SEXUAL HARASSMENT & ASSAULT:
Peter Rofé's Accusers Advise: 'Know Their
Game ... Trust Your Gut ... Stand Your Ground'
February 13, 2018
See 16 Women Accuse Voice Actor-Coach Peter Rofé of Sexually Harassing Them
See How #MeToo Entered the Voice-Over World: 'I Have Never Felt So Empowered!'
By John Florian
What would you do if you felt sexually harassed in a voice-over studio - or in any work or personal environment?
In the wake of dozens of accusations of sexual harassment and assault over nearly two decades by (possibly former) voice talent and coach Peter Rofé, VoiceOverXtra invited Rofé's victims to anonymously share their advice to other women on how to react to and emotionally process harassment and assault.
Yet the five respondents below did not want anonymity - preferring instead to be heard. We thank and congratulate them for their courage and desire to help other women.
Note: Rofé's PDRVoiceCoaching website is no longer available online, and web searches of his name quickly reveal articles about the harassment accusations, which also mention an NYPD investigation into those accusations.SARA ASSELIN:
'Know Their Game...
Stand Your Ground'
The advice I would give someone if they encounter a sexual assault - like the kind I encountered with Peter Rofé - is this: Know their game, because it is not your fault.
What is their game?
Sexual predators in the arts, like Peter Rofé, speak the language of the actress. They know what triggers the actress. They know an actress wants to go to deep emotional places in order to perform truthfully.
If a monster like Peter Rofé can find that actress nerve in you - that desire to be good, real and true in performance - then he knows he has you and can manipulate that desire. He can tell you that you aren't quite there yet, that you sound inhibited, you can go deeper, get the job.
And then suddenly you're topless and he is masturbating. And you will feel it is your fault because although you hated it, there was the illusion of consent.
You leave the assault wondering if it truly was an assault. And bury the memory for decades, creating a sort of "scene missing" in the narrative of your career.
Know fully and confidently that this, THIS, is how sexual predators in the arts do it. This is the game I fell for with Peter Rofé, the game so many honest and true women in the arts have fallen for.
This is their game. Did you feel it? Did you trust him and gradually feel captive?
Know their game better than they do. Recognize when it happened or when it's about to happen. Stand your ground. It is never, ever your fault.
'Speak .. Report It ...
Trust Your Instincts'
My advice is to speak. We need to bring awareness to all harassment situations in professional settings.
If you feel something is wrong, tell someone you are close to about it.
If you for sure know something wrong has been done to you, then report it. HR or any other superiors who will listen and who you trust, can help. Or police if needed.
Trust your instincts.
'Trust Your Gut ...Get
Out Of The Situation'
I paid money to get a product, and he used that against me.
Trust your gut! There are people who don't deserve for you to give them the benefit of the doubt.
When you notice that first feeling of confusion, self-doubt or fear, don't be afraid to try to get out of the situation.
'Stand Up For Yourself
... Don't Freeze'
I am unfortunately one of the members of the Not Fun Club and one of PDR's former students. My experience, as horrible as it was, was not as bad as it could have been because I had prior training in dealing with sexual predators from a prior assault.
(From that earlier experience) I chose to empower myself and get self defense training.
Becoming a voice over actor was and is my dream, every day, all day. But (my experience with Peter Rofé) clouded a lot of my thinking. He played upon my emotion and strong will to become a successful talent.
It hurts and I despise him for putting a dark spot on my dream. But I chose to become stronger from it.
What helped me was that I called him out and got aggressive myself. My level of being aggressive is probably different than another's, but for me, it was being aggressive.
After I initially froze up, I snapped out of it and broke away and said "You're a geek, it's not happening." In my mind, it was "Back off mother f----r," - but that's what came out.
After I said that, he apologized profusely, went back to being very professional and respectful.
In fact at one point, as he approached the booth during the demo session, right before our incident, he put up his hand and pointed to his ring, and goes, "Look I"m married, you're married, nothing's going to happen."
I was like, OK ... that put me on guard, because up until then there had been nothing that would warrant him to say that.
He then went on to show me his "acting" exercises. However, it was me calling him out and insulting him that made him back off.
I'm not suggesting that people start insulting anyone or become confrontational, but in my particular situation, there were clearly physical signs that he was stepping over boundaries when this all went down.
Yet I spoke up and he retreated.
Standing up for yourself, whether it be in the moment, or as soon as you're able, will be a powerful tool. Initially, my response was to freeze, but as soon as I realized this guy's trying to invade my personal space, instinct from training took over and it saved me from worse.
I chose to speak up now because I always try to focus on the positive and bring that energy to others.
We are a group of women who refuse to let this define us or bring us down. We will rise up and help others.
'You Are Strong, Brave,
Not Alone' & 'Have A Voice'
If you ever find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you feel uncomfortable, scared or being taken advantage of, manipulated or abused - it doesn't matter the reason, the person, the situation - if you are uncomfortable, you do whatever is needed to feel safe in that moment.
Sometimes it's to remove yourself immediately, other times it's to play along while being aware and keeping yourself feeling in control.
Often times, situations like this begin subtlety and you don't always realize you're being manipulated. Trust your gut. Fear can be blinding and paralyzing.
Whenever you are able to gain clarity, however long it takes - it's never too late - use that moment to find strength and empowerment and do whatever is needed to make sure that person can't hurt you again.
Yes, there is strength in numbers, but it always starts with one person, yourself. Taking back what you may have lost in that moment will be more powerful than what the coward did who made you feel that way in the first place.
Always remember that you are strong, you are brave, you have a voice and you're not alone.
Note to readers: To confidentially share an experience or question, you are invited to contact email@example.com.
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