“Perpetrators are shameless. And they put their toxic shame onto their victims, which we then internalize and carry around with us.”
Those comments are by Ashley Judd in an ABC News interview in 2017 about her sexually abusive confrontation with then producer Harvey Weinstein.
Thankfully there has been a dramatic increase in awareness of people in power (mostly men) abusing those in positions of much less power (mostly women), especially in the entertainment business.
A late 2017 USA Today article indicated the extent of the problem – it was titled “After Weinstein: More than 100 high-powered men accused of sexual misconduct.”
Actor Margot Robbie noted some of the personal impacts of the welcome revelations in the media and court actions for these harmful offenses.
“When all of these assault allegations started coming forward, I remember hearing half of them and thinking, ‘I didn’t know that was classified as assault or sexual harassment.
“I just chalked it up to a sleazy guy being sleazy.”
But, she continued,
“That goes to show that when a problem can be so prevalent in society, we just accept it as a way of life.
“I’ve definitely gone back through my memories and now I’m reassessing things with the view of, ‘OK, that’s not acceptable behaviour, and why did I accept it at the time?'” [Harper’s Bazaar Feb 21, 2018.]
Psychologist Mihaela Ivan Holtz works with creative people in TV/Film, performing and fine arts, and writes about the emotional and creative pleasures of their inner life – and its challenges.
In one of her articles on her site Creative Minds Psychotherapy, she addresses this topic.
Here are some excerpts:
If you’re an artist or performer, you were drawn to this life for a reason.
You yearn to be seen, heard, valued. Perhaps you want to make a positive impact on the world.
You want to connect with your audience through your art and you want to be rewarded for your work.
These are all very human aspirations—healthy yearnings to live the life you feel you were meant to live.
But how will you get there from here? Maybe you’ve just started out. Or perhaps you’ve already gotten great success but still have not achieved what you’re longing for.
Maybe you are uniquely talented but just haven’t met the right people.
As we all know, the right connections can make a difference.
No matter how talented you are as an artist, you don’t achieve success in a vacuum. You need those people who can see you, believe in you, and help you rise to your potential.
Who will those people be? Producers, casting directors, agents, managers, production company owners?
And what will they ask of you to help you succeed?
As we’ve seen recently, all over the news, many talented artists feel torn apart between choosing their career or their emotional integrity.
Yet, what about others who have risen to the height of success without compromising their integrity at all? Was it just luck, or did they make different choices along the way?
Yes, you can create your successful career without compromising your emotional integrity.
You can work your way to success while asserting your emotional right to say yes to yourself and no to abuse.
You don’t have to accept the outdated culture in the arts and entertainment world that you have sell your mind, body, or soul to succeed.
Of course that reality exists in Hollywood, and elsewhere; there are those who abuse others for their own selfish gain.
But there’s another reality right alongside it—people of influence who have integrity, people who will authentically value your talent and endeavors, who will support you toward your success because it’s mutually beneficial; they want to make art with talented artists and they value genuine professional relationships.
Read more in Say Yes to Yourself! Say No to Abuse! by Mihaela Ivan Holtz.