Your Grrrs March 14, 2006

Erika S. J. writes: Grrrrr! to you for lumping Teri Hatcher’s revelation of childhood abuse in with Sean Penn’s anti-American detritus and Lindsay Lohan’s post-teen angst. As a prosecutor who deals with children who have been sexually or otherwise abused on a daily basis, I know firsthand the shame children feel in the aftermath of abuse. Many blame themselves. Many feel what happened makes them ugly, undesirable, damaged goods. To see a star like Teri Hatcher might make one survivor of abuse believe it is possible to move on from such trauma, to set and meet lofty goals, to move past the horror and loss of innocence. You said we don’t need celebrities to show us how ugly the world can be, that we’re not that innocent. But we always need examples of survival, to see those who blossom in spite of adversity like Ms. Hatcher. To misunderstand that, sir, shows you are that innocent. Be thankful.

T.M.S. in Los Angeles: When I first heard the news last week I let out a huge groan. What possessed her to do this? Sure, OK, all right, it's a terrible thing that happened to her. But her "revelation" is just exhibitionism. I was molested as a child, and the last thing in the world I want is to broadcast it to the world. It's a private matter, handled privately and quietly. The actress is desperate for attention. "Desperate" is the key word here. And she should know that while the ABC shows she co-stars in was the ultimate talk of the town last season, the bloom is off the rose with "DH" and a lot of viewers are finding entertainment elsewhere, with much better-written shows, featuring actors with beaucoup more talent than she will ever have. This actress is showing signs of anxiety that her celebrity is waning, so she opens up her past to keep the fires burning. Big whoop and WHO CARES??? There are people in this country whose homes were just destroyed by a monster winter storm, who lost everything, and all this woman is obsessed with is that awful Hollywood self-adulation-poor-me syndrome.

Laura B. writes: Although you may be wise and worldly, there are thousands of people just turning on their little light bulbs in their brains to what is going on in the world around them. If her telling her story helps one person on this planet, I think the rest of us can suck it up while those less informed listen up. Yes, it gets old when you already have the answers, but that’s what being graceful in old age and mentoring the young is all about.

Linda H. in St. Louis: I have to say as a survivor of sexual assault myself, I find it more than disturbing that Ms. Hatcher allowed such a sexually "inviting" photograph of herself to appear on the cover of the magazine in which she discloses her sexual abuse. Incredibly tasteless.

Frank P. in Wapato, WA: We should support Teri's efforts to free herself of this terrible crime against a child. Something like this affects people for their whole lives. Maybe Teri coming out with her story will give them some relief.

Mitzi G. writes: Your story on Teri Hatcher and the accusation that she is publicizing her abuse in order to gain attention is appalling. I was molested as a child, and although I've shared that fact with many friends through the years, it still gives me an upset stomach to talk about it. I can't even imagine the courage it must have taken for Teri to come out in public with her story. She should be commended for being a positive role model to young people who've been abused, helping them to learn that it is OK to stand up for themselves, and that molestation is not a shameful secret. You should be ashamed for criticizing her!

E. Sheehan in Los Angeles: I agree that it’s long past the time when celebrity “revelations” are helpful in enlightening the public about issues formerly kept in the dark. The one additional thing I would mention about Teri Hatcher’s story in Vanity Fair: Not only is it a dubious venue, considering the previous Scarlett and Keira cover, but Hatcher’s own image on the VF cover rang a dissonant note. The woman is going to reveal she was molested as a child and there she is on the cover, scantily clad and looking all “kittenish” with the big brown eyes and startled look. All I can say is, “Yuck.”

Susan G. writes: Sorry, but I totally disagree with your point of view regarding the Teri Hatcher molestation story. Being abused and then admitting it in public was a very courageous thing for Teri to do. I doubt she did it for fame, because she is already at the top of a successful acting career that she built in spite of her uncle MOLESTING HER. It must have been so very hard for her to admit this to people, because it could backfire and topple her career. This was a very unselfish act and was done to help those suffering overcome their pain like she has. I am totally in awe of what she did in very unfavorable conditions. It seems to me that she is using her fame to help make the world a better place and protect children from this horrible act.

Celita writes: Thanks, Mike, for writing: "I, for one, don't want to hear any more personal junk from celebrities. I don't want to hear about their politics, and I don't want to hear about their sex lives or their vices." Thank you, thank you, thank you! I couldn't agree more. Why can't they get this through their heads? We don't care about any of that. Act, sing or whatever, but keep your personal stuff to yourself.

Deb writes: If you had any idea how many girls and boys NEVER report the abuse they have endured, you would leave the Teri Hatcher thing alone. While it may be uncomfortable and distasteful for you to have to know about what happened in her life, I am betting that her being brave enough to put it in Vanity Fair will reach more victims (and abusers) with the message that it is OK to tell. She put a lot on the line as far as I am concerned, both in terms of her family relationships and her professional image. If it didn't suit you, sorry. Too bad.

V. Hatcher (no relation to Teri) writes: I just want to let you know that you said exactly what I have been saying all along. I don't care about a celebrity's political point of view, I don't care about their troubled past, etc. They are entertainers. Period. I can make up my own mind about world issues and I have had my own share of "childhood" troubles. Thank you for this article

Benjamin R. S. writes: Hey, these Vanity Fair writers are only doing their job. As you know, it's all freedom of press. I don't understand why you're complaining about celebrities sharing stories about sexual abuse and other hardships they've fought through. Someone out there might find courage in it and therefore face their own demons. Whatever opinions you hold are up to you, but quite frankly, if you don't want to know about it, it's all at your own discretion. You don't have to read the article, watch the TV news report, etc.

L.M. writes: Your recent rant is such a "man" article. Good for Teri for making this revelation on her own terms. If she hadn't, a tabloid would have while also adding their lies to the mix. I do not know this woman or her motivations, but unless you have been a victim of this kind of abuse, you cannot possibly understand the pain of holding onto this huge secret. Her reality is different than the common person's, so how dare we assume that she can tell this tale and it will quietly go away for her? It was going to be told, and told in a big way, so I say, "Teri, you are so brave. Thank you. I hope some of the rest of us can find courage because of you. I can't even tell my husband much less the nation..."

Terri P. writes: There has to be balance in everything. Just because you have heard every story there is to hear (as have I), there is a new generation coming into treacherous waters every day. I don't think they can hear often enough that dangers exist and that people really do get hurt by them.

Deborah L. writes: Why didn't she tell sooner? She could have saved the girl's life, and prevented countless others from being victimized.

Sherri M. writes: I agree with you — I don't want to hear about celebrities' social problems, nor their politics. I guess people like Alec Baldwin — who was a political science major and college drop-out — think because they can get TV time, they have some intriguing knowledge to impart upon us, the ignorant public. Please! Besides, celebrities can afford to "get help" for whatever they went through in life. You are also correct that no one cares about my being deserted by my drunken father whom I never saw, abused by the new one who replaced him, molested by my first employer as a 12 year-old. Nor do they care that I raised four children alone, finished college and became a RN who has saved people's lives. And I don't want them to "care"! Can you imagine the reception I'd get if I told all of the above to my intensive-care patients while I'm looking after them at the hospital where I work? Yes, these celebrities need to realize that in that way, they are no different from us little people and will find no sympathy here. What I want to know from my accountant is what new tax laws exist that will affect me, and when my taxes will be completed. What I want to know from celebrities is what new movies they will be starring in, and when the movie will come to a theater near me. The only argument to be made in favor of Ms. Hatcher's telling it all as she did to Vanity Fair lies in the probability that since she was instrumental in having her uncle convicted, the press would have found out anyway. Maybe she didn't want The National Enquirer to be the first rag to run the story. Love your column — thanks for giving your readers the opportunity to Grrr! back!

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