When you look at me, what do you see? A 6ft 2in, 216Ib, muscular skinhead and all the stereotypes and prejudices that accompany those traits?
You probably don’t see a victim, or, as we’re meant to call ourselves, a ‘survivor’.
Looks can be deceptive. As can impressions. People who mask behind positions of influence, who claim to be professionals who can assist in furthering your careers can show one face to the public and quite another behind closed doors.
It took me seven years to confront the truth and decide to finally notify the police that a man purporting to be an entertainment talent agent had sexually molested me back in 2013. For seven years, I grappled with the mental anguish and dilemma that me not telling anyone means that he could be doing it to other men too and probably already had.
For years, I would speak at debates on TV, radio and at universities, on topics usually related to the sex industry. I heard all the arguments by those sex workers who claimed, time after time, that the police had failed them, that they had no confidence in turning to law enforcement, that they would just be laughed at and not taken seriously. That was from the mouths of female sex workers. As a man - a big, tall, muscular man - how do you think that made me feel? Would the police even believe me? Would they laugh at the idea that someone of my stature could be molested? Even if they did believe me, as a sex worker (despite the incident not having anything to do with the sex industry), would they just tell me I probably deserved it or brought it on myself?
But I felt like a hypocrite. As an outspoken advocate for the sex industry, I was out there speaking up for sex workers and their rights, but I didn’t have the guts to stand up for my own as a human being .
In the last few years, we have witnessed the rise of the #MeToo movement. Rightfully, prominent women across the world of entertainment, and other sectors, are finally standing up and saying “enough is enough” to these predators who think that their positions of power and influence over the careers and professional lives of those ‘beneath’ them, gives them free reign to exploit their ambitions for their own uncontrolled sexual urges. Finally, the world is saying “there is no place for this”.
There is no place for anyone to be taken advantage of, be it sexually, physically or otherwise, in order for them to aspire to reach their professional ambitions. Women or men can be the victims of these ‘predators’. And they too frequently are. Its time that we all stood up and said “enough!”. We can’t stop what has already happened, but we can try to prevent it from happening to others and try to create a world where our children, and their children, do not grow up in a society where this is ever again deemed acceptable or normal.
Things have changed. Ever since I made the report, the police have been nothing but understanding, helpful and, which is perhaps more important, honest with me. But nothing we change if we don’t lead the change. We can all be part of this change. We must all be part of this change. For the sake of our children, all of our children, stand up and say “Me Too”.
#MeToo. # MenToo. #AllOfUsToo