They say that with great power comes great responsibility. As powerful as I may think I am, I think strength and leadership are more suitable words to describe myself, and I have learned over the last 38 years that those also carry a certain level of importance.
Somewhere along the road of my childhood I was taught to be proud, walk with my head up, to believe in myself, and make my voice heard. As the older sister of four, protector inherently became a natural role, and abuse in any sort of way is not to be tolerated. As I became a woman I have made the journey of navigating men’s behavior with so many positive interactions and a lot of negative, and with as many mistakes that I have made, I know when these negative moments were not induced.
How you deal with the predator, attack, abuse, or uncomfortable sexual predicament is the hardest part. I can’t say that my protective nature has been nearly as intense with my own life as it has with others, and over the last few months I now realize that the importance of my voice can help grow the strength of our female community, and that it is being a powerful woman.
The summer of 2009 after an awards ceremony of my peers, I found myself in a rickshaw accompanied by a friend and companion en route to the next celebration of the evening. Within the very close quarters this very big man forced his hand up my skirt without a glimmer of consent. My reaction was large enough for him to stop, and I now know that I am very lucky that it didn’t go further. After the incident I complained to my then boyfriend, and very good friend of the assailant, to which it was passed off to inebriation, and there was no further outcome.
As you can imagine, this created a number of feelings. Unprotected, alone in my jumbled thoughts, sadness of being treated that way by a friend, concern that I did something to instigate his actions, and a real fear that as I had just experienced, no one would understand the way he made me feel, nor do anything about it. That led to messaging the friend regarding his behavior and asking that it never happen again, then excusing it and most likely clinking glasses with him the next night. There were several other inappropriate passes made by this person throughout the years after, and I guess because of my relationship with this community and him being such a beloved and prominent character, I haven’t spoken about it publicly.
Sexual assault is alive and thriving within the industry that I call family. The abuse of alcohol and drugs create a petri dish of shame that many women fall into with feelings of over indulgence, confusion, promiscuity, and fear that keep us from protecting each other from these inexcusable offences. AND I’M OVER IT.
Real men support the women around them endlessly. A true role model lifts people up and promotes the young people that look up to them. It is unacceptable that this business excuses immoral and illegal behavior. Because of this, I got #straused.