Thanks to Gayle King, I’m in tears this morning…fresh tears remembering how hard it was to tell someone what Dad had done to me for so many years.  And how similar Charlie Rose is to my Dad.  The power. Oh. My. God. The. Power.  Unless you have stood in our shoes, it is nearly impossible to explain how their power follows you. It permeates your life.

It takes years to undo the doing. 

Part of the undoing is telling.

Part of the undoing is  being believed.

Part of the undoing is being publicly supported.

Watching and listening to Gayle King say today “I am not okay.  I’m really struggling…What do you say, when someone you deeply care about has done something that’s so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that?”

She hit the nail on the head.  As a child, how do you wrap your brain around what’s happening to you?  As a neighbor, family member, co-worker –how do you wrap your brain around what someone is accusing your neighbor, Dad, or co-worker of?

This is a large part of why people don’t report it, and why others can’t seem to believe it.

But the dam is bursting.  I’m guessing there will continue to be more brave people come forward with their stories similar to Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Charlie Rose.  One day, though, I think the media and/or the audience will tire of it.  They’ll want to move on.

In the meantime, I continue to wonder about one thing.  How many of these powerful men have children?  Those children lived that fear every day and were the most vulnerable of all.  And millions more kids whose dads are not famous, but just as destructive.  When will it feel safe for those of us who lived with the Harveys, Kevins, and Charlies to tell our stories?

For many years, my Dad was one of the most powerful men in town. He was the mayor, on the school board, and boss at the largest employer.  The small Alaskan village I grew up in was physically isolated, accessible by air and river only. I literally could not run away. The closest town (of 30 people) was 20 miles away through wilderness. The one person I confided in courageously confronted my Dad with disastrous results.  He threatened her bodily harm and her husband’s employment. (He was her husband’s boss.) I never confided in anyone again until my 30’s when I was in therapy and lived 2000 miles away from Dad.

People like Charlie Rose and my Dad have a social veneer that most people don’t easily recognize.  Those who try casually bringing it up to others are met with responses like “Oh, that’s just Charlie.”  In a twisted and ironic way, their very behavior gives them a Teflon coating of protection.

I’m grateful to those men and women who continue coming forward with their stories. I’m also grateful to those like Gayle King who are openly honest about their struggle with mixed emotions while firmly supporting the victims.   Her honesty is refreshing and healing.

What about you? How do the recent stories of sexual harassment affect you?