I’ve been hesitant to post this story because it is my daughter’s story. But it is also mine, as her mother who cares about her.
My daughter called me and she was obviously in low spirits. Finally the event that had deeply troubled her came out. Ending in tears.
A number of years ago she was awarded a chance to participate in a working conference in her creative field. (I am being vague on purpose.) This program was led by a charismatic man, acclaimed, a ground-breaker, the boss and the star. The participants travelled from all over the world. My daughter was honored and thrilled to be there.
But discord developed. My daughter, one of the few female participants, felt manipulated by this man. She was not alone. He made romantic overtures and was not kind when put off. He demanded loyalty and created division. The discourse became rancid. My daughter and a few other women left early, sent off with threats that they would be excluded from this cohort, not welcome at reunion meetings, and would have trouble getting funding, platform, respect for their future work because of this rift.
Years later, there is a lawsuit against this charismatic leader. My daughter is reading the interview transcripts. Her name appears. Apparently the man had asked another male participant, “I can see that you like ‘Lizzie.’ Here, want some of this to give to her?” Offering him drugs. So that he could do what he might want to do. With her.
Thank God that the second man declined. And later testified.
I do not have very much personal experience to stake claim in the #Me Too movement. But I know my daughter does- this is only one story from her life. As I ponder it over making dinner and folding laundry, I feel the evil creeping out of it. What a horrible, vile man.
Years before that, when ‘Lizzie’ was in a troubling relationship, her older sister sent her The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. (Oprah and I recommend it highly.) I am thankful my daughter learned to recognize manipulation and misogyny. I am proud that she trusts her feelings and acts to keep herself safe.