But even after the weeks of intense pressure, when I finally signed the nondisclosure document, accepting a settlement of £125,000 (about $213,000) and agreeing to stay silent forever, the trauma was not yet over. Zelda and I were told to consider this period of our lives a “black hole,” never to be mentioned again. We felt we could not see each other again, lest we slip up and accidentally discuss these events — so we would not communicate until almost two decades later.
I signed the agreement, thinking it would be easy to find another job; in reality, I spent six months interviewing at dozens of film companies in London. Everyone wanted to meet; no one wanted to employ an assistant who had left Miramax under suspicious circumstances. Unable to find work elsewhere, I ended up in a role in Hong Kong that I suspected Harvey created to keep me in his orbit — dependent on Miramax and yet sidelined in Asia. I was miserable. And the worst was to come.
I was embarking upon almost two decades of living with a secret trauma of such magnitude that I would attempt suicide twice before I finally quit Miramax. I lived in constant fear of Harvey’s abuse, control and power; that the story would come back to haunt me; that I would inadvertently slip up on my promise to never speak of this. I suffered, completely isolated from those around me who could have provided the support I needed: a loved one, a trusted pastor, a respected therapist — even the man I would marry. I spent decades grappling with guilt that I took the job, that I hadn’t left the room sooner, that it was somehow my fault, that I hadn’t handled Harvey “robustly” enough, that I was not tough enough to work in the film industry.
Other survivors have said things like “I’ve been waiting for this knock on my door for 27 years,” but for me, I lived in terror of that knock. Over the years, various journalists have tracked me down. I always hid. In summer 2017, the New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor finally stood on my driveway in California; it would take 18 months before I dared speak to her.
After Ms. Kantor and her colleague Megan Twohey broke the Weinstein story two years ago, I watched from the sidelines as the #MeToo movement unfolded, too afraid to share even a simple #MeToo on Facebook. My four children were young, and I was terrified that journalists would surround the house and that my children would be followed to school. I had been so completely silenced that although I was central to a story that had ignited a global movement, I did not participate. Remaining silent had become integral to my identity, both as a woman and a person of color.
Then, in September 2018, I watched another woman, Christine Blasey Ford, speak up about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Coincidentally, only a few minutes from my house she was living the very existence I’d feared — getting death threats and leaving her home to take refuge in hotel rooms. In January, I had the privilege of sharing my story with Dr. Blasey and other survivors in a group interview conducted by Ms. Kantor and Ms. Twohey. I was still unresolved about going public. But meeting others who’d had similar experiences created a seismic shift within me.
It still took several months for me to agree to participate in Ms. Kantor and Ms. Twohey’s book, “She Said.” But it is important to me now that I speak up, that I allow my voice, an Asian voice, an assistant’s voice, to join the array of voices in the #MeToo movement. Since the story broke in October 2017, many actresses, from the relatively unknown to the superstars, have come out with stories about Harvey. Yet the stories of assistants have gotten relatively little attention by comparison, and tragically, even fewer of those voices have been of women of color.