Me Too…Portrait of Pain

Sally Edelstein 1980

Me Too. Selfies from the seventies. These series of self portraits were evidence of my anguish  from the toxic culture of male entitlement that was damaging then. It’s damaging now. Self portrait Sally Edelstein 1979

Today I add  my voice to every woman who has had the courage to speak and speak for those who can’t.

I also give voice to my younger self, the young woman in her twenties and thirties who didn’t think she had a voice that could be heard,…or that anyone would listen. I felt alone in my anguish.

Though unique in its particulars, I know now I am everywoman.

I was raped at 24.

Self portrait Sally Edelstein 1979. A post rape portrait of a time when women’s voices were often diminished

On an early winter morning as the 1970’s came to a close, I was brutally attacked by an intruder in the supposed safety of my own apartment.When the detectives inquired as to what I had been wearing in my own bed as I  lay asleep to be terrifyingly  awakened by a knife wielding infiltrator in my bedroom, as though that might have inspired a stranger to rape me, I knew I was lost.

The damage from that lone incident remains but the pervasiveness of decades of sexual harassment and abuse by those I knew, those I dated, business colleagues, associates and strangers has left it’s equally deep mark on my psyche. And bear witness to these pictures .

photo Sally Edelstein 1980

As a young woman sexual harassment was just part of the female experience in this culture. Our voices were silenced if we gave voice at all. The naked truth is it’s all part of a culture we are implicit in. Sally Edelstein 1980

Sadly along with its ofttimes unacknowledged damage, the remnants from that culture remain.

The powerful voices  of so many women sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the wake of Harvey Weinstein is overwhelming but heartbreakingly  unsurprising.

Finally we are heard.

 

You Might Also Enjoy

Remembering What Was Forgotten- Traumatic Memory and Sexual Abuse

Advertisements

11 comments

  1. Sally – Thanks for sharing this very moving admission. My heart breaks that many women continue to be subjected to sexual abuse and cruelty with seemingly rare consequences for those who harm them. However women like you telling their truth makes it all too real. Ultimately your brave candor gives us all hope. That’s because by telling your story – you and many others enlighten and enrage those who have been all too naive. Hence I cannot tell you how deeply touched, humbled, and grateful I am to all of you for sharing your stories. Because of this – you all have my commitment as a father and grandfather to do whatever is within my power to fight EVIL. GEC

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Greg for your compassion, sensitivities and strong moral compass. The outpouring of shared pain and experiences from generations of women has been overwhelming and informative. Knowing there are men like you who truly are listening is meaningful and offers hope that going forward there can be honest change. Your children and grandchildren are fortunate to have someone like you in their lives to guide them

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    What angers me the most was what the detectives told you…
    You knew then you were all alone with all your pain and anguish.
    As a grandfather I concur with Gregory’s comment.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sadly, those were different times and there have now been laws enacted to protect a rape victim more. At the time I had been prepared to go all the way to trial with this and had been prepped by the DA in what was a very difficult experience having to field embarrassing and intrusive questions from the Defense attorney but I looked forward to my day in court and have justice done. In a final act of what felt like betrayal the DA cut a deal with the perpetrator for a lesser charge in order to move the trial through the clogged court system ( and I was told so that the trial would not interfere with the DA’s planned summer vacation) My voice was silenced again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this, Sally. Moving and timely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Posted on Facebook with this comment: Sally Edelstein’s portraits of herself at 24 after being raped are a powerful contribution to the current dialogue on sexual harassment. Men need to pay attention to the pain, humiliation and anger that these brave women are expressing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for sharing and your very important and meaningful words of support. They touch me deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh. Ouch. Deep sadness. Anger. Want to throw something. Want to reach out to you.

    Those are all the emotions I felt Sally as I read your experience and post-experiences. 😦 As a former worker in the Psych/A&D field, I know of too many cases of sexual assault/rape, and even one is too much. I’m so sorry, but I am so PROUD of you today and how you are managing this AND speaking up and out for all women! Bravo Madame!

    As a big fan of the positive aspects of the Victorian culture, I wish the refined treatment of well-mannered, honorable, chivalrous gentlemen toward ladies then, were not lost and forgotten today. I feel lofty standards of etiquette, private or public, should be taught even demanded by and on Fathers for their young, adolescent, and teenage sons.

    Thank you so much for being so open about this so that others, men and women alike, should learn. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Claudia Nolan

    No more will Warrior Women be subdued, I told myself, attempting to conjure up an army to which I might belong. That army now walks toward me from the fog. Can they see me emerging in their direction, too?

    There for you, Sally.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: