Was Harvey Weinstein the hole-in-the-dike that led to our freedom? As an androphilic (lover of men), even I, Julie, am bowled over by this change.
It was the power of the press, penetrating through formidable resistance, which successfully released this awesome showdown. Maybe the hurt that the women feel didn’t dissipate but our imagined shame did into this new awakening. How amazing we all are. Now the “accomplices,” men, are even applauding us.
This indicates that more than laws will change. There will be an enhanced awareness in offices, back rooms, and board rooms for the proper treatment of women. We are the mothers who teach our boys the limits of power through domination, mainly because of the irreversible harm it does a women, not just now but over her lifetime.
I know of women who were abused who put on 75 to 175 pounds just to shield their bodies from further abuse. No diets or willpower had ever seemed to reduce this stress to the body. It is a soul condemning event for women. What is it for the men? What are they left with? Or are they?
My personal story, one that I never thought could be aired, is one of horrific physical battering. It lasted 5½ hours, by someone, in retrospect, I would call psychotic. We were rehearsing alone for a scene to be done at the Actors Studio, from a play on Broadway. It was a scene of threat, imminent abuse. Now, as valued actors on screen, we have stunt people who “stand-in” for us and do the dangerous actions. Producers take out insurance policies to cover this. You don’t want to break a leg unnecessarily. Fight scenes are choreographed with highly professional stunt coordinators. As actors we don’t poison our fellow actor with the real thing. It is our job to make it look real in order to advance the story.
Many of us have been hurt with foolish stunts. I am gasping now for as I tell the rest of the story, my mind is even going blank. Argh! But here goes.
I had just won the best supporting actress award on Broadway for my role as a Swedish girl in the comedy “Marriage-Go-Round”, acting with two of the biggest stars from Hollywood, Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert. Since this was my first acting role, my previous life as a dancer was instantly refocused and may I say the Tony Award that I received was earned purely on instinct. I needed to become a bona fide professional and the Actors Studio was THE place to train.
Lee Strasberg was the guru to us all. Still, the studio was a troubling place to hang out. Lee seemed to attract three kinds of actors; the truly gifted, the beautiful (Marilyn Monroe) and some oddly psychotic wannabes. Never did I think that the person I would be rehearsing with would attack me in a 5½ hour battle that left my face so swollen, my voice so damaged, my eyes shut, and my body barely able to walk. I had to cancel the next evening’s performance at the Plymouth Theatre; this was the only time I ever missed a performance in my life.
I couldn’t tell the stage manager or producer what had happened, why I couldn’t show up. Going to the police would have been unheard of. Now readers, I ask you, not to change history. Sexual abuse in the sixties or wind of it, as far as the public or press was concerned, meant I would be more associated with 42nd Street sleaze places than Broadway’s Great White Way. It was not done. All you could do was survive. Today it’s different. Are we safer though? The consequences, what are they?
Before I finish this story, let me tell you a side story that may or may not illuminate the case. It involves publicity. There used to be a semi-legit Broadway PR guy by the name of Eddie Jaffe who passed a message through a dear friend of mine to me that if a “fan” were to rush the stage during the famous towel scene in Act II and disengage that towel from my body it would get “great publicity” for me and the show . . . . (Gulp). Jane Mansfield, at the time, was getting all kinds of spectacular publicity for her Broadway show, “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” Remember the famous picture of her leaning over the table with Sophia Loren’s aghast expression at her protruding bosom? Anyway, I was shocked at this uncouth suggestion and what would be the consequences. Knowing Claudette Colbert, with just the thought of her dismissal of me (what if they found out that I’d been privy of such over-the-top notoriety?). My concentration on stage would have been shot-to-hell and that would have undermined me for months. By the way, “Marriage-Go-Round” was a huge hit and ran for a year on Broadway to standing room only.
Now, back to the consequences of that fateful rehearsal day. Looking back, I think the worst of it for me was – memory loss. I would go dry on the lines I had known so well, those that had some similarity to what had happened to me. Forgetting your lines is an utterly harrowing experience, like falling out of a plane with no parachute. Time moves at an excruciatingly slow pace. Sadly, I was never able to perform again at the Actors Studio; I did observe the Friday 11:00 o’clock classes for a few years. Later in life, whether or not this led to memory problems, I’m not sure. Thirty years later, I considered doing what Candice Bergen wrote about in her book, attempting Arthur Janov’s Primal Scream.
Ah well, a new life. We do survive. Sorry to not make this a comedy, but we could use your help, everyone with this awakening, one by one through our personal stories. Also, boys, men need reminding, though it’s best done in youth, of what NEVER to do. There are monsters out there, but I trust men really do know when the ultimate, complete answer is “No.” Trust your instincts, trust us, the women, we do love men.
By the way, the male person in this story, the abuser, who I learned had taught some form of jiu-jitsu in the Marines, was never able to penetrate me. I am a ballet dancer with very strong thighs.
P.S. One more thing. Slang also diminishes women. Stop referring to us as: “You guys.” It’s insulting. It would be like us calling you: “You gals.”
Watch your LANGUAGE – America.