I would like to acknowledge that while my voice to this platform has come late, my support did not. For some, words and opinions flow easily, for others like myself, it is necessary to sit and wrestle with feelings prior to expressing them.
So here I go….
I had flown down to LA to work a pop-up event alongside some of my co-workers and Alex. During the course of this event, I got too drunk and consequently had to stop working. The embarrassment was real. This was the first time that I had been given an opportunity of this nature, and despite my actions, I had wanted to represent myself and my bar well.
After the event wrapped, a large group of us went to a strip club. Quite unsure of where I stood in the eyes of others, I tagged along praying that I wouldn’t embarrass myself further. Once inside, while others were waiting at the bar I preceded to sit down next to Alex. We sat there in silence for a moment, at which point he turned to me, put his hand on my leg and began to tell me how he would “like to see me up on that stage, naked, and to have the chance to throw money at me,” and how he imagined that I would like it too. He then preceded to tell me all of the things that he would like to do to me, and again how he imagined that I would like it.
There was that feeling again… embarrassment.
I felt my face flush, and my inside’s shake because my first thought was, “See! See what you did!” I blamed myself and my poor actions earlier in the night for the reasoning behind why he now thought so little of me. I ran countless names of other strong, successful women within this industry through my head like a check list of who I was sure he would never say anything like this too, and who I now felt reaffirmed that I could never be like. Looking back, it is this moment that makes me the angriest. Alex’s actions were not my fault, they were his. Period.
After reading the entries by other women, it is quite clear that I was fortunate. That my experience was not as violating. It is my sincere hope, in retelling my experience that this reaches any woman who has had the same thought process run through her mind in that moment. Please hear me when I say that it is not your fault. You did not ask for someone to belittle you, to place his hands on you, or devalue you as a human being. It is the responsibility of all of us to put a stop to this mistreatment of women, and to elevate the victim out of feeling at fault.
Nearly 1 in 5 women a year experience some degree of sexual assault. This is a truly horrifying statistic. Platforms like the one created here are an incredible way to start the conversation and to shine light on the injustices that all too often women have to face within their professional, social, political, and familial worlds.
Let’s push to keep this conversation going. Anyone who would like to donate their support to victims of sexual assault crimes here is a list of agencies:
For anyone who has been a victim, here are some hotlines and websites. Please do not turn the anger or the blame inward, you were not the perpetrator.
National Sexual Assault Hotline 800. 656.HOPE (4673)
National Hotline for Crime Victims: 1-855- 4-VICTIM (1-855- 484-2846)