By Timothy Wickes
It surrounds us like an avalanche. Since that robeless toad Harvey Weinstein was exposed in October, it’s a runaway train. Seems as though half of the young actresses in Hollywood suffered some misery at his hands.
Like some perverse pinball game, the touch of abuse bounces from a McGowan here to a Paltrow there. And so on. Because they never stop at one. And now there is the Alabama child molester, Roy Moore. On the watch list at the local mall. A fourteen year old here, a sixteen year old there.
Because they never stop at one.
And people knew.
They knew about Harvey- Seth MacFarlane told a joke about it at the Oscars. They knew about Roy. Watchlist at the mall. Who knew that was even a thing ?
Too often someone knows. And does nothing.
So why do I write #MeToo?
It started 47 years ago this December.
He was 30.
I was 10.
He was a big part of my family dynamic and would come to stay for a week or two a few times a year.
A guy on all of the pedestals, especially mine.
What did I do? Whatever he wanted, whenever he was around. In that house, he could do no wrong. My parents’ house.
I said nothing.
It went on for just over two years.
And then it stopped.
Because he had a conscience? Probably not. Because I got too old for his taste? More likely.
For almost four years after, I never thought about it. Not once. As if the memory hid out in the cave that Freud built in the basement of my mind. And then, it all came back and has stayed with me and held my hand every day of these last 40+ years.
And still, I said nothing.
Until now. Why now?
Because too many of Weinstein’s victims and Moore’s victims and Sandusky’s victims and Cosby’s victims have shined the light of bravery down the trail of transparency.
It’s time to stand up. For me. For all of us.
Members of Congress and higher are accused assaulters of women. Shameful men who should have neither power nor respect.
And the pedophiles – Moore, Sandusky, Stephen Collins, Roman Polanski. Catholic priests. Teachers at Choate and St. Georges. Some accused; some convicted.
Woman after woman. Child after child.
Because they never stop at one.
One day a teacher or a school principal, next day a national gymnastics coach, third day a well-known Long Island youth football guru. A different predator in a different arena every day of the week. And then, it’s next week and a whole new group.
Too often people knew.
Parents complained, children complained, women complained. And the powers did nothing. People were paid. Coaches and preachers and teachers all being covered for; men of great authority cloaked in a protective blanket of secrecy by others who should have known better-who should have done better.
So, why put this in a horse show magazine?
Well, you know why. Yes, you know.
For far too long, in our sport – a sport I love – grown men have preyed on our youth. Male and female – heterosexual or gay. Does not matter.
“He likes them young.”
A wink here, a nod there, and so it goes.
A coach and his teenage protégé.
Don’t talk to me about the ones that end up married. That argument went out on the school bus with R. Kelly.
It is everywhere – a whispered reality that never quite sees the light of day.
Olympians as victims and Olympians as predators. Lauded and legendary coaches who make predator an unspoken addition to their job description. Former announcers who still work in the business. Famous riders. The guy at the wash and fold.
It is going to come out. It should come out. Like Hollywood with Cosby and Weinstein, we are just one brave voice away, one brave voice that shines the light for the next voice. And the dominos start to fall.
So, let’s try to do better.
If you see something, say something.
If, as an adult, you hear something, do something.
If, as a kid, you are worried about your friend, tell someone that you trust.
If it is happening to you, find the person that you trust the most and tell them.
There is strength in numbers.
No more winks, no more nods, no more blind eyes.
Now, 47 years later, memory and regret cascade through the canyons of time. I wish I had done something; I wish I had said something. Guilt escorts the knowledge that my predator moved on to his next prey and feels worse than the memory of the assaults themselves. I can only hope that in saying something now, I make it easier for others to do the same.
Did it happen to you?