Why she didn’t report: Heidi Blickenstaff shares her story of childhood sexual abuse
Heidi Blickenstaff, the Good Company Players child standout performer who went on to become a Broadway (and now Disney TV) star, went public on Saturday with a sad — and brave — revelation:
— Heidi Blickenstaff (@HBlix) September 22, 2018
Heidi is one of thousands of women over the past few days who have come forward on Twitter and other forums with personal accounts of sexual assault, all in response to the confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The hashtag #WhyIDidntReport has brought together these women, which include another Broadway/TV star, Donna Lynne Champlin (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”):
Abused for years by (now deceased) relative. Too young to understand what was happening. Too young to know it was even a crime. Only knew I hated it. Was told “It will hurt your mommy if you tell anyone”. And I loved my mother more than anything. #WhyIDidntReport
— Donna Lynne Champlin (@DLChamplin) September 21, 2018
I contacted Heidi on Sunday to ask if she’d feel comfortable with me sharing her tweet locally. I was concerned about the impact on her parents, who live in Fresno. That’s something she’s generally been worrying about, too. “My only concern is my family and the impact this has on them in Fresno,” she says. “I’m safe in liberal NYC. They are in the grocery store interacting with the same people who have known me from the days when this was happening. … I love them and I want to protect them.”
After consulting with her parents this evening, she told me: “They remain supportive of me going public and they are prepared for whatever you feel like you’d like to share.”
I greatly admire Heidi’s courage in coming forward. (And I ache to think of what she had to go through.) She has been living and dealing with this horrible secret for a long time. The good news is that she was doing well today, she told me. (She’s received lots of support on Twitter.) “It actually feels very liberating to come out of the closet, so to speak,” she says.
On Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Heidi and her husband will participate in a national walkout in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence. At Fresno State, people will gather from 9:45-10:15 a.m. in the quad by the College of Social Sciences Building. It won’t be a rally about “abstract” issues. This time, it’s about standing with survivors like Heidi.