to be a less, he was going to turn her straight’. He started trying to kiss a drunk babe and shoved a hand up her top. The club had some amazing door staff who saw what was going on and pulled him off her. He was frog marched out of the club, in to a waiting police car and later the next day was charged. He pleaded guilty and got 8- hour of community service. Babe said that ‘if you ever end up in this predicament and you want to feel like justice has been dealt? Then go to the police. Yes, it is hard and yes, it’s frightening, but the police are there for this sort of thing. I was treated with respect, compassion and kindness.’
Emit, 43 – Emit is one of my best friends. We meet when I was working in Paris and bounded over are love of all things art nivo . Sweet, fun, and extremely talented. (he made my wedding dress). We were both dating the wrong guy and were being treated like crap. But both loving each and just wanting to be happy, we stayed quiet. Roll on the years and Emit and his partner Kirt got married, I was grooms’ maid. It was at the wedding it became clear to me that something was very wrong with Emit. He was a shadow of himself and had become withdrawn and timid. after 8 months of marriage, on a visit to the uk from Albany, on his own, a wan down Emit told me how bad things were. Kirt had been using emotional and verbal abuse and blackmail, to get Emit in to sexual activity that he was not commutable or happy with taken part in. he said he did not know how much more he could take. I was terrified that when he left to go home, I was going to get a phone call to say that he had taken his own life or something worse. I did get a phone call, but It was Emit to say that he had kick Kirt out. Was very proud of him, knowing how hard it was for him to do that. 6 months on he is still rebuilding himself, but us getting more like his old self every day. Emit added that ‘For so long I have seen Men hit on women or other men, in ways that make the mind boggle as to how their brain is working. Why would grabbing some one’s ass or trying to get handiest on a first date be likely to make the person to want more dates? Just stop being a dick and treat them with respect and dignity’
Kitten, 38 – Both kitten and I have worked on and off as dresser with in the Film and TV industry on and off over the years. The things we have seen at times have been enough to make you sick to your stomach, but the sake of keeping jobs we kept quiet. it is some sort vile unwritten rule that these sorts of things happen. From lude comments, to over friendly touching and to well a lot worse. From a personal level she has had men who she has overseen their wardrobe that have gotten erections form her dressing them. They always say, sorry I can’t help it, or you should be flattered really. But it can be helped, it’s not just a natural thing, and hell no we ‘ant flattered about it! Kitten wanted to make sure I added this last part, as a lot of this #metoo has focused on women and men being victims of men saying and doing stuff. She wanted to make a point that some women do this stuff too. Her ex-girlfriend, used emotional blackmail and abuse, to ware her down to the point that she would let her do stuff to her that she was not happy with. It led to kitten to become extremely depressed and was a big part of why she suffered a relapse of her eating disorder last year.
• Little Bear, 25 – So my sweet little bear has had a rough time for someone of her age. He first proper boyfriend at the age of 14, was in Lb’s words a numpty spunk muppet! He was a couple of years older and was a bit of a bully. He made her feel worthless and like she weird for not wanting to be giving him blow jobs or letting him do things to her. He also wanted her to take topless pic of herself, but being close to her mum, she went to her with his text. she in turn went to the school and they came down hard on the lad, why after an investigation got kicked out of the school. Fast forward a few years and at the age of 18 on a night out she got off with a guy and gave him her number. Waking up the next morning, she soon learned that she had made a huge mistake when she found 5 missed calls, 4 voice mails and 30 texts from this guy. She texts him to say that she did not want to take things any farther and thought nothing more of it. Well he turned out to be a nasty piece of work. the text and calls kept coming, he somehow got hold of her Facebook and twitter id’s, then found out where she works. Basically, her turned in to a stalker and not in a ‘I love you and will do anything for you’. It got to the point that he was threatening her with extrema sexual violence. That was when we as her friends stepped in and made her to go to the police. Who again were brilliant, arrested him, charged him and he plead guilty to all charges. He was sent to prison for 9 months. We later found out he had spent time in jail for hurting his ex-female partner. She wanted to say as well ‘never suffer in silence, talk to someone, anyone, but talk to someone’
Big Steve, 43 – Big Steve is one of the Boss Man’s best friends. He is a doorman and Personal trainer. He is 6 ft. tall, blond, blue eyes, and muscles. He is handsome, and I guess his what you would call ‘Eye candy’. However, he is a very sensitive guy and one of the deepest and must caring people in this world. He is my personal trainer and I have seen how woman can act towards him. The stares, the giggles and flirting. The are also the women who make remarks about his looks, who are very touchy feely and who make him feel like a piece of meat. Sadly, he has also been assaulted by a woman he was training. She flirts openly with him and Steve shut her done. he was at the time in a very committed relationship however carried on with the flirting and became extremely touchy feely. Then on a very early morning training session she decided to move things along, came up behind him and slipped her hands into his shorts. Steve jumped, pushed her hands away and went shout at her, saying ‘what the hell are you playing at’. This was heard by his manager, who had seen what was happening and how the woman had been acting towards Steve. She was escorted from the building, band from the gym and Steve was asked if he wanted to go to the police, he declined. As being a bloke, he felt they would not be taken seriously.
So that is are tales we wanted to share for the #metoo. We also have some advice we wanted to offer some advice, so here we go.
• If you see it happening, then find a way to help and speak out about it.
• If it happens to you speak out if you can and if it is safe to do so.
• If not, find someone to talk to, a friend, someone you work with or family member and ask for help.
• If you need to, go to the police and report what has happened to you. they will take it seriously and will treat you with respect.
• Get help to proses what has happened to you.
• Never feel that you are to blame, you have not done anything wrong.
• Hold your head high and feel proud of yourself for serving and for speak out.
We also wanted to add, if the is anyone out there who needs someone to talk to, we are all here to listen. simply mail any of us at Pixieheartblog@hotmail.com