The Louie CK story is one familiar to me. His statement bubbled up a story of something similar that happened to me when I was 31 years old. I was watching my daughter play with her cousins in the backyard.
It was a hot sunny day and I decided to lie out on a towel and get some sun. In a two piece bathing suit, this mom was suddenly aware that the older neighbor man was excited by this. When I glanced his way, he showed me his erection.
What do I do?
This man muttered breathy things about “that puss” as he gratified himself.
The kids were oblivious and playing. I chose to ignore this creepy neighbor guy. He never touched me. He never asked me for anything, but he masturbated and he wanted me to know that I had prompted his excitement. He knew I would maintain normalcy for the sake of the kids.
I could have done more.
I could have made a stink.
I could have told him off.
My silence was not consent.
But I do feel guilt about it. I wonder if the man thought my consent was implied with my decision to do nothing but wish it to be finished soon.
I hadn’t told anyone that story until yesterday.
After reading Louis CK’s statement, I told my husband.
This one hurts.
Louis CK was a guy who in our eyes “got it.”
We quoted him daily.
We bought his shows. His movies. His stand up. Even the stuff for $5 from his website.
We watched him with our daughters.
We were fans.
I’m reading articles from people saying they could’ve done more – they should’ve done more. Because they knew the rumors were plentiful enough that they knew something was up.
I think we can all pinpoint a time in our lives where we could have done more. And we can “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” all day long.
I remind myself that as we raise badass kids who speak up and speak out, we also have to remind them that sometimes it is okay to get through the situation and survive. Especially when you are the victim.
Whatever choice a person makes it will, no doubt, riddle them with guilt.
The neighbor guy does not haunt me (other horrors hold that honor).
Did he make my skin crawl? Yes.
Did it gross me out? Of course.
But he did not wreck my life. I did not have to work with him. He was not my mentor or boss. I wrote him off as a creep, kept my distance and a close eye on my kids.
I’ll likely treat Louis CK in the same manner. Distance myself from his work I once loved. I’ll catch myself remembering something he quipped and replace it with something more meaningful to me now.
It’s too bad. I really thought he was one of the good guys.
Ricky Gervais, don’t fail me now.
It is not my fault as a fan and it is not anyone else’s fault as a comic or co-writer or production company that believed in his work.
The fault lies squarely with Louis CK as it also does with the creepy neighbor.
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer, wife, and mom of three kids whose ages span two decades. Her work has appeared in the New York Times; Brain, Child Magazine; Scary Mommy and more. Her Cincinnati Family mom blog earned Best Overall Blog in the 2017 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @WriterBonnie or on her website at WriterBonnie.com.