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Dec 01

Turn the Pain into Power.

2017 has been a rollercoaster of a year with so many disturbing events have unfolded resulting in amazing events occurring. One could not happen without the other. I have so many topics to discuss but I shall start from the beginning and some I may leave for another blog.

 

Earlier this year, after a friend read my first ever WYR blog and after I had been told to turn the pain of past life events into power, I decided to write my own story into a feature length film. Something I was extremely apprehensive about to say the least. As I started the journey I felt like Robin Williams character Peter from Hook. Peter could no longer remember his past life, he was so wrapped up in being an adult and having adult responsibilities that he had neglected to remember his past. With a lot of help from his Lost Boy friends and Tinker bell the floodgates opened and his memory came rushing back to him. Like Peter I had forgotten about my assault, I had pushed it down to the back of my memory hoping that the memory trapdoor would open and it would be the

first memory to fall out.

 

Alas, as I started to write the film it was only a matter of time that the memory floodgate opened and the tidal wave of emotion and words spilled onto the page. Page after page, hour after hour I started writing the story as if I had only experienced the event a few days prior. It was as if no time at all had past, it was as fresh as it had ever been.

 

As I threw myself into the work I paused for a moment to go and collect the police and hospital reports (all of which I still have in a box buried in my room, unable to part with it, as if I cannot bear to break the link of connection to the event and the truth). I came back into the office with documents, detailed accounts that I had written up, diaries detailing the events, conversations and times I had documented. I looked at a document I had written up, a conversation I had with the police officers. I compared it to what I had written in the script and as I did a double take and looked at the words again and again, I couldn’t believe that after ten years I could still remember word for word what had been told to me the day the police closed my case. I was dumbfounded. The memory I wanted to be the first to leave through the trapdoor in my brain wasn’t going anywhere. I took a break and looked through more of the reports, notes and details. Everything was so clearly accurate that chills ran down my spine.

 

When I was living this I all those years ago I felt so trapped, trapped by my own insecurities. I had three people, including the girl I was with telling me that it was fine, telling me that it was normal, telling me to even forget about what had happened. The thing is, I didn’t know what had happened. Now because I had no memory of what had happened it sent me into severe meltdown mode, as if what had happened to me was all my fault and that it was “normal”, but I knew it wasn’t normal. I had some serious self doubt issues. Did it even happen? Was it even rape?

 

I remember I sent the guy who had assaulted me message after message on Facebook after I had finally tracked him down. Seeing his smug little face on the screen so soon after the assault, smiling back at me, made me question myself yet again. I remember I became obsessed with emailing him, I wanted to meet him, hear his side of the story; I needed to hear what had happened from his mouth. It felt like I was suffering from some kind of bizarre Stockholm syndrome where I needed to just have this guys reassurance and for him to tell me that what had happened was OK. Emailing him over and over again gave me a release that at the time I needed, like a weird therapy session, yet I wasn’t getting any feedback from him. This guy of course never responded, which I’m glad he didn’t, I felt like an onion shedding layers and I felt relief every time a layer fell to the cutting board. Eventually I didn’t feel the need to bombard him with emails anymore and looking back it makes me cringe that I even did, but alas at the time it was a much-needed release for me.

 

As I continued to write the script it made me want to hug my twenty three year old self, the woman who never gave up and really pushed for the truth. I continued to cross-reference and continued to be amazed at how words and actions get imprinted in our bodies. It took me three weeks to write the first draft and it felt like I had just off loaded and got rid of so much shot that was still lingering around subconsciously in my being.

 

As I set to work doing re-writes and working with the director to make the script as tight as possible, people would ask me why was I writing this, why was I drudging this up, why tell this story? It did not take me long at all to respond. After reading blogs and writing for the WYR blog I have come to realize that our stories are all the same. They are different of course but we each feel the same, we all go through the same grieving process, the same anger, denial, humiliation, guilt ridden, and light at the end of the tunnel process. This isn’t about me anymore, it’s not just my story, it is about all of our stories.

 

After months of editing and getting the script as ready as it can be at this point the director and I decided to make a proof of concept to show people and future investors what we are doing and why. The day I launched a very small Indie GoGo campaign intended for family and close friends was the day Harvey Weinstein got exposed for his years of abuse toward women in Hollywood. My mind was blowing and I became obsessed with seeing all of this unfold, it was time for women to stop being scared or be made to feel scared about speaking up. It empowered me so much and it confirmed why the film that I am writing is so important to get told.

 

Women’s voices have been repressed for so long and now our voices are starting to be heard and taken seriously. The #MeToo wave has been sparking a lot of motion too, which it surprises me that it has taken this long to come to the surface but at the same time I am not surprised in the slightest. That’s another blog at another time; there is so much to say on that matter.

 

As I start going into pre-production for the full length feature, which is currently called FATEFUL, I have realized that it is OK for us to be Peter’s from Hook, move on, have lives and “forget” the past, because the reality is, it will always be there, it is part of our body, our make up, everything that happens to us is. I would always get scared about forgetting about it because I felt like it meant that it didn’t happen and that the three people involved were right, it didn’t happen. However it was such an important and life changing event for me, that there is no way of forgetting however had I try. The trapdoor isn’t going to open no matter how far we bury it and I feel like that’s important. It makes us better people, it helps us make better choices, better decisions. There is no way in a million years I would hang out with a woman who made me doubt myself, never ever again. I will never again let anyone try to deny me the truth.

 

I read a post on the WYR site recently by Julia Piedmont and it really rung true, only we have the ability to help ourselves, only us. I have chosen to write this film and get it out there because I choose to help others in doing so. I am choosing to have my voice heard and hopefully in the process allow others to raise their voices too.

About the author

Lindsay Lucas-Bartlett

Lindsay is a British actress currently living in Los Angeles. It was during her time at drama school in London back in 2007 when Lindsay got date raped. After six years of therapy, travelling the globe to get away from London, Lindsay settled in LA where she has been for the past five years. Now happily married with a furry baby of a dog, Lindsay has started her next journey into helping others.

Lindsay joined forces this year with VDAY to help bring awareness of sexual and physical violence across the globe that is inflicted on women everyday. Lindsay produced and performed in The Vagina Monologues for the 2015 event and raised over $7,000 for Peace Over Violence, an organization that helps bring this awareness to larger audiences.

Permanent link to this article: http://whenyoureready.org/turn-the-pain-into-power/