History has shown a tendency to note certain types of people in this world such as warriors, politicians and artists in their varying forms. Writers, poets, actors and musicians all feature highly in history’s tomes.
Those histories often contain strong elements of tragedy and it is clear from the events of the last two years that tragedy continues to etch its misery upon the lives of humanity's most talented.
An activist needs to be able to first identify or learn what is needed and secondly to be able to respond to it. This involves stepping into the female dynamic for the brutal reality of abuse is that females make up the large majority of victims. That dynamic, when tainted with the consequences of abuse, is a dark and fearsome vortex that consumes the unwary without pity.
My first major foray into that dynamic was when the Accident Compensation Corporation of NZ, the agency that provides all treatment and entitlements to victims, went rogue and wiped 94% of claimants off its books. A range of tactics were used against us and I was among the 6% that managed to fight for my own survival.
I offered to help others who were not as able to fight back and soon I was taking phone calls at all hours of the night where women whispered of their pain. Some literally begged me to make the Corporation stop. I spoke to treatment providers and some of them cried when they told me how their clients were being cast into the cold.
A couple of women teamed up with me and we hurled ourselves against the Corporation’s might head on. Determined to force change and avenge my fallen brothers and sisters I waged a brutal public campaign against the corporate foe until the Corporation sued for peace. That peace is now over and the drums of war thunder once more but that is another story.
The result of this is that I am no stranger to dealing with women who are facing these issues on mass. This is fortunate for supporting the Breakers in a meaningful way is a complex business. It has become evident to me that a vital step in providing the necessary support is to provide something that has been light on the ground to date. Validation.
This is a serious business. At the height of the ACC war women ended up in mental health facilities and I was told of at least two who took their own lives. The Breakers have been subjected to nearly two years of acute stress and terrible abuse. We have already come within a whisker of losing one Breaker to suicide and that is just the one on public record.
As I said validation is a key requirement and I seek to provide that here. The Breakers need to have their issues articulated so that not only will other people gain some understanding but so the Breakers themselves can see the nature of the situation they are caught up in.
To be clear this is no way is to be seen as an attempt to seek pity or unwarranted sympathy. These women are not seeking pity. What they seek is understanding and they certainly deserve it. So, let us take a journey into the unique hell the Breakers are fighting to survive.
To succeed in the acting industry is extremely difficult.
Actors number in the thousands in a world of billions. Much like any other niche career it is generally helpful if the aspirant has devoted pretty much their entire lives to their ambition. Success in the field is obviously rewarding financially and a lifestyle few will ever know can follow. Yet nothing in life comes without its cost.
Take a young girl who has spent her childhood dreaming of being an actress, making skits to present to the family, making videos and going to acting classes on top of her schooling. Later she grows into a beautiful talented young woman, articulate and charismatic with the world at her feet.
Driven by the need to express her art and the desire to live love and hope like everyone she enters a world where darkness waits behind the bright lights of the industry. At first all seems well but soon she finds herself prey among predators.
Forced to stand in front of men who make little secret of their lust on one hand while monetizing her body on the other the message starts to come clear quickly. Then comes the unwanted touching and the comments all of which lends weight to her sense of being hunted and having to be constantly on guard.
Our actress is now in a terrible trap and the cords that warp her tightly in place are the dreams and aspirations that she had as a child and her hopes and fears for her future. Those were what drove her to face up to all the hard work and effort that she put into to be the woman she wanted to be but now there are those who would take that away from her.
That which once formed the center of her life is now the hook that holds her in place and the rape machine is hard at work, discrediting her behind her back, labeling her crazy and difficult if she dares to object to the treatment she is receiving.
By now she will be being targeted by the worst of them, the ones who are not afraid to do more than touch and whisper. Sexual assault of varying degrees starts to take place while she is forced to silence. The diary entries for meetings with particular individuals are in fact appointments for degrading abuse.
She is forced to get up in the morning and make herself look as attractive as possible for her abuser. Surrounded by people who she knows either do not know or do not care she is then forced to go smiling to her own violation. People can see she is scared but depart upon her arrival to leave her alone with the man who has decided she exists for his whim.
She is then essentially raped, and the experience teaches her that she is nothing, the pain cutting deep into her body and soul. Later walking out with the smile that remains the only shield available to her she endures the knowing looks of those who knew all too well what her fate was to be.
At home when the night has fallen, she nurses her injuries and distress alone in her room while she looks into the mirror to see that the girl who had her dreams and her love of life are dead.
Everything she has ever dreamed and done is now inexorably linked to her degrading violation. She now faces a future where to pursue her career puts her at severe risk of further violation. She will even be forced to take smiling pictures with her abuser. Her past and her future are now stained with the reality of the choice her abuser made.
In the alternative she can complain. In doing so she loses her ability to work as she is now tainted goods and blacklisted. She is abused publicly and called a slut. She is told she is privileged and not a worthy victim. She is told she is attention seeking and trying to push her career. Media spray the lurid details across the globe and her violation is picked apart and argued over. When her name is typed into a search engine she is presented with screens of links all focused on her abuse and little if nothing of her work.
Enablers attack her in any way they can, undermining her reputation, threatening her with social services and making abusive calls. Parasites swarm seeking to take advantage financially or sexually. Her privacy is gone and many of her friends and, in some cases, family have shunned her.
She then has to watch her abuser being lauded by his enablers and fans and those who are more concerned with their bottom line. He is portrayed as the victim as he goes on to achieve his life goals while married to an attractive wife and the trappings of a wealthy celebrity lifestyle at his disposal.
Those who are supposed to protect her interests turn their backs and betrayal stalks her at every turn. This is what it means to be a Silence Breaker.