Ali Bradley bravely shares her heart and soul to help just one person struggling with their #metoo
You may have seen or heard about the “me too movement” which encourages women and men to come forward with their stories of sexual assault and harassment to shed light on this problem.
It doesn’t make my job as a news anchor and journalist easy when I have to report the facts of something this tragic– but I strive to inform you of the good and bad, and to help people whenever and however possible.
My mom always told me, “be a voice for those who don’t have one,” but in a time when there is something horrible in the news, like the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and so many others hits close to home… Who would be my voice?
Drowning in shame and pain… Finally a light– a beacon of sorts, freeing me from the guilt I’ve been carrying for almost a decade.
I finally heard my voice through millions of women, in the form of two words… “Me too.”
That movement, giving me the strength to share my story of survival.
That story has been haunting me for 9 years.
9 years of flash backs, of tears… 9 years of carrying a weight too heavy to hold most of the time.
For 9 years, I made the weight easier to carry by simply ignoring what had happened to me, but never allowed myself to share the burden– always feeling like it was mine to bear.
Like I put myself in a position to be drugged and raped, because I was stupid enough to believe an audition with an academy award winning composer, was legitimate.
For 9 years, I have thought about what I could have done differently. I had done my research. Joseph Brooks was extremely credible with songs like “you light up my life” topping his list of accomplishments. An assistant, posed as my friend, and as a mother figure. She shared her personal life with me, even introducing me to her husband and her small children… She sucked me in and she gained my trust.
My gut told me it was too good to be true, but at 23 years old– I wasn’t listening to instincts, I was chasing after a what I thought was “huge movie role” and heading to New York City for the first time.
The only dress I had packed, was perfect in my mind. It was knee length, it was floral and it was classy — it was my great grandmother’s and I figured it would bring me good luck.
The audition was set in a low lit apartment in an extravagant part of town… A glass full of white wine awaited me and GG’s dress.
Now with every ounce of dignity shredded, the acclaimed composer had also literally shredded my identity—my driver’s license, My credit cards… everything was gone.
I was stuck in New York, weak, hopeless and ashamed.
When I finally made it home, I couldn’t find it within myself to tell the people I loved what had happened.
Not long after my time in New York, a brave woman came forward about her dark experiences with Joseph Brooks.
I too, was his victim.
I knew I couldn’t let her stand alone.
So, Through my pain, I stood in front of a room of strangers– a judge, lawyers, and police officers– sharing the horrifying details involving the man whom I knew right then and there– would always be part of my life.
In 2008 Joseph Brooks was indicted on 91 counts of sexual assault.
At least 11 women were lured into that Manhattan apartment… Under false pretenses– of stardom and hope.
In 2011 Before the case could make it to trial, Joseph brooks killed himself.
Shortly after, the assistant pleaded guilty to misdemeanor and criminal facilitation charges.
My nightmare wasn’t over though, it was just beginning.
With no closure, I stored those dark memories and feelings, deep within my soul.
I knew would never be the same.
But, through the ashes we rise… That pain, while still fresh and raw, is that of so many women.
So many women who have gone on in silence, feeling like it was their fault– Me too.
Feeling like you could have do something different– Me too.
Feeling like you should have been smarter– Me too.
Feeling like you couldn’t to keep living this life– Me too.
Wishing someone would have empowered you to rise above this horrendous reality– Me too.
So, If you are fighting your own battle– I am going to be that woman to empower you– and tell you, it’s not your fault. You couldn’t have done anything differently, you are smart, strong and you are needed right here on this earth.
No two stories are alike… And no one else’s story holds more weight than yours- sexual assault in any capacity is serious and devastating.
While what happened to me is constantly in the back of my mind, I didn’t want that to be what people saw when they looked at me. The decisions a horrible man made did not and will not define me.
By no means do I want you to take pity on me… That weakness I felt, I’ve turned into compassion for others. That silence that took me over became my strength in telling stories throughout my community.
Your story of survival is not who you are but regardless, it has helped shape us into the people we are– broken and scarred… But mighty and resilient.
You are a warrior– pick up your sword and shield and fight.
No matter how you share your story, even if it just writing it down to tear it up– trust me, I’ve been there a lot over the years… Whatever you choose to do is the correct thing– as you are in control of your life. You and you alone can make that decision.
By the grace of God I am here to share my experience — My family, friends, and colleagues have lifted me up and embraced me through my time of what I thought was weakness, when really, this has given me strength. I am so grateful for that.
After living feeling like a victim for nearly a decade– I finally feel like a survivor.
We can lift each other up– we can begin to heal together.
SO proud of my sister’s bravery and strength to share her story. I am amazed by her. We hope by sharing and reading this, it may have helped one person find strength even if they are not ready to share. As I watched her share her story I am in awe of her courage, and could not be more proud to be her big sister. Bringing light to anything in the dark is powerful, freeing and starts healing. I want to help her share, get support and help others. Thank you for reading and God Bless