Shhh. If you don’t say it out loud maybe it didn’t happen.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.
Well, I’m not silent anymore and neither are you, my fellow #MeToo survivors. This movement has really shifted something in our society for the better because the silence has finally been broken.
Back in 2011 I sat down in front of my computer to write about my experience of being molested as a child. When I sat down to write about it I had no idea that this soul purging exercise would come out in script form. None. But hey, I’m an actress so it made total sense to me. That was back in the summer of 2011. At that time, no one was vocal about sexual assault and when they were it was always in hushed tones.
Though my script was based on my personal experience, its not an exposé or a documentary. What I wrote came out as a fictionalized version. The intention was not to expose every part of my story I wrote it to reveal my emotional experience. The lead characters experience mirrors my exact experience. The denial that goes on in ones own head - let alone out in society. I titled my script “A Life, Taken” because the person I was before I had been molested was killed, that life was literally taken. My husband urged me to produce it and I agreed only if he would direct the film. Somehow writing this script and bringing the character of Natalie to life helped me heal on a deep level. I finally began letting go of the feeling that I was somehow complicit in my molestation. It was the belief that I was responsible for my own molestation that created a feeling of shame and unworthiness in me.
In 2014 I entered “A Life, Taken” into a few select Film Festivals and it was accepted into some of them. Sitting in darkened theaters with strangers watching my story was scary and also liberating. The reaction from the film was always positive and at every screening someone would pull me aside and in a whisper uttered, “this happened to me too.” Their hushed tones stay with me still today. The last festival screening of "A Life, Taken" was in 2015, way before Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his life-long abuse and sexual harassment and before the #Metoo movement.
Some people believe the “Me Too” movement won’t change anything. Many believe this will only be a moment in time and then we will go back to business as usual. A blip. That all these “me too’s” will become a thing of the past and we will go back to being silent but I vehemently disagree with this notion. Sexual predators need silence to continue their reign over their victims. Silencing their victims is their most valuable tool. Silence enslaves the victim and protects the predator. The only real weapon against this is its polar opposite… speaking out. It’s the public support of the victims coming forward that is the real catalyst of change.
The public shaming and take down of the Harvey Weinstein’s and Kevin Spacey’s of the world is like a sledgehammer to that oh so powerful tool known as silence. With every passing day victims are being empowered with the knowledge that they will now be believed. This is what will create change. Victims no longer afraid to speak out. This is our weapon… this is the remedy… speaking out. #Me Too. Me too. Me too.
The other day I sat down and wondered, what kind of film “A Life, Taken” would have been if I had written it today? Then it dawned on me, it was always my intention to turn my short film into a feature film so I will now have that chance to find out.