I send gratitude to the women who have stepped forward (and been stepping forward), breaking their silence about being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump. Their stories demonstrate how difficult it is for women and girls (and individuals from marginalized groups in general) to break the silence and speak their truth against those in power.
My heart goes out to all the other women who have been assaulted by men in power who stay silent out of fear of retaliation, public condemnation or self-doubt. It took me years to write my own story of sexual abuse, incest in my case. This was mainly because the abuse left me doubting myself, and my own sanity (Mystery of Memory: Telling My Truth, Standing My Ground.)
Left with only murky memories and invalidation by my parents, the lawyer in me felt compelled to find “evidence.” But the very nature of sexual abuse is that it is a crime that is almost always without witnesses. In most cases, therefore, it’s impossible to corroborate.
I had to face my self-doubt head on and journey inside to find the evidence that lives in me at the somatic and emotional level. I’m not sure if I would have been able to do that with the added burden of public scorn from a society that protects the prominent and powerful and tunes out marginalized voices. The more of us who come forward, the harder it will be to tune us out.