On the eve of #MeToo’s first anniversary, as Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court looked more certain, a group of Hollywood women came together to cope, vent — and to learn how to treat trauma.
Many survivors of sexual abuse were already on edge because of the anniversary of The New York Times story about sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein. The looming confirmation didn’t help.
“It’s been a ride and it’s a new ride all over again,” Katherine Kendall, who was one of the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, told TheWrap. “I have been through the wringer this week and I finally had to stop the pain and just keep telling my truth and stay on track.”
The event Thursday, was held at SAG-AFTRA’s headquarters by Women In Film, which advocates for women working in entertainment industry, and Echo, a nonprofit that trains parents and professionals in trauma and resilience. It is led by Louise Godbold, who offered what she called “mini-training on trauma and resilience.”
“Several people called me saying that they were so triggered by the Kavanaugh story that they weren’t sure they could make it,” said Godbold.
Last October, Godbold came forward with her own story of sexual misconduct by Weinstein, who has denied any nonconsensual sex with anyone.
She said that as the #MeToo movement expanded, she quickly realized the need for trauma training for survivors.
“Once the danger is over, the trauma remains in our body,” Godbold explained. “It continues to wreak havoc on our immune system and can lead to long-term health issue and mental health issues.”
The two hour-event started with a panel of #MeToo activists, including Kendall. It included tools for regulating the nervous system, which Godbold called “nervous system hacks.” One technique included singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” while rubbing one’s forehead, shoulders and palms together to create “soothing energy.”
“It doesn’t matter what you’re singing,” Godbold said. “It’s just a way to get you out of the hamster wheel of the mind.”
Godbold said the aim is to look at the impact of trauma on the body and the brain to better understand our behaviors.
“We look at what lies beneath certain behaviors that we’re apt to judge or dismiss, not realizing that trauma is the root cause,” Godbold said. “For example, we use the label ‘control freak,’ but if someone got hurt and they had no control of the situation, it makes sense that they would want to control their environment so they don’t get hurt again.”
Melissa Schuman, one of the panelists, said the last few days have been particularly hard. She said she was raped by former Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter, who denies any wrongdoing.
“I think we’re all just feeling a lot,” Schuman told TheWrap. “The whole thing is incredibly triggering and I find myself disassociating a lot.”
Schuman planned to spend Friday avoiding TV and listening to “worship music.”
“I go to God,” she said. “That’s where I go to recharge.”
Caitlin Dulany, who accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her in Cannes, France, in 1996, told TheWrap that the weeks leading up to the anniversary have been “intense.” Weinstein, like Kavanaugh, has denied any wrongdoing.
“My heart has been heavy,” she said. “I have felt a lot of anger towards Kavanaugh and those that support him.”