indi Blog

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A Change of Plans…

The past month has been a chaotic mess.The only thing holding me together at the seams is stress as a neat glue that presses my mind against my heart and somehow shuts up everything for the time being. Sticky, sticky glue.All I can think about is crawling into bed at my grandmother’s house in Buenos Aires, hearing the buses and the taxi cabs and the people walking past the building.  I want to fall asleep there, and wake up to the same, comforting sounds.

I want to forget about how much I hurt someone.  I want to forget how much someone hurt me. I want to go back a month and keep myself away from everything that would inevitably crash and burn.  We’d all like to go back in time, but the truly courageous route is the one ahead.  Dealing with the present and what’s to come, that’s real life.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, right after the events occurred.

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Tragedy is fuel for the artist.
 
It all began during a business trip.  I was hired by a local station to fly to Las Vegas to film, I would be one of the two hosts of the show for the Las Vegas episode.  You can imagine my excitement as I pictured the possibilities of getting to film this show, getting paid to go to Vegas and adding some great experience on to my resume.   We were also going to attend the Broadcasting Convention, and represent the channel, while doing research on some equipment that we need for filming.

 

I was also going to showcase INDI Apparel on every day of shooting, getting to wear a different piece each take, and advertising my line like crazy!
We all met Monday afternoon at the airport—my co-host, the manager of the station and the owner of the station.  I knew everyone except for the owner who is a wealthy entrepreneur from Mexico, and owning this Tucson TV station is yet another one of his proud acquisitions.  He introduced himself politely, cracked a few jokes and even offered to look into manufacturers for my line in Mexico.  Overall the quick one hour trip was full of excitement and chit chat, and all I could think of was how fortunate I was to have these opportunities in my life.
We got into Vegas early, but by the time we all had checked into our hotel rooms, gotten our rental car, met up with the owner’s nephew, etc it was too late to eat where we had planned. Then, someone suggests a place that has “great food” so we enter it into the GPS and drive towards our restaurant.
The restaurant we arrive in has a sign outside that says “gentleman’s club” outside and all I can do is let out a deep sigh.  How classy, I thought, and I turned to the four males sitting in the rental car and say “this place BETTER have food, I’m starving”.  As unprofessional and unnecessary as this was, I knew that this was not an uncommon tradition among some men and decided to go with the flow, eat my “dinner” and then if anything take a cab back to the hotel.
…and at first…
Everything seemed to be going smoothly. We get a VIP table, owner orders a bottle of black label and then hands me the menu and tells me to order whatever I want, which leads me to order almost the entire menu, and we all sit and chat as if we were sitting at any other restaurant.  Girls come at us in waves of glitter but get knocked down from an unanimous “we’re okay, thank you”. 
I don’t know if it was the fact that the bottle was starting to empty, or that the naked dancers were starting to hypnotize everyone’s genitals…but suddenly the girls stop being rejected and I suddenly find them sitting all around us.  At first it is just talking, and then I see that the owner wants a lap dance so his nephew suggests I “take a walk” because obviously I’m making everyone feel uncomfortable (including the strippers who told me they were avoiding our group out of respect for me which I found surprisingly considerate).  So I get up and go to the bathroom, text some friends about how awkward my business trip is getting…and come back to the table about 10 minutes later.  By that time the girls are gone.



Again, crisis averted, and it goes back to it being just us five, sitting around.  I feel everyone asking why my glass is full ( I don’t drink much, and much less when it’s whiskey) and my cohost comes to my rescue by saying how I don’t drink because I have one kidney.  Of course that night I was especially not drinking because there is just something discomforting about being in a strip club with 4 men that I really don’t know with the exception of my co-host who I trust very much and has proven to be a very respectable guy.  There was no way I was going to drink in this situation—my gut said it was just a disaster waiting to happen. 

 

And my gut was spot on. Next lap dance that came along had the owner asking me to go for a walk again.  This time, he decided to join me and we went to see what the rest of the club looked like.  First thing I spot is an incredible woman doing cirque du soleil type moves and I think, if I’m gonna have to sit here, I may as well be watching something cool like this. 
Shit hit the fan so fast. Girl walks up. Want a lap dance? He says yes. I get up to leave. He says sit down. I’m confused. He says I want you to dance for both of us. I say no. I tell her to not dance for me.  He puts her on me. He puts my hands on her breasts. I take them away. He puts my hands on her breasts again. I take them away again. He starts touching her and while I’m pinned to my chair by the both of them.  I say stop.  He grabs her breasts, her sides, her legs.  I say stop. He kisses her sides and squeezes tighter.  I say stop. He puts his hand on my thigh.  I throw his hand off. He puts his hand on my crotch.  I loose my cool, throw them both off of me and run away.
To summarize the story, I fly back home in the morning and decide to never work for them again. I am outraged. I feel nauseous. I feel disrespected.  I feel so worthless.  It was so degrading.  It could have been much worse but then again, it could have been an amazing business trip as well.  You never know what fate will bring by your door.
 
 
Filed the police report. Pressing charges.  How will this story end??
 
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It wasn’t the first time I felt uncomfortable and disrespected, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last either.  I’ve found my self in some scary situations like being surrounded by a circle of men yelling at me on a train in Paris, ready to basically beat and rape me.  I also recall being chased down the streets of Buenos Aires late at night trying to out run a gang.  Not to mention being attacked by two drunk men once in a parking lot in Tucson.
As frightening and traumatizing as these events have been, I feel like what happened to me in Vegas yesterday was such a slap in the face because this was not a strange man, this was someone I know, someone who knows my family members, and someone who should respect me.
Does this sound shocking to you?  I will tell you that If you are a girl reading this, I imagine you’ve been through uncomfortable situations like this before, that some of this may sound familiar and that this all may be more common than we tend to think.  If you are a man reading this please take note that I could be your sister, your daughter, your girlfriend, your wife, your mother or your friend.
Danger follows us everywhere. We are the sex that can be called emotional, irrational, provocative, bitchy, annoying, slutty, etc.  I could go on and on describing these stereotypes that seem to follow us everywhere but that we don’t always expect to find them in places that we always consider safe.
It’s taken me a long time to write this, and to tell you the truth, I started and stopped writing this several times.  I kept being held back by the thought of people reading this and having opinions other than my own.  The thought that someone could possibly turn against me really scared me, made me want to shut up and put everything behind me–even almost kept me from filing a police report.  But then another thought occurred to me–what about all of those other women who have kept their mouths shut as well because of fear?  If we all keep quiet about these events (which happen more often than you think) then men like the one in my story will continue to think that this kind of behavior is acceptable, and that it’s “no big deal”.  And more of us women will sit there and think that it’s expected and that “I have to deal with it”.

Well, that’s simply not good enough.  I now feel a responsibility to keep women that come after me safe, and women who have experienced this before and never spoke out need to know that it is okay to tell their story.  It may be much worse than mine, or much better–it doesn’t matter.  If you feel like you were wronged, you need to report it.  We need to stop this kind of behavior NOW.

My fears were quickly swept away as soon as I started telling people my story. I’ve gotten more phone calls, emails and texts this last month, even from friends that have been absent lately—but that showed up when I truly needed them.  As much as they can’t fix what’s broken, their support has given me all the hope in the world and the assurance that everything is going to be awesome in the end.

Special thanks to all of my friends for having my back, and taking such good care of me.  I want to thank my co-host for taking care of me when everything happened–I could not have survived Vegas without you.

And a special thanks to Liora K for letting me express my frustration in this photo shoot, and for always fighting for equality.

It comes down to this—you are not stuck anywhere.  It’s all about the choices you make in life.  You can choose to pick up and leave at any time, just like you can choose to stay. Nothing is permanent, nothing is infinite—just find something that makes you smile when you wake up in the morning and you will be okay.

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