When I received the emails, I could feel myself shrinking. Maybe my story wouldn’t even be needed and all this would blow over? One of the sheriffs even knew my family name and remembered my late father, who had been the sheriff’s real estate agent. I was also ready to be rid of the weight this experience — and all who piled on who I was attacked by — to cast the weight off me once and for all.Small towns, folks, are at closing ranks for one of their own. When Molly called me, shocked and relieved, to say that Clay had willingly gone on the record, I didn’t know what to think.People call me “brave” for speaking on the record about my “Me Too” story which spanned over a decade of my career. They reached through to Shine Squad (who protected my identity) to contact me. It was well before the #metoo movement hit its stride. The road of quiet suffering was fifteen years long.
Was I the author of the Shine Squad piece and could I talk? Coincidentally, I was about to get on a flight for meetings to the very city Molly was based in. A series of expletives quietly left my mouth as I considered the question.
“ comes back to haunt me.” Maybe it was time to stop running from the haunting. On calls with Monica Guzman (a journalist and co-founder of Seattle’s The Evergrey, and also one of my bridesmaids) and Sara Kiesler (a profoundly strategic political communicator and former journalist who I like to go out to vegan happy hour with), we talked about my options. In person, as in reputation, Molly seemed to be a skilled-yet-sensitive straight-shooter.
That I wrestled with the ethics of coming forward — would this story just be one that further demoralized our faith in humanity, in social change? Beneath a professional veneer, Molly looked horrified by my story.
At times, my eyes welled up, emotions surfaced as I recalled what I had experienced.
At the wise advice of Deanna Zandt of Shine Squad, I applied to the TIMES UP Legal Defense Fund for legal assistance. We talked about “swatting” and, out of an overabundance of precaution (and hearing a terrible story about a “me too” woman’s mother being swatted), I went to police departments where I or a close family member had properties in their jurisdictions.