The story clip highlighted below from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center surrounding actor Stephen Collins affected my family and especially one of my daughters and I greatly. So devastating. All my children grew up watching 7th Heaven and we were all inspired by the ‘wholesomeness’ of the show. I know we are not alone in our disappointment and disgust with this story as well as the recent events surrounding Bill Cosby. We loved The Cosby Show. Both situations are disheartening and painstaking. For everyone involved, directly and indirectly. Victims, perpetrators and (alleged) perpetrators. This affects us all collectively, as a Nation.
Two American iconic father figures have fallen. It seems the higher the pedestal we place our heroes on, the harder the fall. For a lot of people. It’s very challenging not to jump on the propaganda bandwagon when victim after victim step up and step out to share their truth. We do have to give respect to due process and allow evidence to be presented and followed. That being said, I will also say, to place sole blame on the ‘victim’ is certainly no way to unmask the truth and bring about justice and fairness and healing to anyone.
Victim blaming is really a blindsided way to mask the truth. This topic is something I can speak into from very personal experience. Victim blaming is one of the worst things society, media and communities can can do to hide the truth, hinder healing and highlight the shame and humiliation already hiding and deeply hurting inside the victims. Sexual harassment, rape, sexual discrimination, and abuse is never ok.
It is never ok.
It is never the fault of the victim.
Tolerating the behavior does NOT translate into consensual acceptance. Being in and working in an environment that has cultivated this culture as an accepted way and viewed as a ‘normal’ way of living and working does NOT make it acceptable or consensual.
My personal stories will be coming to light in 2015. Shedding the shame, and opening the door to healing both ourselves and others can only happen when we open our hearts and our mouths- to speak out and share our stories.
Speak and shine a light on this horrible horrible topic. 2015- It’s time to heal. You deserve to heal. You have held it in long enough. If you or someone you know has has experienced any of this deplorable behavior, please share and please keep this in mind:
You obviously didn’t deserve their respect and their honor and they most definitely do not deserve your silence and protection.
Actor Stephen Collins will be interviewed on ABC 20/20 tonight. When an accused/prosecuted offender tells his or her story to the media, it can be jarring for survivors. A message to survivors from one of our experts:
– You are not alone.
– If you choose to listen to an offender tell their story, remember that at any time you can stop listening. Please be kind to yourself.
– While listening, it is normal for you to remember your own experiences. These memories do not negate your strength and resiliency. You are an exceptional human being for the creativity, resourcefulness and strength that has kept you here.
– We believe you.
– If you would like to talk, there are resources available to you. Call RAINN‘s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. Access NSVRC’s directory of state, territory and tribal anti-sexual assault coalitions and national allied organizations here: http://www.nsvrc.org/organization. You can contact us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org, 877-739-3895.