Find your Ellen

A lot of people have asked how I made it through the last few years. Going public with my story was pretty tough, and there were days I wish I had never spoken up. I know many other people have gone through similar thoughts, after they found their voice, and decided to speak up.

I didn’t put it in the book, Allegedly, because I didn’t want the Negative Nancy’s, or certain people’s lawyers to try to twist my words, and claim that I was putting all this out there to get my own TV show. Yep, the lines of questioning in court has made me very careful about how or what I say things these days, because anything you say can and will be twisted to use against you in court.

However, I think it’s an important question. There are very dark days, and sometimes, you need something to get you through. Some people have religion. I’m an atheist, but I can absolutely see how having faith in a higher power is essential for some people. I can see that some people get great comfort from their belief in a God, and how they can talk to that person, and can find strength to get through the dark days. If you have a deity that brings you comfort, then power to you. Hold on to that.

I don’t believe in a God, although I was going to a Buddhist Temple for a while around the time I went public. I didn’t talk to Buddha, but I found great comfort in talking to my dog, Maya. The great thing about animals, well, dogs anyway, because cats are totally judgemental and aloof, is that dogs will listen to you all day long. They know when you’re sad, and will always be there to hug you and give you kisses, and let you cry it out, without talking back. It’s like talking to a God, except they’re right there, and you can pet them while you do it. Sadly, Maya died while the book was being published, and I grieved more for her than I ever have for any human. Dogs are special.

Sometimes you need more than just an ear though. You need someone to look up to. Someone you can aspire to be. Sometimes you need a hero. Someone who went through some serious shit and came out the other side a better person. For me, that was Ellen. ellen

We all look at Ellen DeGeneres today and see a super successful talk show host, and the voice of Dory, that’s happily married to Portia, and is essentially a bubblier, skinnier version of Oprah. But she wasn’t always the amazing Ellen.

Back in the day, Ellen had a sitcom, called Ellen. In 1997, she came out on an episode of Oprah as a lesbian, and then her character on Ellen came out as a lesbian. She was the first openly gay person playing a gay person on TV. This was back before people were open minded, and after a season, Ellen was cancelled. Nobody cares if you’re gay/lesbian/bi-sexual today, but back then, it was still shocking to people. Ellen was a pioneer. She came out and proud, but being the first, it was hard. She took a lot of hits. She has said that when she came out, she didn’t expect it to be as big a deal as it was, she just wanted to live her life as her authentic self. For a while, that was all anyone associated her with. She went back to stand up comedy, and then eventually, she got her own talk show. We all know and love Ellen these days, and I don’t think anyone thinks twice about her being a lesbian – except for the people who are now able to come out and be loud and proud about it, thanks to Ellen paving the way for them to do so.

On my hard days, I would think about how when I spoke up, I was one of the first to do so so openly in the Australian arena, and like Ellen, people weren’t quite ready for it. But I hoped that one day, I would be that pioneer that paved the way for all those behind me to speak up and give them a voice, and nobody would question those people like they did me. They would just be accepted. I also hoped that eventually, like Ellen, I would end up happy and successful, and I would no longer be associated with only that one subject.

It’ll probably still be a few years till people will feel comfortable with me being on TV doing anything except talking about that subject, but, I am happy now. So I’d like to thank Ellen for being my inspiration for the last few years. I hope all of you can find your own Ellen, and your happy place at the end of it all.

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Happy New Year!

Happy-New-Year-2016

It’s been quite a while since I posted up here. Even though I didn’t work a 9-5 last year, it was still pretty busy. I did a bunch of traveling, I did a lot of writing (just not here) and lots of cooking and eating. I finished 2015 with a bit of a nail biter, what with the appeal and all, but it was a good Christmas present when the judges denied it. I’m sure there were quite a few other girls who were also happy/relieved at that decision.

I’m excited about 2016. The project I spent much of last year working on is in it’s final stages, and soon I’ll be able to share it with you all. Matt and I are moving soon to the sunny shores of Florida. I start a 6 week crossfit challenge in a couple weeks to get me back into shape so I can enjoy all Florida has to offer. I’m looking forward to doing lots of scuba diving and paddle boarding and just riding a bike around. I’m pretty out of shape at the moment, so this will be a good kick in the pants.

There should be lots of travel coming up this year, besides the move. Last year we went to Italy and Greece, which were both amazing. This year we’ll probably do a lot of travel closer to home, but there should be a trip back to the motherland in there at some point. Hopefully it’s at a nice time of year…. You can follow along with me on my adventures on Twitter or Instagram.

So here’s to an eventful 2016. I hope that all of you are excited about the new year, whether you have big plans, or just enjoying the ride. Planning to do nothing can be enjoyable too.

Much love to all,

Sarah.

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Love Wins!

Gay Marriage now legal in all 50 States

lovewins

 

Congratulations America. I had woken up this morning to news of three separate terrorists attacks, and as I looked at the yellow countries affected on the map, which were all fairly close to Italy, where I’m about to head on vacation, I was starting to feel nervous. The online news showed me uncertainty in Greece, also on our travel list.

As I was watching the news, fearing more doom and gloom, as they talked about Obama heading to speak at the church in South Carolina that was attacked, the TV popped up with BREAKING NEWS, and finally, something good in the world.

The Supreme Court of the United States had finally reached a decision on Same Sex marriage. A country that claims to separate church and state, but usually doesn’t, finally had an epiphany, and listened to the majority of its constituents. They finally made Same Sex marriage legal in all 50 states. Congratulations America. I am very proud of you. You have joined other forward thinking countries in recognizing the rights of all people to love and marry.

Ok Australia, it’s your turn. Do me proud.

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Monica Lewinsky Ted Talk

Monica Lewinsky: The Price of Shame

If you haven’t seen the Monica Lewinsky Ted Talk yet, watch it here.

Most people just think of Monica as that intern that sucked a president’s dick. You don’t think of her as a person. As a real life, living breathing person, with feelings. Here, she makes you realize that not only is she a person, but a little bit of what she went through.

It brought me to tears.

She is absolutely right in her speech. “Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop.” People are so busy vilifying people online, but they’re not attempting to find a useful solution to situations. Even as recently as last week, with the John Laws drama. People called for him to be sacked, people called for him to be cast aside, but nobody looked at the bigger issue. Yes, Laws is a dinosaur, but honestly, even as a victim, there are times when I have no idea what to say to people. I have people share with me their abuse ALL the time, but sometimes, it’s in a situation you don’t expect, and it can throw you off guard. When you’re not expecting it, sometimes words fail you. Which is why I suggested sensitivity training. It’s probably something that ALL journalists and media people should do, because you just never know what someone will share with them. If it’s going to be live on air, they need to be prepared for it.

I think what really struck me about her interview is that I know what she went through. Certainly not on the scale she did. But, when I first went public about what happened to me, it was insane how I was attacked online. I had emails, tweets and blog comments telling me all kinds of awful things. The media dissected me. Talk shows discussed whether I was telling the truth, or if it was all a ploy to sell a scuba show. I woke up one morning to a morning show with a screen cut in four, as a bunch of people discussed my abuse. (Or lack of)

Maybe it’s hard for people to have empathy until they’ve been in such a situation. I know that I’ve certainly changed my habits over the last 5 years. I like to think I was always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but now, I really feel for people who have been the object of a lynch mob in the new media.

I hope you never have to go through what some people do. You can help by thinking before you tweet, text, comment or youtube your opinion. Remember, the person you’re dealing with, is a real live person, with feelings, just like you.

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Very angry

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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Moving!

House for sale in San Antonio

imageSo for years I’ve been fascinated by the tiny house movement. The last 2 years I’ve been living in a little Airstream during the week while deployed for work, and going home on weekends to San Antonio. Matt now has a job where he works from home, and can be anywhere in the South. So he decided to move down and be with me. We upgraded from my tiny vintage airstream to a giant 5th wheel. It’s not quite a “tiny house” but it’s pretty awesome. So now our house in San Antonio went on the market this week. So if you’re looking for a big house on the north east side of Spurs town, check it out. It’s halfway between Joint Base Fort Sam Houston and Randolph AFB, so it’s perfect if you’re PCSing here. We’re one block away from the immigration building, and you could walk or ride your bike to the RackSpace castle.

The house is in the city of Windcrest. It has it’s own police and fire departments, with an average response time of 90 seconds. – yep, we know from experience…

The 2,400 sq. ft house was built in 1984, but we’ve done a bunch of upgrades. We replaced the windows with super high efficiency ones. We cleaned out the old insulation in the roof and had bio-foam sprayed up there. We replaced the air conditioning units. We changed the pool equipment and now have a salt water pool. I really missed salt water pools from Australia, so Matt upgraded for me. It’s 12,000 gallons of backyard bliss. image 20 foot tall red tips all around ensure lots of privacy. We could skinny dip as much as we wanted and didn’t worry about anyone seeing us 😉imageDownstairs is a huge master bedroom with master bath. We just replaced the old tub and shower with a huge double rainfall shower. image image imageThere’s his and her walk in wardrobes and a separate toilet. All new lighting and faucets.

Open plan living area. image image   image   Large living area with a fireplace, peaked roof is almost 30′ high. Upstairs area opens onto lounge below. Super open and spacious. image Super huge kitchen. When we had parties you could fit 30 people in here mulling around. Open to lounge area, also has a wet bar area. Huge windows allow natural light in and a view of the side yard.  The AC unit is here. You can’t see it from inside. When we replaced the AC, we had them move it here. It used to be in the backyard, where you could hear it from the pool, and the bedroom. The new one is super quiet. Way nicer.imageAlso off the kitchen, headed to the backyard, is the laundry and a half bath. Great for when everyone is in the pool and you don’t want wet feet coming through the other back door. image image   There’s also a “dining room” downstairs, but since there’s room for a dining table in the kitchen, Matt has the front room set up as an office. I think it would make a great nursery if you have a baby.image   Upstairs is another large bedroom with walk in closet. image   Attached bathroom which has also been updated. There’s a bathtub in here if you like to soak. image Upstairs is a huge play area. It’s got a media area, with room for a giant screen tv, lounges, and we’ve got a pool table up there too. imageimage There’s a tonne of natural light throughout the house. It’s all very open plan, there’s no hallways. Its set way back from the road, and there’s an alley behind the house, which has access to a detached double garage with lots of storage space in a loft area above. image There’s an empty lot next door, which we own, and you can buy that too if you want to make sure you never have a neighbor on that side. It’s on a quiet circle, and we’re the house in the back corner with the pool. image   And here’s where we are in relation to the NE side of San Antonio image And all of San Antonio image So if you’re looking for a beautiful retreat in San Antonio, call  John Foster and tell him you want him to show you our house. Perfect for anyone working at Fort Sam Houston, Randolph AFB, RackSpace, DHS, or need a close drive to the airport. It’s been a wonderful home for us. I’ve actually lived there longer than any other house. We threw amazing parties there, it’s perfect for entertaining. We’re sad to leave such a beautiful home, but we know someone else will enjoy it as much as we did.

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What now?

Working out what I want to be when I grow up….

I’ve been getting lots of questions about what I’m going to do now that the case is over.

We all know I was an actor as a kid. We all know how that turned out… I didn’t hate acting, but I didn’t like the industry. There was lots of good people, but also plenty who knew what was going on, and chose to ignore it for the sake of their own paycheck. The industry is not glamorous. It’s not show play, or show fun, it’s show business. I think most people look at entertainers and all they see is the parties and red carpets, and the few bloated paychecks. I don’t think people realize the ridiculous hours, the hard physical labour, or that the rest of the cast and crew might be barely making minimum wage.

When I first moved to the US, I got an agent. Before Matt and I were ready to get married, I looked into getting back into the industry as a way of getting a visa so I could stay here, till we were ready to decide if we wanted to be together forever. It was the early 2000’s, and all the movies were teen flicks that involved lots of nudity or sex scenes. Neither of which I am interested in.

Matt and I got married, and I ditched the idea of acting. My few encounters on movie sets in the US made me think I never wanted to act again. Years later, I thought it might be fun to document my scuba diving fun. So we created Going Down. I had filmed some stuff, even gotten some sponsorships, and was planning a few places to dive, when I was contacted to go public about what happened to me on set. I had really enjoyed playing producer for Going Down. I loved setting up dives. I love contacting people, arranging a shoot. I got to meet awesome people. Matt sent me to the Travel Channel Academy so I could learn to shoot and edit with a little more style. I loved it so much, it made me think about returning to the industry.

Then I went public, and my life essentially shut down for the next 4 years. I couldn’t work on Going Down, because it was implied I was making it up to try to sell the show. – Still don’t know how coming out about abuse in Australia could possibly help me sell a travel show in the US…. But, for the sake of making sure there was no possible implication of impropriety, I shelved Going Down. I was also working as a social media consultant. That had to go too. I was told his lawyer made a fuss everytime I tweeted, Facebooked or blogged. Not knowing how long the investigation would last, or if there would be an eventual court case, it was hard to go get a full time job. How do you tell someone I want to work, but I may have to leave for a few weeks at some point to go to court.

I took out US citizenship. I had been so badly dissed by Australia, I never wanted to come home. Texas had embraced me, and I wanted to make it official between us. I was also worried if I had to come home for court, and who knew how long ti could take, I might lose my greencard. I’m now the proud owner of two passports.

At one point I got a call from Australia asking me if I’d like to do Celebrity Apprentice. It would have been a great time, but it’s wasn’t appropriate. Again, the fear of his lawyer accusing me of media whoring. Late last year I was thinking it might be easier to just come spend time in Australia, instead of waiting here. I had a friend who had asked the DWTS people about me being on there. We were told I was “tainted, and wouldn’t be good family viewing.” Like I was the one touching little kids….

bootsI joined the Texas State Guard a few years ago. It’s a weekend thing, but then I found a little known about operation, working in an intel office on the border. I’ve been doing that for over 2 years now, and I love it. I work with great people, have the easiest job, but I know it won’t last forever. It’s subject to yearly contract renewals. So now I’m starting to think, with all the excitement of the last few years over, and me now being able to go back to having a life, where I can do what I want, when I want, what do I want to do? What do I want to be when I grow up?

Do I want to stay in Intel? Do I want to go back to making Going Down? Do I want to return to the industry? Do I want to come back to Australia for a while and work? I’d love to spend some time in Oz so I could be an Aunt,  but realistically, I’d have to be working in the industry to afford to live in Sydney for just a few months of the year. Of course, I’d miss my husband and dog terribly if I was gone for months at a time…. Going back to acting,  movies fit the bill of a couple months work. When I see things like Russel Crowe making The Water Diviner, it tugs at me to go back to acting.  He makes movies look so pure, and so interesting to work on. So would working on a show like DWTS or Apprentice. Or hosting/judging a series. I think that would be awesomely fun, but I don’t think I’m qualified for any of those. I’m no Mel B. Acting on a long term show like H&A or Neighbours is way more work that I’d like to do, but a steady paycheck is hard to beat.

I think for now, I need a little more soul searching. If anyone was to offer me something, I’d certainly consider it. I’m not going to be actively searching for anything though. Not till I’m sure. I might decide since I’m happy at the moment, to just let it be. Or I might move to Florida and buy a bar on the beach.

Mon bikini shot ben

I hope Simone and Ben are getting lots of work offers. They know what they want to do. They want to act. Power to them. I truly hope the industry lets go of us being tainted, and see’s what incredible actors both of them are. I’ve loved Simone since she was in Secret Valley, I couldn’t believe she didn’t move to the US and become a mega star after her work in Shame. The office was blown away today by Ben’s performance in Caught Inside. Both of them should be having the phone’s ringing off the hook, begging them to be a part of some production. I wish the best to both of them, and I hope to see both of them on my screen soon.

 

 

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Do what’s right for you

Do what you know is right, and don’t listen to anyone else.

deep_depp

Everybody has an opinion. Whether they know the facts or not. Everyone will give it to you, whether you ask for it or not. If I had listened to all the naysayers, all the people who accused me of making shit up for my 15 minutes of fame, or a couple thousand dollars, I’d have never made it through. That’s not to say I didn’t read a lot of the stuff being said. But I learned to laugh at it. I learned that people are full of it, and while they can sit behind their computer and pretend to know everything, most have no idea of what you’ve been through, or what you’re going through now.

For all those who are trying to find their path, do what feels right. Don’t listen to the negative people. They’re just upset because you’re doing what they don’t have the balls to do themselves.

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Happy 2014

Happy New Year

I’m sitting here at work, watching the livestream of the morning news from Australia. It’s always fascinating watching the end of year recaps. Sometimes you forget how much has happened in one year. At first I was thinking I had had a very quiet year, certainly much more peaceful that 2010, when I actually made some of those end of year lists, but actually, I had a really good year.

On the 1st, I’ll have been at my job for two years. I really like my job, with the exception of being so far from home. But at least now I’m in a closer post, and I go home almost every weekend now, so it’s much better than my first location. We’ve got a great team right now, and we all get along.

I got to do quite a bit of travel this year. In March I went back to Australia to spend a week at Heal For Life. I used my airline points, and tried out business class on QANTAS on the way over. I had never gone on a long haul flight in first or business before, and it was real hard to go back to economy on the flight home. (Especially when gastro hit about 3 hours into the flight) Heal For Life was amazing, and it really changed my outlook for the rest of the year.

In September I again used some of my FF points and went to visit Giulia in Italy. Giulia was our exchange student in Texas in 1994, and I went to stay with her family for a week. I had an awesome time, but Matt didn’t go with me, and I missed him terribly. I won’t make the mistake of going somewhere romantic again without him….

Last month Matt was in LA for a few days on business, so I flew out for a couple days and got to have lunch with one of my personal heroes, Paul Peterson. He runs A Minor Consideration, which is a  group that helps current and former child stars. I’m really looking forward to doing more with the group next year. It was awesome meeting some of the other formers at lunch as well, and was made to feel super welcome by the group, even though I’m from another country. I can’t explain what it’s like to finally meet other people who share a life experience. I guess that’s what other people who have shared experiences bond over. I’ve never had that before, since there wasn’t really any other kids on TV in Australia when I was there. It’s so nice to have found a group that has first hand experience of all the ups and downs of growing up on TV. They are aware of what’s going on in Oz, and I’m super grateful to have them for support next year.

So we come to 2014. According to all the astrologers, it’s not supposed to be just any New Year. I know my first part of the year is going to be a big one.

After first speaking up four years ago, hopefully this will all come to an end this year, after court starts in February. So I’ll be making another long flight home sometime in the first quarter. I’ve got mixed emotions on it. I’m really not looking forward to the whole process, but I will be happy once it’s all over, and I can move on and put it all behind me. I hope the other girls also find some peace next year.

I’ll turn 37 this year. I’m looking forward to that too. I’ve always had this morbid feeling I’d die at 36, like my dad, so I’ll be happy when I get to 37. I’m going to make an effort this year to take better care of myself, both physically and emotionally. I need to shed a few pounds, and I’d like to start eating healthier and be able to run around the block without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack.

I’d like to do some more travel in 2014. After my trip to Australia, I’d like to take some time out for some R&R. Maybe do some relaxing on a beach, go diving again. I definitely see more spa visits in my future!

So that’s my year. I hope everyone else had a good 2013, and here’s wishing you an auspicious 2014.

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Slut Shaming or Common sense?

Why can’t we accept personal responsibility?

So there’s apparently a big uproar over an article that Mia Freedman wrote on her mamamia blog, with people claiming she’s victim blaming.
I read her article. I also read a lot of the responses. I think most people responding either didn’t read the article properly, or have reading comprehension issues. Mia did NOT blame victims who had been drinking. She did NOT say that drinking causes you to be raped. She at no point said that if you were raped while drunk, it was your fault. She simply said that getting wasted lowers your ability to make good judgements, it lowers your ability to fight off an attacker, it makes it more difficult to recognize when you may be in a potentially risky situation.
She did say that she would also teach her son about alcohol, and about how it could impair his ability to make good decisions.

We would all like to live in Utopia, where we are free to get drunk and parade around the streets at 2am, naked if we want. Yes, all parents should teach their sons not to rape. However, we don’t live in a perfect society. Yes, the majority of people are assaulted by people they know, while both parties are sober. Most attacks don’t involve alcohol.

This doesn’t mean however, that just because it’s not the majority case, or because it’s not the woman’s fault, that she can’t try to protect herself in the first place. Molested children learn quickly that the easiest way not to be molested, is to avoid the molester, or the situations where the molestation occurs. When people travel overseas, they know not to walk in dodgy areas late at night, in case they get mugged. When people go camping, they know to put the food up high, so it doesn’t attract predators. Soldiers learn basic hand to hand combat techniques, and then first aid, in case they get into an up close situation.

I wish that there wasn’t rapists and molesters. I wish we lived in a rosy happy place where bad things didn’t happen. However, I understand that we don’t live in that place. Just because the law says a man shouldn’t rape someone, doesn’t mean that I can walk around blindly, thinking that a law is going to protect me. It’s not. Because bad people don’t care about laws. So therefor, it’s up to me to do the best I can to protect myself. It doesn’t mean I won’t be overpowered, it doesn’t make me infallible, but it does mean I can at least try to protect myself. I’ll know that I tried. Ever noticed how many women learn self defense after they’ve been attacked? Why not take a class before?

Nobody wants to think that while they’re out having fun with their friends they’re going to be raped. But it happens. I’m not ok with it, but I accept it as a fact. What this means for me personally is that I only drink when I’m with Matt. If he’s not around, I don’t drink. – I have to drive, so I don’t want to get drunk anyway. I am more conservative in what I wear when I’m not with Matt. I don’t want strange guys leering at my breasts, so I don’t put them on display.  I don’t get why that’s such a difficult concept. Women complain men are looking at their boobs, but they’re wearing an outfit that puts it all on display. You don’t need to wear a burka, but if you don’t want people to look, don’t show them off. Sometimes I will have a scarf or a shawl, and if I wear a low v-neck, I can them use it to cover up my goods if I feel people are oggling too much. I’m not a fan of high heels, and it’s because they’re impractical. I want to be able to walk, or run, if I have to. Not just in case of rapists, but what if there’s a fire, or a terrorist attack? Or I just want to leave? Wear heels if you like, but they make those little slip on shoes that fit in your handbag. Most girls in Texas wear cowboy boots with their dresses, which is way more comfortable, and practical.

I can see that people are feeling defensive. I can see that people feel helpless. If you have been raped or molested, it in NOT your fault. This doesn’t mean that we can’t tell people though that there are things they can do to help protect themselves. We tell kids not to talk to strangers, we tell people to lock their doors, we tell people not to travel to warzones. We tell people if they’re traveling cross country to make sure they have enough water and petrol. Why can’t we tell women not to put themselves in a dangerous situation? Whether that’s by not walking in certain neighbourhoods late or night, or getting so drunk they can’t walk straight, what’s the difference? There are men out there who will take advantage of a drunk woman. No he shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. So it’s up to her to help avoid that situation.

I also found it interesting that the younger generation, those in their 20’s, are the more vocal about it being slut shaming. I get it, when I was in my 20’s, I thought the world should just be a more fair place. As I got older, I accepted that it wasn’t, as it seems a lot of the older readers have. I would like for you younger girls to be able to get drunk, flirt with men, and still get home safely. But, I have enough life experience to know that’s not the way the world works. It’s not your fault. It’s not. But you can still help yourself and accept that the world isn’t perfect, and take care of yourself.

I don’t get why people get so defensive when it comes to personal responsibility.

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