Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vanity Fair

I just finished reading the Vanity Fair article about Teri Hatcher‘s “Desperate Secret”: her sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, starting when she was 5 years old. Having read many tabloid and even journalistic attempts to convey the life-long torment and shame that sexual abuse saddles women with, I was fully expecting to be disappointed and even angered by endless euphemisms and incorrect statistics. I was pleasantly surprised to find neither, despite my misgivings of the sub-title and the cover photo of Teri looking a little scared and a lot vulnerable, wrapping a white sweater around herself and wearing white panties. Her's is a rare success story of sorts -- she testified at the trail of her abuser 35 years later, helping to convict him of abusing a 14 year-old girl from her home town in the Bay Area who had commited suicide.

The story was well-written and unsensational, painting as accurate a portrait of a survivor as I’ve read in a long time. You can read an extended excerpt of the article here.

I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Hatcher, although I enjoy her as the hapless Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives, and from the little I’ve seen of her in “real life”, she seems genuinely down-to-earth and thankful for a second chance as an actress over 40. Her about-to-be-published book, Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Lifeis a call for women not to settle for less.

She says, "It explains how to set better priorities, how not to be afraid of what you want and how to treat yourself better. How to avoid eating burnt toast, which is what, metaphorically, I watched my mother do.” Good advice if you ask me.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I, too, was nervous about this article so I am very relieved to hear that it's a good one.

    Welcome to your new digs, I look forward to seeing how it grows.

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  2. I wonder - why do victims feel shame? I know I did and it makes me so angry that I did.

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  3. Amazing that she had the strength to speak out against something so personal. I was also glad to hear that she has a lot of support within the Hollywood community.
    Love your new place!!!

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  4. I'm actually a Ms. Hatcher fan, even though I gave up on "Desperate Housewives" long ago. I do think she's incredibly brave and strong to share this with the public at large.

    And don't we all, victims or not, find ourselves at times having to fight through those feelings of "I'm shit. I'm not going anywhere."?

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  5. Yeah, I've noticed the flap about this too lately... I find her cover shot on VF highly annoying. But she's always making these goofy, high glamour faces every time she realizes the camera is on her... I happened to catch her on TV a lot recently and she's quite the ham, rather shamelessly so.

    I have to wonder what revealing her experience is all about. I know an ex-Hollywood PR guy and boy did he open my eyes as to how it all works. .. so I personally question at least part of her sincerity in outing herself.

    Apparently she just got seriously used/dumped by George Clooney... so maybe that's part of it all as well.

    I am embarrassed that I know so much about yet another Hollywood star... it's my secret fetish, I think... yikes...

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  6. I suppose I could take the cynical viewpoint and think she was talking about this to the media now to promote her book. Even if this is so, I still applaud what she did, coming forward as a witness in the trail of her uncle. I am talking about my past because I hope that it will help someone out there, someone who doesn't think they will ever feel whole again, or someone who doesn't have a way to handle the feelings or shame and guilt.

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  7. charlie's momMarch 14, 2006 at 5:45 AM

    I think it's great you are doing that Donna, and I appreciate Teri Hatcher doing it as well. I also appreciate the fact that she admits that she's over 40. I'm sick of this idea that vitality stops at 39.

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  8. Wow, Donna, this looks fantastic! I look forward to hanging out a lot here :-)

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  9. Yay. YOu finally got the new design up. I love it.

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  10. You know, I was just looking over that issue in the acu's office... I completely agree with you that it's good she tells her story regardless of her motivations (and she very well could have none but the best.) We all should. The less secrecy the better when it comes to this stuff, as I'm sure you know.

    Have you ever thought of starting a survivor's group? I've often thought of joining one for sexual abuse...

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  11. And I appreciate you sharing your story, by the way... and I look forward to listening to it.

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  12. I love the new look and title!

    I think it is good whenever people speak up about this kind of stuff, it makes it easier for those in the future to speak up sooner, and know it is not their fault.

    Of course Teri is using VF to promote her book. That's what people who write books do, look for good opportunuties to promote their work. It doesn't make the book any less sincere.

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  13. Dear Donna, I love your new design!

    As for Hatcher, I'm glad the article was good. (I'm always a bit late on the VF front because my issues take ages to get here.) VF sometimes has amazingly callous writing, but at other times I'm amazingly good. But don't even get me started on their covers.

    I'm glad she decided to speak out. I think the more is said about sexual abuse, the better. The taboo surrounding the issue makes it so much easier for the perpetrators to go on doing what they're doing.

    Since she was five? How utterly horrible.

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  14. Dear Donna, I love your new design!

    As for Hatcher, I'm glad the article was good. (I'm always a bit late on the VF front because my issues take ages to get here.) VF sometimes has amazingly callous writing, but at other times I'm amazingly good. But don't even get me started on their covers.

    I'm glad she decided to speak out. I think the more is said about sexual abuse, the better. The taboo surrounding the issue makes it so much easier for the perpetrators to go on doing what they're doing.

    Since she was five? How utterly horrible.

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  15. Donna,

    I'm stunned at how utterly beautiful your new digs are. Gorgeous! This suits you so nicely.

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