Father of Misty Upham Speaks out Against Sexual ViolenceTweet
On October 16th, 2014 the body of Misty Upham was found after she had gone missing from her home on the Muckleshoot reservation for several days. A search party for Misty had been coordinated by Misty’s family and members of Seattle’s Native community after the family received no support from the Auburn police department.
Misty was an actress who starred in several major Hollywood films and had “attracted critical acclaim for her performance in the 2008 film Frozen River, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.”
The King County medical examiner would rule that she died due blunt-force injuries to her head and torso after having fallen from a 150-foot embankment.
As recent news of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations was breaking in the mainstream media, Charles Upham, the father of Misty, spoke out on alleged abuses Misty faced by associates of Weinstein at the 2013 Golden Globes.
“The recent backlash with regard to Harvey Weinstein’s sexual allegations is blowing up like a NAPA Valley firestorm leaving a trail of victims in its wake. The smoke of this scandal can be seen through out the entertainment industry as many Hollywood insiders release a collective gasp. (Like you didn’t know this was going on!) The only thing bigger than the Weinstein media apocalypse is the hypocrisy that existed since the 1890’s when the casting couch, I mean movie camera was invented. Sure you now have found a sexual harassment poster boy in Weinstein that we can martyr to will ease the conscience of high society for a while. But this is not an isolated incident! This is an institutional problem that exists in in many Organizations and Corporate America including Religious Orders, Law Enforcement, Politics, Education, Federal, State and local Governments. The victims are not just women; they include men, elderly, mentally ill, children (male and female) of all races and even some animals.
My daughter, Misty Upham, was a victim of rape by a Weinstein Executive in 2013 at the Golden Globe Awards. The rapist forced her into the men’s room and had his way while other men in formal wear cheered him on as if he were chugging a beer in a contest. As Misty made the walk of shame back to the event, the Exec was given high fives, bragging rights and another notch in his Weinstein Co. belt. What should have been an auspicious occasion for Misty turned into a nightmare of pain, humiliation, fear and anxiety? Her mom and I pleaded with her to press charges since she still has the torn green dress she wore (Photo Above) with the DNA all over it. Misty was afraid to pursue charges because she knew Harvey Weinstein could protect his constituency and ruin her existence. Misty’s experience with Harvey Weinstein left her with the impression that he was a powerful man with many influential connections and could make people disappear. Once while riding in a limo with Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Weinstein and his assistant, somewhere between Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah, the assistant interrupted Weinstein and Tarantino’s conversation in a matter of urgent business; at which point Harvey Weinstein ordered the driver to stop and subsequently kicked his assistant out of the car in the middle of no where during a snow storm amidst subzero temperatures. Misty commented, “What if he freezes to death?” Weinstein retorted “ Somebody will come along and pick him up!” How could anyone expect a sincere investigation when the Weinstein’s company commander and chief is also a perpetrator? Misty said to me “Dad, every time a rape victim comes forward to get justice they become the cause of the matter!” This was not the first time Misty was raped and harassed by an Executive/Producer/Director/Actor etc. And you know who you are!
How many times have you heard the defense say things like: “She slept around with everyone.” or “She was smiling and flirting while being accosted!” or “She was dressed like a slut!” and “She knew what she was getting into but left with him anyway!” All of a sudden the rape victim become the blame in everyone’s eyes. This has been the trend now amongst Police Officers, Judges, Defenders even Prosecutors and witnesses alike. The rapist is not just a man thing either; this exercise of empowerment exists among every gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and social class. The characteristic traits of these criminals are usually recognizable from childhood: A Bully, Socially Enabled, Possesses a Sense of Entitlement and Justified by partisan social circles. Sounds a lot like MANIFEST DESTINY (Google It). In many cases the crime becomes a matter of opinion and the rapist becomes the victim. It is no surprise that many rape victims stay silent. Most victims don’t report such crimes because they believe nothing will be done.
In the course of time the majority of the genders has developed a natural affection for the opposite sex or the same sex. In the ritual of courtship you may find yourself attending to your esthetic qualities in order to attract you mate. If this includes dressing provocatively, wearing makeup, flirting or even participating in a conversation that could lead to consummation. So what! That’s what people do! But nowhere in that ritual has the implied meaning been embedded that rape is ok. No means no! People are looking for a lasting relationship that is founded in love, trust and affection. Do you think a woman or her parents would want to have a relationship and have children with a person who raped her? Or would any parent brag on the fact that their child was best rapist in the family?
If Harvey Weinstein has become the poster boy of Sexual Harassment among the rich and powerful then Native American Women should exemplify the most disregarded rape victims in the Americas. According to the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) Indigenous Women have the highest rates of uninvestigated violent sex and abuse crimes among women per capita. Federal government studies have consistently shown that American Indian women experience much higher levels of sexual violence than other women in the U.S. Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that Native American and Alaskan Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general. First Nations women in Canada and Native American women in Border States like Minnesota and North Dakota have become the targets of commercial sex trade with little or no intervention from law enforcement. An intrinsic effort on the part of victims and advocacy groups was necessary to raise awareness so that Judicial, Legislative bodies and Politicians would be shamed into action on the behalf of the Native communities.
I know there are many people that will turn a blind eye, wallow in apathy or even entertain the thought of joining the ranks of sex abusers. Before you do I hope you recognize the emotional harm, life long pain and humiliation that these type of crimes bring to their victims; before you have to learn your lesson by experiencing the same type of abuse in some prison cell yourself.” ~Charles Upham