Gemma’s Gem of the Week: Silence is Not Golden
TW: Trauma, Sexism, Sexual Harassment
In a society that constantly shames and victim-blames women for the assault, harassment, and traumas inflicted on them, it has become a normality to stay silent as a way to stay safe. I’ve been conversing with more and more women about the topic of sexual harassment, trauma, and abuse, and I noticed many commonalities. We are taught that there are consequences for speaking up.
So many people, myself included, have veered towards silence as the aftermath of many unpleasant, scary situations. In some cases, a lot of people have no choice in the moment. However, what needs to be discussed more is the complete and utter danger that silence teaches us; especially when learned from a young age.
Ever heard of the scenario: Boy teases and harasses Girl. Girl gets upset and tells Someone. Someone tells Girl, “it’s because he likes you!” Yeah…we need to delete this immediately.
The first time I was ever both physically and mentally sexually harassed, I was about 12-13 years old. When I approached my principal and counselors, I was laughed at. Some older kids even threatened to “beat me up” if I continued to run my mouth about it.
Due to the lack of support from this education system, the harassment was normalized, and only grew worse. I started mentally preparing myself for how I would have to handle it every day. I’d prepare to be followed to the bathroom, the stairwell, the bus, all while being called a “slut, whore, bitch, skank.” When I reached out for support, the responses would sound like:
“Are you sure? You could have been imagining that. I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. You know, it won’t look good to spread rumors. You’re being overdramatic.”
My public school taught me that speaking up meant inevitably being painted as the crazy one. I would be the overly emotional, over-dramatic girl who didn’t know what she was talking about. That “boys will be boys;” and that there were inherently consequences for speaking up against one. The lack of action and accountability are not only dangerous to a student’s well-being, but to their overall mentality of sexism and morals moving forward as they transition into young adulthood. Had this administration been more invested in the well-being of its students, many of these actions could have been prevented. Too often, we are told to “wait until it happens again”, or until things get to the worst point to even consider taking action.
To any previous or current students and anyone else who can relate to this article: Know that you’re not going through it alone. The actions of others do not define who you are as an individual. You are forever entitled to a safe space to feel heard and seen. And you are so worthy of healing.
Continuing to reach out to people who are creating safe spaces, such as professionals and therapists, along with those who have experienced similar, have been incredibly healing resources. If these options are not available to you right now, I will be attaching some links on alternate resources below.
I want to continue pushing for stronger, gender-inclusive education that can aid in preventing these experiences. I want people to understand the importance of our voices and healing through sharing our stories. We need to stick together so that we can be the change and support that never came in the times we needed it the most. I firmly believe that we can better educate and advocate for ourselves in ways that will create collective healing. Healing is absolutely possible, and we don’t have to be 100% healed in order for our progress to be valid.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
National Sexual Assault Online Chat: https://hotline.rainn.org/online
The Daily Shine Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-daily-shine/id1507425010
My View: “Because I Have A Story With Each And Every One Of You”…Richard Jay-Alexander
If you never heard of a restaurant/bar called Milady’s on Prince Street, you’ll know it now! That’s where Richard Jay-Alexander chose to celebrate his 70th Birthday and it was truly a WOWZA evening…the setting, the food, the peonies, the curated music PLAYLIST (assembled by longtime friend and assistant, Nellie Beavers), the craft cocktails and even a film crew (led by longtime pal, Brian Morgan) in the back, taping BRAVO-style “confessionals” with each guest, about the BIRTHDAY BOY. The guests in attendance ranged in age and interests, like a perfect jambalaya of an accomplished life. Even friends from his High School, in Solvay, NY! The most impressive part of who Richard is was quickly revealed in his post “blowing out the candles of his cake” moment when he looked around the room (clearly moved) and explained that the reason we were all there was, “because I have a story with each and every one of you.” Needless to say, there was much talent present throughout the room and plenty of legendary New Yorkers, raising a glass to a pretty special guy. In reality, it is he that entered into our lives and our stories and happily so. This is how you do it!
My View: It’s Richard Jay-Alexander’s Birthday!
If there’s anyone who deserves to be featured in TIMES SQUARE CHRONICLES, on this particular day, May 24, it would be this guy, Richard Jay-Alexander. Born in 1953, today he turns 70 years old, here in New York City. He has walked these city streets more than most, as he pursued and has enjoyed a 49 year career, working on Broadway, in most theaters, clubs and majestic musical institutions, such as Carnegie Hall and The MET. He’s touched many, many lives and has a passion for this business that continues to burn and just this past Sunday, he helmed a thrilling evening, celebrating BroadwayWorld.com‘s 20th Anniversary, at midtown’s historic Sony Hall. On the eve of his birthday, he attended his favorite Tuesday night happening, Susie Mosher’s The LINEUP at Birdland Theatre, and treated the audience to a couple stories, observations on this important birthday and then, with Billy Stritch at the piano, John Miller on Bass and Clint De Canon on drums, performed a moving and heartfelt (THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Richard clearly has a gift and a passion for the stage and for music and we are all the better for it, on the receiving end.
Happy Birthday, Young Man! Here’s to many more.
My View: A Glamorous Celebrity Filled Night With Lorna Dallas at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
It was a celebrity filled audience last night and the glamor of Manhattan Cabaret nightlife was in abundance for Lorna Dallas and her show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre titled “Glamorous Nights and Rainy Days
Ms. Dallas returned to New York City with a wonderful new show. This was Ms. Dallas’ first appearance in this town since she performed at the Bistro awards prior to the lockdown of 2020. The three years respite has done nothing to dim the luster of Ms Dallas’ exceptional instrument. She stayed in fine voice all evening long. But she is more than just an excellent vocalist. She is also a compelling actress. Her show, skillfully crafted by director Barry Kleinbort, and sensitively accompanied by one of this city’s best musical directors, Christopher Denny, was a joy from start to finish. The star studded audience at the Laurie Beechman theater responded heartily to every one of Lorna’s numbers. Evening high points ran the gamut, from standards like “I Have Dreamed,” to “When the Sun Comes Out;” from an hilarious “By Strauss” by the Gershwin’s to a dramatic “Silent Spring” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. She also premiered a new song written especially for her by Ann Hampton Callaway and Amanda McBroom, “In My Dreams,” which wowed the savvy New York crowd. Hopefully, Lorna Dallas will return to these shores on a more regular basis. Three years is too long a wait for this powerful soprano’s next appearance..
My View: David Yazbek and Norbert Leo Butz at 54 Below
Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award winning composer/writer/musician David Yazbek and his band were on the stage of 54 Below last night playing some of his new songs from an upcoming album. They also played some great music from the Yazbek songbook and from his Broadway musicals.
In addition to being an award winning composer and lyricist David Yazbek is a formidable pianist possessing a fearless technique generating an extraordinary combination of intoxicating melodious dissonance. . A highlight of the evening for me was when he displayed his unique harmonic and rhythmic pianistic concepts on the Great American Songbook Standard “Over The Rainbow”. Norbert Leo Butz also starred in the the 54 evening titled “David Yazbek and The Bludgeoneers” and he brought the house to it’s feet with the “Dirty Rotten Medley”
The Band: Javier Diaz (Percussion), Tony Orbach (Sax), Sam Sadigursky (Clarinet), Dean Sharenow (Drums), Chris Tordini (Bass), Paul Vercesi (Sax)
My View: Just Say “Gianni Sent Me”…Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks at Birdland
You don’t have to knock on the door and identify yourself to the bouncer looking through the peephole by saying “Joe sent me” the way revelers did during prohibition. That was how one gained entry to the nightclubs of the day serving alcohol and jazz music during the 1920’s. But otherwise the party atmosphere of those days are the same as Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks make the authentic sounds of that period come to life again in the Birdland Theater.
The band has Giordano’s library of 60,000 pre swing era arrangements, and his 11 musicians, using the instrumentation and paraphernalia of that time musically bring you“back to the future” or more accurately like the title of the Giordano documentary movie, “There’s a Future In The Past”. The two shows every Monday are always packed, but we got excellent seats and cocktails by saying…”Gianni sent me”.
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