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COLUMN: New book brings attention to #MeToo movement


Welcome to chapter 33 of the book column. In the past few months, a movement has been sweeping social media, #Me Too, which is working to bring awareness to victims of sexual harassment, abuse and assault. 

Many well-known celebrities have jumped on board to share their stories. Other common stories include women who felt unable to leave a relationship when their jobs were at stake. One such woman, JK Stein, is the author of “The Director: A Memoir.” 

This memoir includes her stories of suffering sexual abuse from a director who expressed interest in hiring Stein to act in his next film. 

The memoir is a collection of transcribed and analyzed journals. Stein kept four journals during the time she spent with the Director and they give a raw description of her life at the time of the relationship. They are mostly unedited despite the changes of identity to protect friends and family members. 

Because of the sensitive material of the memoir, Stein initially had trouble finding a publisher who would take on the project. Finding a lawyer to support the book turned out to be Stein's key to publication. 

“Even still, there were many rules I had to follow," she said. "As I am sure you've noticed, 'The Director' is never named."

This publishing process was far different than Stein’s other experiences. She has not published other memoirs, but she has published in academic journals and written an academic book. 

While writing, Stein said the process was therapeutic. She wrote for many reasons but the peace of self and freedom it gave her were important to Stein. 

“Throughout a lot of the book, especially as I was transcribing the journal entries, I would have to take frequent breaks because it was such an emotionally overwhelming experience for me to relive some of these sexual acts and conversations,” Stein said.

Despite the heavy subject matter, Stein admitted there are some funny moments to the memoir. She remembered, now with distance, some of the things The Director had said were quite funny. 

“He was a great storyteller, if nothing else,” Stein said. 

Stein felt she had to write this memoir, especially with the rise of the #Me Too movement. Her exact thought process when it came to starting the memoir is detailed in the novels. 

Stein said between the posts about #MeToo she was seeing on Facebook and the comments she received from family and friends, she knew she had to write this novel. 

While I highly recommend this memoir to anyone interested in the #MeToo or #TimesUp movements, readers should keep in mind the intense subject matter of the memoir.

IU’s campus has many resources for victims of sexual assault including the health center and CAPS

Stein hopes “The Director: A Memoir” starts a much needed conversation and dedicated readers are the first step to beginning the discussion.

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