I don’t want to work with abusers.
I don’t want to glorify the art of people who hurt other people.
I don’t want to have to worry about sexual harassment in my workplace – even if my workplace is a blackbox and even if my work deals with violent or sexual content. Because it is, it does, and it will.
I don’t want to have to look the other way.
But I also want jobs. And I would like to be able to pay my rent. And I would like to take all the opportunities I can to further my career and my growth as an artist.
But I don’t want to work with abusers.
But I know that I will have to.
In the wake of the Profiles Theatre scandal this summer, I have been thinking a lot about the kinds of people I might have to work with in my life.
And I know I kind of already posted about this here, and part of me feels very repetitive but I have been and am still rocked by this and I need to give myself some space to process.
(If you haven’t been brought up to speed about this case, please take the time to read the above article.)
I first read about this incident and was horrified. I was enraged. How could this have happened for so long – TWENTY YEARS – so long – THE SPAN OF MY ENTIRE LIFETIME – so long without being noticed or discussed or addressed or fixed or squashed. I was so mad it made me sick. How could they let this happen, I thought?
The more and more I read, the sicker I became.
What would I have done? Would I have been able to speak up? What if it cost me my job, or even my career? What would I have done?
I don’t want to work with abusers. My principles on this are very clear. I do not support anyone who intentionally physically, sexually, or emotionally abuses someone else. But I am a twenty-one year old theatre student about to approach a world much, much bigger than me. I don’t really have a say. I mean, I do, but behind me there are probably hundreds of women who look just like I do and maybe are a little better about keeping their mouth shut. I am not great at keeping my mouth shut. Will there be times when I have to and everything inside me, including my moral compass, will disagree?
What the hell am I supposed to do?
This community currently faces a similar problem.
And I have watched my peers really grapple with how to stay present in a room that is inherently unsafe, and how to continue with their work without losing precious time but also how to be mindful of the fact that an abuser exists in their immediate presence.
This sh*t is hard.
I don’t have answers. I guess I hope that one day, I won’t have to worry. Hopefully the art I make will create an atmosphere in which I won’t even have to worry about working with people who are fundamentally disrespectful to other human beings.
But still. What if?