Not alone
November 10, 2017 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Yes Mom, There is Something Wrong.
From Victim to Survivor.
In Medium, actor Anthony Edwards reveals that he was sexually molested and a friend of his was raped when they were children, by Broadway producer and theme park designer Gary Goddard.

"Right now, there are children and adults who want to talk. Right now, there are people who have witnessed this kind of abuse but don’t know how to help. Right now, there are millions of victims who believe that the abuse they experienced was somehow their fault.

There are millions of children in our country who are one conversation away from being heard."

Mr. Edwards mentions "two organizations that I have found to be excellent resources" in the essay. They are: and
posted by zarq (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

I can't handle this much longer. Seriously.

I wish Metafilter had a way to filter or hide these posts from the main page. I already think there's too many shitty people out there. Having it ground in my face every time I turn around is getting a little much.
posted by Samizdata at 11:55 AM on November 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I empathize, Samizdata. On a technical/user experience level, it sounds like a good question for the contact form or MetaTalk.

I have a maybe unreasonable hope that these ongoing revelations will spur a deeper change in society.
posted by Jpfed at 12:01 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I get what you're saying, but at the same time…it's easy to forget that the majority of us grow up without abuse. That's my story—never once did an adult betray my trust when I was a child—and I always assumed that was just the way it was for everyone else. I kinda feel like I owe it to those who had such shitty experiences to at least listen. These stories are depressing as all hell, but they're good reminders to the lucky ones like me to keep in mind my experience growing up wasn't universal.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 12:03 PM on November 10, 2017 [55 favorites]

(I also sympathize. There is an open MetaTalk thread that gets into this issue, if folks want to discuss there.)
posted by lalex at 12:05 PM on November 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I completely understand Samizdata's viewpoint, and I feel much the same way. But I can only imagine the freedom and relief that those who are finally going public must feel.
posted by WCityMike at 12:06 PM on November 10, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think some of this is that one of the scandals finally stuck, and a lot of victims of missing stair problems are coming out and saying, "Oh, are we believing people when they report this stuff now? Because I've been getting ignored over this thing since it happens and if someone's finally going to listen, I'm going to talk."
posted by Karmakaze at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2017 [60 favorites]

Just a little tidbit from his wikipedia page:

Broadway 4D is an upcoming American musical film written and directed by Goddard with Bryan Singer.

Thick as thieves.
posted by turbowombat at 12:22 PM on November 10, 2017 [15 favorites]

I can't handle this much longer. Seriously.

And I also created this MetaHappy thread because of this exact feeling. For anyone else that feels similarly burnt out or mentally exhausted. Pop in and give your brain some relief.
posted by Fizz at 12:25 PM on November 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I sympathize with everyone who feels exhausted by the coming revelations or dismayed at the enormity and prevalence of abuse or simply burnt out. But every story of a victim who comes forward to say loudly "No, I am NOT the guilty party" heals a part of my old wound that for thirty years was mine alone to poke at with disgust. So keep them coming, with proper trigger warnings.
posted by hat_eater at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2017 [42 favorites]

Ugh I had forgotten that Bryan Singer's second major film (after The Usual Suspects, starring Kevin Spacey) was Apt Pupil...which featured Brad Renfro, who died died 10 years later at the age of 25 after struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:48 PM on November 10, 2017 [10 favorites]

I wish I knew what it were like to even be able to consider not knowing feasible. I didn't know it was possible to wish that other people's revelations weren't so exhausting.

It's life from birth for those of us who've been abused. We'll never know what living without it is. Ever. At all. You don't forget it – you learn to live your life. But you never, ever forget it. You learn to deal with other people disbelieving you. Learn to deal with other people rolling their eyes and telling you to stop playing the victim. Learn to deal with other people heaving a tired sigh and asking you to please not use your story to make them feel bad, or that talking about it at the same time as others is a "display of victimhood" that disrespects victims who don't feel like talking, or any of the myriad other ways you get told to please shut up and stop bothering everyone with that thing people feel horrible about. That you actually experienced.

Meanwhile your life moves around it like a river. But no one seems to pay attention to the river when you point out that immovable rock. They don't want to see the rock, look at it, hear about it, learn its contours. You're not a river when they see that rock. You're their feelings about the rock.
posted by fraula at 1:03 PM on November 10, 2017 [48 favorites]

I welcome it; I just wish the predator-politicians were getting raked over the fucking coals in an immediately-career-ending way, as some of the predator-actors seem to be.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 1:12 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was fortunate (!) to get by without much abuse throughout my childhood. As I look back, I see things that happened that I was very ignorant of at the time, and come back to me now with some schocking clarity regarding how they pushed the boundaries too much, or could have become much worse, and I was simply lucky. As I get older and talk to other men, I'm increasingly more aware of how many men are sexually abused as children. I have a loved one open up to me recently about this happening to him. He had a run-in with his abuser out of the blue one day at the place that he worked, not having seen him in decades. He didn't say anything. The person avoided him, and my loved one simply went home and cried.

I'm also more aware these days of how I felt as a child in light of bad things that did happen to me that were not under my control. I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have been able to say anything at the time about an abuser. There is the shame aspect in which the topic is taboo in general (I couldn't say the proper name for genitals without being embarrassed), even if the abuse weren't also so twisted. As a child, I had a keen sense of personal responsibility. Couple this with the inability to say no because you are groomed or simply so scared that you can't speak, and that becomes a shame cocktail that is really, really hard to shake. It creates one of those scenarios where you believe one thing propositionally (it's not your fault), and you believe a whole other thing in your soul, until someone gives you permission and the tools to release it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:17 PM on November 10, 2017 [9 favorites]

which featured Brad Renfro, who died died 10 years later at the age of 25 after struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse

A point I keep making, or trying to make, is that we're now in a position to see the pattern underlying all too many truncated careers, whether those careers be in the arts, the academy, technology or what have you.

I'm almost at the point where I assume that if a young aspirant in any of these fields has failed to capitalize on clear early promise, there's most likely a history of harassment, abuse and assault underlying that failure. Sometimes that means an active choice to withdraw from the field and pursue other opportunities, if we can use such anodyne expressions to describe the act of turning your back on something you've worked your entire life to excel at. It feels to me like Molly Ringwald, for example, opted for this kind of exile, and it seems to have worked for her.

Sometimes, though, as with Renfro, Corey Haim or, according to her own account, Rose McGowan, the withdrawal is internal and has an entirely darker cast. We need to remember that the entire field of celebrity is peppered with a scatterplot of absences, each of them representing someone ultimately destroyed by the abuse they suffered. This shit has a body count, is what I'm trying to say, and we are all and in every way the poorer for it.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:20 PM on November 10, 2017 [34 favorites]

That dude Gary Goddard is a fucking creep. I will tell you from first hand experience.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

To Samizdata's point, it might be useful to have a "view" of Metafilter that filtered out posts tagged with (for example) "trigger warning", so maybe if you had ?view=noTW in your URL you just wouldn't see those posts. (I know this is more of a MetaTalk comment, but I'm not about to ask for this's just something that popped into my head.)
posted by uosuaq at 1:27 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I understand the feeling of "not another one" . . . But Goddamn I am glad these revelations are coming out, and I am glad they are coming out in quantity, in speed, and are far-reaching. The wave of survivors who clearly finally feel free to come forward and tell their stories, the degree to which they're taken seriously, and the public and private opprobrium delivered to their abusers is unprecedented. This really feels like a sea change. Because it's not just producers who are getting their due. The little guys--camera operators, director's assistants, casting agents--they're being told if Weinstein can go down, they can go down too. They're getting the message that this is not how things are going to be anymore, and they need to get used to it.

I think there is also something to be said about the waves of the pretty and powerful telling their stories of abuse. I think it is easy to assume that fame protects you from these things. That if a victim was powerful enough, if they just stood up for themselves, then none of this would happen. But if fucking Gwynyth Paltrow can come forward and say she feared the repercussions of talking about what happened to her, that says a lot about how abuse culture works and it tells survivors that this is not because they're weak. This is not because they've got some shameful lack of spine, or because they've painted themselves as targets, or because they're complicit in their own abuse. They're victims of forces larger than themselves, and blaming themselves for what happened to them is like blaming themselves when their house is hit by a tornado.

And while women are overwhelmingly the primary targets of the denigrating, pervasive, toxic mess of rape culture, I want to express my appreciation and admiration of the men who come forward with their stories of abuse. Because in a lot of ways men who are targets of abuse, especially by other men, suffer under a weight of taboos and expectations that women don't, and do so with a paucity of support infrastructure. It means a lot for shitheads like Spacey to be exposed. It means a lot for his victims to be told it wasn't their fault and they aren't any less for having been targeted. It means a lot for guys like Crews to come forward, and provide the evidence that the stereotypes of male victims as "soft", and our stereotypes of who and who isn't "soft", are bullshit: you can be--as he put it--a "240lbs black man", 6'3'', fully grown, ex-NFL player, and STILL be subjected to this shit and feel compelled to stay silent.

So I am taking a perverse pleasure out of it. Providing testimony, especially public, can be a deeply painful experience. But now it's like there's this movement where awfulness is being exposed and (hopefully) tolerated a hell of a lot less than it was before.
posted by schroedinger at 1:35 PM on November 10, 2017 [51 favorites]

[Heya, folks, let's aim the site-centric metadiscussion toward this extant MetaTalk thread.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:42 PM on November 10, 2017 [5 favorites]

I wish Metafilter had a way to filter or hide these posts from the main page.

"My MeFi is a space to filter the front page to those posts you find most interesting. You can get started by visiting your My MeFi preferences and choosing your favorite MetaFilter tags." You can also set a list of tags to exclude from your front page.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:27 PM on November 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

But anyway, back to Anthony Edwards....

One footnote to his story is that he credits the Joyful Heart Foundation as one of the organizations that helped him. Joyful Heart was founded by Mariska Hargitay after a couple years of her playing Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU; the stories on the show just started getting to her, and she started it to help real-life survivors.

However, prior to being on Law and Order, Mariska actually had a short stint playing a woman Dr. Greene dated on E.R.. I'm kind of now hoping she was one of the friends whom he alludes to who helped him through this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2017 [27 favorites]

And the truth will set you free.
posted by xarnop at 6:01 PM on November 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ok, deep breaths. I've been sobbing.

"One in six men have an abusive sexual experience before they turn 18." I would be saddened by any statistic, this though? Is frightening as all hell. I've been pondering for the last couple days how to approach this subject with the gravity necessary for it, toward a particular friend group that are infected with a harsh strain of toxic masculinity and also are parents of young children whom are all less than eight years old.

Eddie Huang, one of the public figures whose writing gives me complex and conflicting feelings, published an essay on the 8th that completely gutted me as an Asian-American: "Why I Denied My Sexual Assault for 20 Years."

In the latter part of Huang's essay is this:
But when I opened up my computer and read the news about what Kevin Spacey did to Anthony Rapp … I read it over and over stopping each time at the age “14.” I know 14. It’s an ominous number for Chinese people; four being a homonym for death.
My family has largely dropped their Chinese roots. They left China at least two generations ago, migrating, before arriving here. But I --even through time, geographic and cultural distance, myself born and raised in these United States of America-- still had this ominous conception of death passed onto me. The number four. Anthony Rapp, at 14 years of age. Leigh Corfman, at 14 years of age. Eddie Huang, at 14 years of age. An unknown, untold number of more people we don't know yet, who we must offer support regardless of their age and gender.

This post, these comments, and Huang's essay give me a lot to ponder. Thank you, Anthony Edwards, Eddie Huang, Leigh Corfman bravely telling her story too, and thank you too, zarq, for this post.
posted by one teak forest at 4:40 AM on November 11, 2017 [11 favorites]

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