The Day I Was Sexually Assaulted By A Rock Star
It's a weird thing how a certain memory comes rushing back at you.
The emotion of the moment or even the smell.
For a moment this evening I was standing against the wall at a radio station in Columbia, Mo., in 1996.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, we have seen a new face every day with the wave of victims coming out, telling their stories for the first time in many cases.
One of those unexpected male victims that came out and of my favorite actors was telling his story to Michael Strahan on one of the television morning shows.
"Wait -- that happened to me," I thought as Terry Crews described feeling "emasculated," and "objectified."
I remembered feeling stupid and embarrassed in front the staff at the very first rock station I worked at in Missouri, Solid Rock 96.7 KCMQ.
I was on Cloud 9 right before it happened.
A new rock band that had a huge hit was in the studio and I got to talk to them on the air as my boss and program director, Debbie Wylde, conducted the interview.
Debbie always included the entire staff on the air I would learn, but in this moment it was my first with a band I really loved.
The band was Spacehog.
They were on top of the rock charts at the time with their one-hit-wonder masterpiece "In The Meantime."
It's a classic '90s song that we still play on KATS-FM to this day.
After the on-air interview we lined up for the usual radio station photos you get as a radio DJ. (That's why we're here a lot of us, the photos and the access to our favorite bands.)
Since I had the honor of holding a huge sign with the station logo, I raised it above our heads with both hands in the air.
At that moment as everyone else turned around for the photo, one of the members of the band, drummer Jonny Cragg, who had been chatting me up, groped me and took stock of what I was packing.
He was turned toward me and bent over, with his hand and arm completely in my pants.
I was in shock and horrified. I was 19 years old and hadn't experienced anything like this before.
I stood there holding the sign above everyone's head while he stood up and turned around and smiled for the picture.
Now as I sit here 20 years later and I hear this huge physical guy Terry Crews describe that same kind of moment, it all came back to me.
Sure I have mentioned the moment joking about it later in life, but today I remembered for the first time that humiliation at telling my co-workers later and having them laugh at me. I remember feeling stupid as they brushed it off and honestly, I am not sure any of them believed me.
But was I offended? Did I feel assaulted?
Like many of the people telling their stories, I felt confused.
Is this real life or am I dreaming? Did that guy really just grab my junk?
He was not making a pass at me, he was purposefully taking advantage of the situation. He did it because he could.
I don't feel the same anger that Terry Crews felt, but I also have the luxury of 20 years separating me from that moment.
Do I think these moments are on the same level of sexual assault as those by Harvey Weinstein? Of course not, that man was using the casting couch as a manipulative power tool. But just as Terry Crews explained, it's about changing the culture in America where this type of behavior isn't so prevalent.
I do consider myself lucky that I am not a female dealing with the constant barrage of misogyny and abuse of power they face just doing their jobs. However, with the moments like the ones I experienced in which us men are exposed to the overall aggressive and unsolicited attention from pervy douche bags that women face, I think it is important to speak up now.
I didn't get it before.
I get it now, ladies.
"People need to be held accountable," Crews said in his emotional statement to Strahan. "This is the deal about Hollywood. It's an abuse of power. This guy is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and he looked at me at the end as if to say, 'Who's going to believe you?'"
I hear you and I believe you, ladies, no matter how famous or what office the creep is running for or occupying.