I learned on facebook today that the director of a play I was in when I was in my late teens just committed suicide. The play was good - great. It was feminist. He was a feminist and supported us all. He was a great director - kind, supportive, encouraging. I got to play a girl who was bipolar and who self-injured. It was a great role. He had a party for all of us at the end of the run at his house and he made beer in honor of the play - and the labels said that it had peach and strawberry undertones and that it was “sensitive to women’s issues.” He introduced me to the music group “This mortal coil” - and the piece in the video below is hugely important to me. He was a high school teacher - and was one of the people who helped tackle a shooter and protect kids in one of the first school shootings. Most recently he was a high school principal at an arts school.
It turns out that he committed suicide after he was accused of having a “sexual relationship” with a minor. I don’t know the age of the victim at the time nor how long ago that was. Nor if there are others.
Another director I worked with was accused of similar crimes, as was a pianist on a musical I was in.
My mom had a colleague that I knew when I was in high school who was arrested for child molestation.
The co-owner of a theater I performed in raped one of my closest friends.
One of my classmates in college raped another classmate. He may have had more victims. They all may have.
My uncle had an “affair” with a teenage girl at the same time that he was dating - and later married to - his high school teacher (who was much older than him and it started when he was in HS). He is now married to the person who was the teen girl.
When my dad died, I went through his emails and the last one he sent was a sexual one about a young teenaged girl. He did a lot of things that made me uncomfortable growing up. When Natalie Portman talked about the highly sexualized environment she was exposed to in her early acting career - that really resonated with me.
I have suspicions about some others in my life.
Do I know an unusual number of sexual abusers and rapists? I don’t know. For some of them these things fit things that I noticed or sensed. For some it is a shock. The first person above - the director who committed suicide - that’s a shock.
Does knowing so many of them personally give me some weird empathy for people like Al Franken? Or is my hope that he could be rehabilitated and become a good advocate and ally rooted in intimately knowing so many creepy men?
I know far more women who have been abused than men who have abused. I know several men who have themselves been abused. My best friend in college was raped multiple times by men. I have no idea what happened to him, but I worry he didn’t survive.
All of this may explain why I wanted to watch videos of sex offenders and write a paper on them.
I thought I would have some interesting things to say about all of this - some discussions of the whys and wherefores - but I don’t know. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.