Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a book

Following the #MeToo movement, women have come out with their stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Among these women was J. K. Stein with her new book “The Director: a memoir.”

“‘The Director’ is a collection of raw, unedited journal entries, which I kept while engaging in relations with a high-profile Hollywood director between the years 2008 and 2013,” said Stein. “My own insecurities and vulnerability at the time allowed The Director to successfully exercise his power through manipulative language and promises of my stardom. The book traces the choices I made, the sexual acts in which I engaged, the disgust I experienced, and the shame I carried around with me for a decade.”

Stein said it was “the women who were brave enough to tell their stories” that made her feel the time was right for her to publish this book.

“The book was written first and foremost for me,” said Stein. “Writing it was incredibly therapeutic. The book is also, as the dedication points out, for ‘those who broke the silence and to those still searching for their voice.’ It took me 32 years to find my voice, and I hope to inspire others to find and use their voices.”

Because of her post-college experiences, Stein hopes to reach students around that same age.

“College-aged students are my target audience,” said Stein. “I met both The Director and my most abusive boyfriend within months of graduating. I recognize that this is a vulnerable time for many as it is often the first time that one is truly on his, her, their own without the structure of school and hungry to carve out an identity.”

Stein is hoping to kick-start a conversation on campus pertaining to this topic.

“Southeastern is a decently-sized campus with more than 15,000 students, who fit my target audience,” said Stein. “It is my hope that we can start, or continue, a #MeToo dialogue on campus, which extends beyond the peripheral. Let’s dig a little deeper and together shatter the stigma associated with sexual abuse and mental health. #TimesUp.”

Stein hopes people get a “raw, possibly uncomfortable, look at sexual abuse, eating disorders, body dysmorphia and self-doubt” out of her book.

“This book is for anyone who wants insight into sexual abuse, self-destructive behavior and the complexity of decision-making in the face of power and manipulation,” said Stein. “This book is for anyone who has experienced sexual abuse of any nature and wants to not feel so alone in his, her, their experience. This book is for anyone who wants to process in the company of others, and this book is for those still struggling to come to terms with his, her, their choices.”

Stein stressed the importance of being honest about when you make a mistake.

“I hope that by sharing my secrets and my struggles others will recognize that we are all faced with choices and some of those choices don’t come along with black and white answers,” said Stein. “We are all going to make less than ideal choices, and it is important not to hide under the ‘bad’ decisions. Our secrets are what keep us sick and in pain.”