[Strong trigger warning.]
Joseph Brooks, 71, an Oscar-winning songwriter, director, and producer, has been arrested and charged, in a 91-count indictment, with sexually assaulting 11 women from 2005 to 2008. In addition to the alleged assaults that occurred within New York's five-year statute of limitations, prosecutors have "information about one rape going back to 1970," and are seeking other women who may have been victimized by Brooks in the interceding four decades.
The details of the cases are grim: Brooks, with help from his female assistant, lured young and inexperienced actresses primarily from the West Coast via Craigslist with the promise of an audition, and, upon their arrival, plied them with alcohol and urged them to remove their clothes under the guise that they were trying out for a role as a prostitute.
Emails retrieved from Brooks' computer suggest that there are more victims, and that his son knew what was happening by the start of this year, writing to his father that he was disgusted by "this type of predatory behavior" and telling him: "You made your bed and now you must sleep in it." If the son reported the incidents to police or has been involved in the investigation in any way, it hasn't been reported that I've seen.
I don't want to spend too much time involved with this story, to be honest, so I'm going to keep this short: Half of me is amazed at the very real likelihood that this has been going on for 40 years or more, and thus vibrating with anger; half of me isn't surprised at all, and thus crushed with sadness.
Because of the silence surrounding sexual assault in this culture, we don't have established words of condolence for its survivors. I always feel like saying, "I'm sorry for your loss." Loss of safety. Loss of security. Loss of whatever solid sense of self you had in your life before someone stole it from you.
I'm so sorry for what happened to you. No, what was done to you.
I don't know what to say, what to offer, to Brooks' victims. I wish them peace and justice.
[H/T to Shaker Ginmar.]