Aug 182014

Wanna know how to get me upset?

Wanna know how to piss of a victim of abuse? Wait until another person goes public about their abuse, and then suggest that they’re just doing it for money for fame.

BSI don’t think people grasp the concept that not everyone wants to be famous. Not everyone is looking for that 15 minutes. Some people just want to be heard. They want justice. They want to right a few wrongs.

Everytime I see a new person who is being investigated, for just a minute, I’m so happy that others are following in my footsteps, and are taking on the high profile untouchables. But that joy doesn’t last very long, because it only takes a few minutes for the doubters to come out. All the people who think the only reason a person would ever speak up is because they want to be the next Kim Kardashian, or they want to pad their bank accounts.

Except for me, I can’t recall the last public figure who actually named another public figure, and then went to court. Corey Feldman spoke up about the industry, but didn’t name specific people. There’s a few others in the US who have spoken up, but unfortunately, the US has a statue of limitations. If a person doesn’t press charges pretty quick, then it just becomes slander if they name someone. Over here, people will speak up to let others know it’s happened, or is still happening. I have spoken to several other former kid actors over here in the US who have been through abuse. Some spoke up, some didn’t. They all know how terribly hard it is to live with, being judged. Every little thing you say will be over analyzed, picked apart, recorded, and then, if you’re lucky enough to make it to court, it can and will be used against you. Ever drunk tweeted Simon Cowell? Well, you can bet your arse that will come up in court. Ever said you thought a certain party would be fun to attend? Oh, you must be making up a story of abuse so that you can hob nob with the other actors then.

Most public figures simply don’t say anything. They don’t want to get involved. It’s messy. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t help your career. Not all publicity is good publicity. Corey has been steadily working for years. Not box office gold, but he’s still working. Think his going public about him and Haim being abused helped his career? Pfth. He copped so much shit after that, I’d be surprised if he ever talked about it again. Imagine trying to speak up and have Barbara tell you “You’re ruining an entire industry.” Think I helped my career by standing up? I was slowly finding my place in life. I was just getting my shit together. Then I went public. I couldn’t make a comeback to TV if I wanted to these days. No one would hire me. I was asked to do Celebrity Apprentice the first year, but my “minders” told me not to do it, because it would look bad if we went to court. Now it’s over, I won’t get anything either. There’s not a lot of work for people who speak up against their own. Right now, it’s “too soon” after court. Next year, I’ll be long forgotten.

As a public figure, you’re not supposed to talk about how hard the journey is, in case others who are thinking of speaking up hear you, and decide not to. There’s so much pressure to constantly say the right thing. Everyone is watching, waiting. So many people put demands on you. They’ll all use your name publicly, as if they’re right there with you, when in most cases, they haven’t checked in on you for months. When it’s over though, they all give you a pat on the back, publicly of course, then move on to the next cause. You’re left standing there, life in tatters, not knowing where to go, who your friends are, or what to do next. Can you do what you want now without people watching and speculating? If you decide to go back to TV, will it be used against you in an appeal? Will people come out and think, well, she must have been planning this all along? Or do you just go crawl back under the rock you were dragged out from? Give up on everything?  Some days that seems much easier.

So if it’s that hard for people who are used to the public scrutiny, I can’t imagine what it would be like for a non public person. Funny though, with all these people pointing foul, and claiming anyone speaking up must be doing it for fame or money, I couldn’t name a single person off the top of my head who has spoken up against Robert, Rolf, Jimmy, Max or now Cliff. Can you? Do you know who any of these people are? There are literally hundreds of people who went to police about Jimmy Saville. Hundreds. Can you name any of them? What about Rolf? What about Robert? Do you even know how many people were involved in the Robert investigation? Think it was just the five that went to court? Nope. That’s just the ones who had enough evidence the police could lay charges. There was more. Many more of us. But apart from his niece, who didn’t get charges laid, do you know who any of them are? Do you think we somehow all came out of this four year ordeal better off? Are we now all rich and famous? Are we driving around in Bentleys, on our way to the Yacht Club? Are we drinking with the hipsters in Ibiza? Am I back in Oz, working on a TV show? Better still, did I manage to convert my infamy in Oz to a career in Hollywood? Yeah, cause that’s just what a producer here is looking for…. A has been child star from a foreign country who pressed charges against her on screen dad, while implicating her producer and network. Gosh, I have no idea why I don’t have people from Hollywood offering me stacks of cash for  a reality show. – Yes, that was sarcasm. (Which you’ll learn you need to point out for when your blog posts come up in court)

What about any of the other cases? Are any of those people better off? Have they made a wad of cash? Are they on Oprah? Or DWTS? Or anything?

No. Nobody presses charges against a celebrity for sexual abuse to better themselves. At least not financially. It certainly doesn’t help with your street cred either. It just makes people uncomfortable. Nobody knows what to say in front of you. People at work will be paranoid that you’re now the sexual harassment lawsuit girl. People will think you magically got a bunch of money. Not sure where from. I didn’t get any victims of crime money. The govt slashed it while the police were investigating. Robert’s lawyer made a big deal about spreading the rumor that his client was bankrupt. (Of course, he’s still got enough for an appeal though) Not that I could sue anyway. While there’s no statute for criminal charges, one for a civil suit passed well before we went public. We can have the dates waived with a court order, but after being through court once, I doubt most people have the energy left to fight again. I know I don’t. I do hope all the girls in the Rolf Harris case can band together for strength and follow through on their case for compensation. They probably won’t get much after lawyers fees, etc, but hopefully it’s enough they can pay for counseling, or at least a time out to de-stress from the court proceedings.

I know I’m rambling on at this point. I guess all I really want to say is, before you open your mouth and declare that someone must be getting unfairly targeted for being a singer, actor, sportsperson or whatever, stop and think. Do you even know who the victim is? Do you know anything about them at all? Do you have any idea of what they’ve been through, or what it must be like for them to now be speaking up? Do you really think there’s anything to be gained by them pressing charges? Most importantly, when you open your mouth with your doubts, who else are you hurting? Are you questioning your own loved ones? Would they have told you something that was happening to them, but now won’t, because they think that you’ll think they’re just making it up? Are you passing judgement on a friend who may have been through abuse, but hasn’t shared that with you?

When you declare someone must be doing it for fame or fortune, it says a lot more about you than about the victim. It says that it’s something that you’d consider doing. That whole thing about robbers being worried about being robbed, or hitmen being killed, cheaters being cheated on, etc…

Most of us just want to stop the pain. We want to make it right. We want an apology. We didn’t make a consensual sex tape that “accidentally got leaked”. We were abused, against our will. We’ve already been stripped bare and had our emotions played with. We don’t need it again while already going through a shitty experience. Don’t be that person who pokes someone who’s already on a ledge.

 

 

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Sentencing

Posted by Sarah on May 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm Australia, child abuse, hey dad sex scandal 7 Responses »
May 152014

What will he get?

I’m sitting on my couch in my RV, watching a show on E! about how celebrities cover up scandals. It’s showing how if you’ve got enough money, you can cover up almost anything, which I’ve seen first hand. More scary though, is how even after the scandals are exposed, people forgive them because, well, they’re famous. Look at Roman Polanski, OJ Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson. All violent offenders, and yet, still fawned over. How many people need to say they were molested by Michael Jackson before someone is believed? How many pedophiles are running around Hollywood, molesting kids, and nobody will talk about it? When people like Corey Feldman talk, they’ve got people like Barbara Walters accusing him of ruining an entire industry. Yeah Babs, go ahead and blame the victim. I’m so glad she’s retiring.

I’m pretty lucky I was given the opportunity to speak out. I didn’t want to when I was first asked. I had long left the industry, and didn’t want to be dredging up old shit. But when one of the kids in my class had an incident, it made me so mad. It was like all the rage I had buried came flooding back to the surface. When Stephen contacted me again, I knew I had to talk. People who are still working aren’t going to talk. It’s a career killer. I didn’t have a career, so I didn’t have anything to lose. Or so I thought…

Im not going to sugar coat it. The last 4 years have been tough. First, I had to think about everything I had tried to forget. I had to deal with the emotions of seeing all the people from the past again. Of seeing people who let it happen as a kid because they liked working suddenly popping up wanting to say something now like they care. Or worse, saying “Oh I had no idea.”

I feel bad for people who had to deal with me over those 4 years. Poor Stephen copped a lot of shit from me. Many days I resented him for bringing all this up. He was always super brutally honest with me, and some days I just wasn’t up for it. Sorry Stephen…. I am grateful to you, please know that.

The other thing I am grateful for, is that since my case has been so public, I know, or at least I really hope, that nobody will ever let Robert near their kids again. In Texas, Robert would be put on a publicly accessible sex offender registry. Anyone who cared to see if there was an offender near them would see his name, face and charges.  I feel bad for people in Australia who don’t get to know what kinds of creepers live next door.

I was so happy to help Derryn with his Megan’s Law campaign. I would desperately like to see a public sex offender registry implemented in Australia. I think it very fitting that the day after Robert is sentenced, Derryn will be starting his Walk For Justice.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/protect-our-children3.html

Here is Derryn’s schedule for his walk, in case you’d like to join him.

Day One: Saturday, May 17th
Start: 7.30a.m. Langi Kal Kal Prison gates, Langi Kal Kal Rd, Trawalla.
Finish: 9.30 a.m. National Highway A8 at Blackbottom Road.
Start: 3.30p.m. National Highway A8 at Blackbottom Road.
Finish:5.30p.m. National Highway A8, Burrambeet Road, Burrambeet.

Day Two: Sunday, May 18th
Start:  7.30a.m.   National Highway A8, Burrambeet Road.
Finish: 9.30 a.m.  Remembrance Drive  C805 at White’s Road.
Start: 3.30p.m. Remembrance Drive at White’s Road.
Finish: 5.30p.m. Sturt Street  & Pleasant St, Ballarat.

Day Three: Monday, May 19th
Start: 7.30a.m. Sturt St.  & Pleasant St, Ballarat.
Finish: 9.30 a.m.  Victoria St. & Boundary Rd, Ballarat.
Start: 3.30p.m. Victoria St. & Boundary Rd., Ballarat.
Finish: 5.30p.m. Lesters Rd  & Triggs Rd, Bungaree.

Day Four: Tuesday, May 20th
Start: 7.30a.m. Lesters Rd & Triggs Rd, Bungaree.
Finish: 9.30a.m. Main St. & Old Western Hwy, Gordon.
Start: 3.30p.m. Main St. & Old Western Hwy, Gordon.
Finish: 5.30p.m. Old Melbourne Rd and Old Geelong Rd. Crossroads Trading.

Day Five: Wednesday, May 21st
Start: 7.30a.m. Old Melbourne Rd and Old Geelong Rd.
Finish: 9.30a.m. Ingliston Rd & Ingliston-Settlement Rd.
Start: 3.30p.m. Ingliston Rd & Ingliston-Settlement Rd.
Finish: 5.30p.m. Ironbark Rd and McCormack Rd.

Day Six: Thursday, May 22nd
Start: 7.30a.m. Ironbark Rd and McCormack Rd.
Finish: 9.30a.m. Avenue Motel, 272 Main St. Bacchus Marsh
Start: 3.30p.m. Avenue Motel, 272 Main St. Bacchus Marsh
Finish: 5.30p.m. High St & Bulman’s Rd, Melton.

Day Seven: Friday, May 23rd
Start: 7.30a.m. High St & Bulman’s Rd, Melton.
Finish: 9.30a.m. Melton Hwy & Leakes Rd.
Start: 3.30p.m. Melton Hwy &Leakes Rd.
Finish: 5.30p.m. Melton Hwy & King’s Rd. Sydenham.

Day Eight: Saturday, May 24th
Start: 7.30a.m. Melton Hwy & King’s Rd. Sydenham.
Finish: 9.30a.m. Keilor Park Drive (BP) & Fullarton Rd. Keilor
Start: 3.30p.m. Keilor Park Drive (BP) & Fullarton Rd. Keilor
Finish:5.30p.m.St.Monica’s Church, Mount Alexander Rd, Essendon.

Day Nine: Sunday, May 25th
Start: 7.30a.m. St. Monica’s Church, Mount Alexander Rd, Essendon.
Finish: 8.30a.m. Sydney Rd & Victoria St., Brunswick.

Day Ten: Monday, May 26th
Start: 10.30a.m. Sydney Rd &Victoria St., Brunswick.
Finish:12.20p.m. Parliament House, Spring St., MELBOURNE!

I’ll be interested to see what Judge Zahra gives Robert. He can only sentence him based on what he would have received back in the day. I know it will be a dreadfully small sentence. Hopefully it will point out just how far we have come, and how we’ve come to recognize that those old sentences just didn’t do justice to the crime at all.

Whatever the outcome, I think there are many girls sitting at home, grateful we’ve made it this far. Grateful we were finally listened to, that he was charged. We are stronger for having faced him. Court was brutal, but we made it through. We can make it through anything after that.

 

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Or better put, Friends who are Formers

I had a little rant yesterday about faux friends, but it’s not all bad. I have been lucky enough over the last few years to make some really good friends.

It’s kinda weird being an expat. You have a completely different background to other people. There may be some common ground as an adult, and you may learn about the locals culture, but you never lived it, so it will always be different.

It’s kinda the same thing with being a child actor. You had a completely different experience growing up to everyone else. Lots of former kid stars leave the industry and end up with regular jobs, but they don’t share that bond with other people of regular childhood experiences.

I get a double whammy of not growing up in the US, and even in Oz, I didn’t have the normal childhood experience. I have been lucky however to find other Expats to share time with, and even more exciting, other former child stars.

There’s not a lot of child actors in Australia. Maybe the kids from Secret Valley, Henderson Kids, Home & Away, but most are older, not young kids. Kate Ritchie, Rebecca Smart and Jamie Croft were about the only kids my age actively working when I was a kid. The kids in the US are lucky that with so many TV stations, they had a bunch of kids to share experiences with.

The kids in the US are even luckier, because they have set up groups to help try and protect them, to support them, and to just let them know there’s people there for them. I first found A Minor Consideration a few years ago. It’s founded by Paul Peterson, who was a teen idol, and probably best known for his work on The Donna Reed Show. I had written him an email letting him know I thought what he was doing was awesome, and I wished we had that kind of group in Australia. Fast forward a couple of years, and I now have a bunch of the most incredible people I can call friends. Others who share the odd experience of growing up on TV. Some also share the experience of being abused while working on TV.

In the middle of the trial, when I thought my world was going to fall apart, I got this:

heartswithyou
These guys are amazing. When I first met them, they had no idea who I was. Nobody in the US has seen Hey Dad..! I never imagined they wold take me in as one of their own. Yet, they did. They sent me messages of support throughout the months leading up to the trial. I went to LA and met a bunch of them in person at a get together, where I was made to feel like part of  a community. It didn’t matter I was a foreigner. We all shared some strange bond of growing up in the limelight, and I had many of them thanking me for going public, and trying to take a stand for all the kids who had been abused in the industry. Unfortunately the US has a statute of limitations, and by the time some found their courage to talk, the time had passed. Others thankfully had wonderful experiences growing up in the industry, and it was good to hear those stories too.

I’m pretty damn excited that later this month I’m headed to LA for the weekend and I get to hang out with these guys again. I feel very lucky to have met such a wonderful group of people.

Paul Peterson is retiring soon, and some of us are going to try to fill his big shoes. I’ve suggested that after my incredible experience, we have an international division, which was greeted with a big yes. So if you’re another former kid star, or a current child actor or entertainer who needs someone to talk to, even if it’s via email, let us know. A Minor Consideration and it’s members have been the most amazing group, and some days, I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through this without them. These guys are not just other former child stars, they’re my heroes.

A Minor Consideration can be contacted via their website or on FaceBook 

A Minor Consideration isn’t just a social group. Paul and the others work tirelessly to help change laws to protect child entertainers. People think child stars have it all, but as my case has proved, sometimes they really need people to step up and help out.

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May 022014

Sentencing and Victim Impact statements

I was watching twitter last night, waiting to see details of what I would be missing in court. I’m back in Texas, and couldn’t attend the start of the sentencing. I had only written my Victim Impact Statement several hours before, and emailed it to the DPP. I had been putting it off. It was incredibly hard to write. Way more confronting than what I expected. I left me feeling raw and exposed. It was a big milestone for me though, because I actually asked one of the people in my office, a former police officer, if I should write it at all, and when he said yes, I took a deep breath and asked if he would help. I’m not good at asking for help. He knew how hard that was for me. He warned me that it was going to be tough, because this wasn’t so much about Robert, as it was a confession to myself. It was going to be hard admitting all those feelings on paper, to say that it has affected me. I’ve been good at hiding it and pretending everything is OK. I had to actually sit down and really think about the ways Robert has changed my life, and acknowledge it.

I only wrote 2.5 pages. My 1SG only had me change a couple words, and flip one sentence, and thought it was good. I didn’t show it to anyone else here though. I worried about it being read out in court. They all were, and while I was worried, I think afterwards I was glad people could see what an impact Robert has had on all of us. I was reading the live tweets. I was outside with Matt, and all he heard was, “Oh God”, and turned around to see a tear rolling down my eye. I read him the line from one of the other girls. santatweetIt says, “As a child, I never wanted Santa to come into my room at night to leave presents”

I think this may be one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I don’t believe in God, but I love Santa. To think a child was so terrified of people they didn’t even want Santa to come at Christmas is just fucking heartbreaking. I’m sure Robert is too arrogant to care that he broke little pieces off all of us, but I hope he was listening yesterday. I hope when he gets back to prison, he understand our words. I hope he comes to understand the meaning of No Means No, and what it’s like to be terrified of being assaulted by someone else who is higher up the food chain in prison.

I was watching the tweets, and Jodie told me “Very intense stuff. Lots of parallels between different victims’ statements re: effects and feelings”.  One man had such a profound effect on so many people. I wonder how many other girls he has destroyed. There were more of us. Some came forward and couldn’t get charges, some chose not to be a part of the process.  Some are still living in denial, because that’s easier for them. I won’t judge anyone. People have to deal with it the best way they know how.

While Robert wasn’t sentenced yesterday – he comes back on the 16th for the final sentencing, Max Clifford also went to court yesterday.

He was sentenced. He has been given eight years. Max’s charges were also historical, and much shorter than if he were to be charged for offenses now. It was interesting to read snippets of the statements that were given in his case too. I had stated that because of Robert, I could never go back to the industry. One of Max’s victims had similar sentiments: A woman who appeared as an extra in the James Bond film Octopussy had given up on pursuing her career after she was abused in the early 1980s, the court heard. “She aspired to be a stunt double in films but could not follow her dream after what happened to her,” Ms Cottage told the court.

Both sets of girls told of how they would never forget what happened, how they had been robbed of their innocence. How they had their happiness stolen from them. I’m glad that laws have changed, and that sentences are longer now. Victims have to live with it forever. Why should the bastards only get a couple of years?

I told Matt yesterday I just wanted this to all be over. I don’t want to wait another 2 weeks. He said it’s been 4 years, what’s another 2 weeks? I know in the long term, it won’t make much difference. Maybe it’s good, because now Robert has 2 weeks to sit in his cell and think about all the things we said. But I do look forward to when I don’t have to worry about seeing it on the news. When I don’t have to sit glued to my desk, watching it all unfold. I know I could just step back, but I can’t. I know that Robert will always have a part of my soul, but I’ll be glad when he no longer has a part of my daily dealings with life. I’m sure there’s a few of us that are looking forward to the 16th. I know he won’t get a long sentence. It’s all historical. I do hope they give him the maximums for those old sentences though. Maybe then, he can live the rest of his life being affected by us, they way we’ll all have to carry a piece of him to our graves.

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Apr 222014

Hollywood sex rings

0417-bryan-singer-face-blur-priest-instagram-6

Bryan Singer dressed as a priest. That’s not creepy at all…

I want to do more research on the Bryan Singer scandal, but I can’t read any of the sites that have comments. Same BS I got 4 years ago, with everyone saying the victim is only in it for fame or money. When will people learn that there’s absolutely nothing to gain financially or career wise by coming out as a victim of abuse? On what planet do people think that admitting you were molested could be “good for your brand”? It also doesn’t help anybody else who is thinking of disclosing, because they see all the hatred towards the victim, and they don’t want to have them directed at them.

I was finally moving on with life, and having fun with a hobby of filming my scuba diving. So when I was asked to talk about what happened on Hey Dad..! everyone jumped up and down saying I was making shit up to try to sell my scuba series. Nobody has been able to explain to me yet how coming out as a victim of abuse in Australia could possibly help me sell a scuba series to a network in America. Not one person.

Time and again, we see a person who publicly discloses get called a media whore or money grubber. Like Simone, Ben and I, they are all blacklisted. Look at the people in the US who have disclosed. They are all publicly discarded. Corey Feldman was hugely popular when I was a kid. He’s still trying his best to work, but now that he’s threatened to out some of the major pedo’s in Hollywood, he’s not exactly landing a bunch of roles is he? There’s are dozens of kids in Hollywood who have mentioned the problem, and they are all quietly pushed aside. If we’ve learned anything from my case, it’s that the studio doesn’t give a shit about kids, as long as they’re making money.

I wish people would realize that when someone has the courage to try to make a change, they find the balls to stand up and say No More, that they were taken seriously. Instead of having thousands of internet hero’s claim that said person is just trying to make a name for themselves, they would maybe step back, and see that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

There are LOTS of pedophiles in Hollywood. I hope that the kids there start to stand up and shout. I hope that the Hollywood entertainment reporters, as well as the serious reporters cover the issues. I am so grateful I was given the chance to tell my story. I hope that the kids in Hollywood are also given a chance to tell theirs. I hope that some of those high ranking scumbags are taken down. I hope they make studio sets a safer place for kids worldwide.

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Apr 142014

A Current Affair – Not just for ratings

There has been literally thousands of comments over the last few years on the coverage of our story about being molested by Robert Hughes. A lot of people have seen it for what it is, a great piece of investigative journalism, that has helped to expose the dirty secrets of the industry.  Throughout the last four years, A Current Affair and it’s staff have been nothing but gracious professionals. They’ve been polite, they’ve been diplomatic, and more importantly, they’ve been friends.

When the story first broke, other networks tried to get in on it. I refused to work with a network that had put me in a position to be continually molested, and so they took great pride in slamming me several times throughout the process. Then, they’d think I had forgotten and ask me to do another interview. I especially loved the hypocrisy of them saying “whatever they’re paying you, we’ll double it”… They never understood it wasn’t about money. I simply wasn’t going to work with a network that let me down as a child, and then slammed me every time I refused to work with them as a result. Here’s a tip network execs, if you want someone to work with you, don’t publicly slag them off.

This whole journey has never been about money. Something some networks just don’t understand. The team at Channel 9 has been amazing. Tracy Grimshaw, Ben Fordham & Pete Stefanovic have been great to talk to on camera. You have to be able to trust someone to talk to them on camera, and I never for a minute doubted any of them. Behind the scenes, ACA has some of the kindest, most wonderful producers and staff around.  (That’s you Stef and Grant) They literally held my hand, hugged me, and walked beside me through this whole process.

It saddens me when bitter trolls think that the only reason A Current Affair did this story, or continued with this story was because of the ongoing rivalry between 7 & 9 and think ACA just used it as a means to slam 7. I’m sure it was a great side effect that 9 could slam 7, but let’s face it, 7 deserves to be slammed…. However, what people don’t realize is there was much more to the story than just a dig at another network. People at ACA knew what was happening. They had heard accounts of abuse, and wanted to bring the story to light. They didn’t just cover the story, then disappear until it was over. They’ve stayed in touch over the years. (Unlike so many others) They were genuinely vested in the story. Ben McCormack was in court during the verdict, and called so I could hear it straight from him, while he was there.

I’ve got nothing but love and respect for the whole ACA team. In this episode, chronicling the journey of the last 4 years, they’re not grandstanding or gloating. They are genuinely happy and proud of what ACA has done. They’ve helped me find my courage and strength to bring my perpetrator to court, where he was found guilty. That’s a wonderful thing.

If you can watch this, and think that ACA is only about ratings, and not about justice, then it says a lot more about you than it does about them…

A Current Affair – A Predators Downfall

I think they deserve a medal for their work. Hopefully, they’re remembered at award season. ;-)

 

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Guilty

Posted by Sarah on April 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm Australia, hey dad sex scandal No Responses »
Apr 142014

Guilty in a court of law!

Hey_Dad_predator

Well, it’s been a very long time coming, but the jury has found Robert guilty on 10 counts.

It’s been a very difficult few years, and the trial was very emotionally draining. I started on Friday afternoon and finished on Wednesday afternoon on the stand. Even though I only had the one charge, I guess his lawyer focused on me, since I was the one who brought the situation public. In the end, it was worth it, because now he’s in prison, awaiting his sentencing.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone involved in the case. The members of Strike Force Ruskin, the DPPs office, the wonderful women who volunteer their time at the VWCCS. I’d like to thank the jury who really paid attention during the case, and asked questions, before making a decision.

I want to thank Ben and Simone for backing me up. I know the last four years have been hard for you, and now that it’s over, I hope the industry rewards you for being good people. Also to the other cast and crew who took the stand to give evidence.

I’d like to thank Steve Jackson and Woman’s Day for doing the original article, and I’m forever grateful to Tracy Grimshaw and Ben McCormack for all your investigative journalism and keeping with the story for four years. Also to all the production team, who worked so hard behind the scenes.

I know that my case was not unique; there are others out there in the industry who have been affected, and other predators are being protected. Hopefully though, now more people will have the courage to speak up. Don’t stay silent. You never know how many other people are in the same situation, and you also don’t know how many have already been to the police.

It’s been a long hard journey, but in the end, it was worth it.

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Should all pedophiles be named and shamed?

When I first went public, as in to the media, and not just people around me, I talked about the abuse, and I even said who it was, but the media chose not to name the perpetrator. This caused much controversy, and a lot of heated debate.

Many people believed I should name and shame or shut the fuck up. I was told that by not coming out with a name, I was damaging an entire show, that everyone who ever worked at seven was under suspicion. That I was irresponsible and damaging people’s lives and careers.

Corey Feldman is talking about his abuse. He wrote a book detailing his abuse, and what it was like growing up in Hollywood. He too is copping flack about not naming names. He originally put the names in his book, but the publisher decided to remove them, and his lawyers have advised he NOT publicly name them.

There are two reasons you don’t just run around naming alleged pedophiles.

Number one is the litigious aspect. If you can’t prove it, if you can’t afford better lawyers than them, if you don’t have people backing you up, you’re going to be sued and possibly charged with defamation. Not naming initially gives you a chance to have other people come forward, to corroborate your statement. When I went public, look at how many people came forward, not only as witnesses for me, but other victims. I knew there were others, but I didn’t know who they were. (I still don’t know who they are.) I wouldn’t have known where to direct police. I couldn’t have remembered every potential victim or witness. But by going public, I allowed others to say, Me Too! There’s also the very real threat of retaliation. If you go super public, and then you wind up dead in  a ditch somewhere, people are going to know you probably didn’t have an accident…

There’s lots of former child stars who suddenly end up dead outside a nightclub from an overdose when they start mumbling about abuse. I named my perpetrator  when it was legally safe to do so. Unfortunately for Corey, and other actors in the US, there’s a statute of limitations. He actually did talk to police back before it ran out. Their police chose to ignore it. – Sounds familiar…

The second reason, and this was actually the one that mattered to me:

When you talk about what happened to you in the industry, in general, without naming names, people do raise their heads and look around. People do start to look at everyone with suspicion. Parents start to wonder who is working with their children. This is NOT a bad thing. People who push their kids into the industry should be looking at everyone who works with their kids, and keeping their guard up. Parents should assume that the industry is NOT a safe place for kids.

Before I went public, everyone was worried about potential offenders. Once he was named, everyone just went back to their business, thinking OK, we know who that one person is. We’ll keep our kids away from him, and they’ll be safe.

No, they won’t. There’s way more than one pedophile in the business. By naming ONE person, all these parents have let their guard down, and are exposing their kids to potential harm. By not naming the offenders, Corey is letting people know that there are some seriously high ranking people in Hollywood who are dangerous predators, who are after your kids. Parents need to keep being vigilant, and not focus on just one person.

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Aug 092013

Mayumarri – a Magical Place

Back in March, I made a short trip home to Australia. It had been a while since I had been home, except for quick fly in fly out things that weren’t a lot of fun.

Australia didn’t feel like home anymore. It was a place where I had grown up, but I didn’t have the most normal childhood, or the most enjoyable one. When I moved to Texas, at first it felt foreign, but I started to feel at home. I started to let myself live my own life, where nobody knew my past. Nobody judged me as being some has been former child star. I was just Sarah.

Right as I was really starting to form a new life here, and I was slowly working on moving back to being comfortable with cameras, I had found a passion in making a new series, Going Down, I was contacted about coming back to Australia and talking about my old life.

At first I said no. I thought I was moving forward. I didn’t want to go back. A few months later, I was asked again. I said no, again.

Then I was teaching acting classes, and I had a mother ask me questions about the industry. There was an incident with her daughter. Hearing the story made me so mad. Matt said he had never seen me so angry. It was like every piece of anger and hurt that I had buried from my childhood came bubbling up, all at once.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to fix it. But this time when I was contacted about talking about my past, I thought even if I have to go back, even if it means letting down the facade of being “just Sarah” something had to be done. Somebody had to stand up and say something. Somebody had to be willing to stand up and tell people what the industry is really like.

Now, I really didn’t expect what happened next to happen. I had spent years in Australia being told I was a nobody now. Just another washed up has been former child star off some sucky sitcom from the 80′s.  I honestly thought it would be a miracle if anybody read the story. I hoped a couple stage parents might see it and think twice about letting their kids in the industry. I purposely didn’t name who it was, because I didn’t want it to be about me and him. I wanted it to be a story about what can happen to ANY child in the industry.

Well, I miscalculated. Apparently people read the story. Then all hell broke loose. It became bigger than me, and I wasn’t in control of it. All of a sudden there was people at my house, then I was on a flight to Australia. It all happened so fast. I was being pushed and pulled. I was once again being told what to do. It seemed like everyone was talking about it. It was on the news, in magazines, the in flight newscast. Basically, it was insane.

It also made Australia seem like a scary place again. Everybody there was judging me. They all knew who I was again, and everybody had an opinion. Most people didn’t have a nice one either. Everyone seemed to think I had some kind of ulterior motive; That I only spoke out to revive my career, or make some money. I’ve since noticed that happens anytime someone speaks out. Nobody wants to think that maybe there really are Pedophiles out there, and it’s easier to knock the victim, than admit bad things happen.

After all the media hoopla, and my life was completely changed, and I didn’t know who I was anymore, I thought about the few people who had actually taken my side during the ordeal.

There was Hetty Johnston and Bravehearts. There was several people behind the scenes. Then there was Liz Mullinar. She had been the casting director for Hey Dad, and she had been on TV several times to talk about what she knew.

I hadn’t seen or communicated with Liz since I was a teenager. But I felt the need to write everyone a letter and thank them for standing by me over the last two years.

I wrote to Liz, and she wrote back. She asked me if I would accept her invitation to come to Heal For Life. She knew how hard this journey was, and wanted to make sure I was going to be OK. I had read about Heal For Life. It seemed like an awesome place, and I had wished I was in Australia to attend it. There was several programs to choose from. Liz invited me to the private retreat, or the regular healing week. Something told me this was something I really needed to do. You know how the little voice inside you just screams sometimes? So, I worked out when I could get leave. I knew I had enough frequent flyer miles to do the trip. I just had to work out when there was a healing week and flights….

So in March I finally made it back to Australia. Funnily enough, it was the one week of the year that Liz wasn’t at Heal For Life. She was on a cruise with her sister, but it was still amazing.

My brother drove me up a long winding road out into the Hunter Valley. There was trees, and birds, and a whole lot of quiet. It was far away from the city, and any potential of anybody seeing me. I didn’t have to worry about any rogue photographers, or ending up in the paper.

Heal For Life was the most amazing thing I have ever done for myself. I arrived on Sunday afternoon, not knowing what to expect, and I left the following Friday as a completely different person.

Every morning we were greeted by kangaroos and wild birds. We got up and made breakfast, before starting our day of healing. There was a group of ten of us at that week. We were all apprehensive, and then we opened up. We realized we all had own own issues, and nobody else was going to judge us. It wasn’t like a group therapy session, where everyone spent an hour talking, and then had to go back to their normal life. This wasn’t like talking to a shrink, who just sits there and writes in a book, and doesn’t understand what you’re really going through.

All of the carers at Heal For Life are survivors themselves. They’ve been through the journey. They don’t judge, or give you a simple pat on the back and say “there, there, it’ll all be ok”. Instead, this was completely the opposite. You were encouraged to scream, shout, cry, talk, punch things. Do whatever you needed to do to let the pain out. We learnt about triggers, and what happens when we are triggered, and how to de-trigger. We learnt how what we went through as kids can affect our decisions as an adult.

I knew I was working stuff out when I decided to go swimming in the pond. Even though I scuba, I’m actually quite terrified of water. I’m fine with the air tank, once I’m under water, but fresh water, and being on the surface freak me out. By Wednesday, I was swimming around in the pond….

I’m not a crier, or an emotional person. I’ve always just pushed it all deep down inside. I learnt to cry at Heal For Life. I learnt to let my emotions out, instead of just bottling it all up. Even my masseuse has noticed the difference. I no longer have giant knots in my back.

When my brother picked me up, we had a long hard talk. We talked about things I never would have talked about before. And I was fine. I had already worked out so many issues, I could handle our conversation.

Before Heal For Life, I wasn’t sure if I could handle coming back to Australia again. Now I miss it. It feels like home again, like it no longer only holds bad memories. It also made me realize I was strong enough to get through the next year, and going to court. I know there will be bad days, but now I know how to respond to those moments, and move past them.

Heal For Life made me a better person. It made me strong, it made me happy again. I wish everyone who had been through some kind of childhood trauma could go there.

I can never thank Liz Mullinar enough for creating Heal For Life, and for inviting me to come down and experience it. It has completely changed my life.

I encourage anyone who needs to heal to look into attending a healing week. It seems scary, but it really will be an amazing thing to do for yourself.

www.healforlife.com.au

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Jan 122013

A chance for ALL our voices to be heard

I’m so happy that Julia Gillard is pressing on with the Royal Commission into child abuse. I’m so grateful for people like Detective Inspector Peter Fox who had the balls to go on television and talk about it when no-one else would. I’m grateful to all the people from all the different support groups that kept up the fight for all these years.

When I was asked to go public, I wasn’t sure about it. I was tired of seeing other kids in the industry falling to pieces after all they had been through. I knew I didn’t want any other kids to go through what I did. I was very fortunate that I was able to speak in magazines and on television about my abuse. I copped a lot of shit about it. Hell, people on the whirlpool forum are still bitching about me having gone on TV to talk about it. I’m glad I did it though. The last three years have changed me so much personally. Being able to talk about it, being able to let it go and not keep it inside anymore has changed my whole outlook on life. Sure, there were super hard days, there were days when I was so heavily criticized I wondered if I had done the right thing.

I was grateful I had started a discussion. I was happy that people were finally openly talking about abuse, even if they were bitching about me while doing it. The main point was, it was no longer a taboo subject.

My only sadness was when people commented that while it was great that I could talk about it, because I was given that platform where I could, what about all the other victims out there. The ones who weren’t famous enough to go on TV and talk about it. What about them? Would they ever be given that opportunity to speak? It’s true, it’s not fair that some people get the opportunity to be heard while other don’t.

Well, now they have. I’m so glad that EVERY victim of child abuse out there will be given the opportunity to tell their story. That we can all go forward, we can all add our piece. We can all seek a little bit of justice.

I hope that everyone uses this opportunity to be heard. I know it can be tough. It can be very scary to talk about your past. It can be horrific reliving it while talking about it. It can be soul baring. But it’s totally worth it. It might take a while for you to realize the difference the talking has made, but it will make a difference.

I urge all of you to take this opportunity to tell your story. Do it for yourself. Do it for the others before you, and do it for the others behind you. If we all stand up and talk about the past, hopefully the ones in the future won’t have to….

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