You don’t have to look long or far to find a #metoo post on social media these days, unfortunately that’s a sad reality, and yet I find comfort in every #metoo that I see.
For anyone reading who doesn’t know what #metoo is about, let me fill you in. When you see #metoo it is a victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, in some way or another the person who posted #metoo has been sexually violated. This is to bring an awareness to the magnitude of women who have been sexually violated. It seems as a society we find it easier to turn a blind eye than to acknowledge the disgusting behaviors that take place daily.
As well intended as this has been, I feel we need to include all sexually violated people and not just women. There are plenty of males who have also suffered the indignity of being sexually violated and they are just as ignored, overlooked, shamed, and victimized as women are.
I have seen differing ideas and opinions on posting #metoo. I’ve read claims that by posting #metoo it is suggesting that all men are perverse in their behaviors. I’ve read that by posting #metoo we are somehow making ourselves a target to be ridiculed by others. I’ve read that being sexually violated is a private issue not to be displayed for all to see. I’ve read conversation about flirting and whether or not that’s acceptable and to what degree is flirting acceptable?
This is what #metoo means to me:
#metoo = Sexually abused from the age of 3 or 4 until about the age of 10-12 by a close extended relative. When it all finally came out I was victimized all over again because nothing was ever done about it. Most people didn’t believe me. Many who did believe me didn’t seem to care while others who believed me didn’t seem to know how to handle it. I still carry the effects of all of it with me to this day. Feelings of not being good enough to bother doing anything about it. Feelings of being unworthy. Feeling like somehow I had done something wrong because nothing was ever done about it. Feeling like somehow I had been dishonest because he lied and said it didn’t happen and apparently his lie was more believable than my truth, than my reality.
#metoo = Somewhere between the age of 8 and 10 I was inappropriately touched by boy who was several years older than me. We were in one of those plastic kiddie pools. I never told anyone about that incident but it’s stuck with me for all these years.
#metoo = At the age of 12 maybe 13 I was the victim of an extreme sexual advance by a much older man, who was by all rights a sexual predator. I was one naive decision away from a terrible life altering event. I won’t go into detail on this one for personal reasons, but it was definitely one of the scariest moments of my life, even to this day it ranks as one of the scariest moments of my life. This event triggered an investigation that resulted in a restraining order but should’ve resulted in much more than that. Another instance of the victim being victimized again, this time by the system.
#metoo = 13 – 15 years old at a 4th of July celebration in my hometown. A creepy guy offers to buy my friend and I alcohol while we’re there. We thought that was pretty cool, even if the guy was pretty creepy. The guy did what he said, he bought us alcohol. We sat near where the band played but far enough off that no one would really notice us, we drank and listened to the band. At some point I was dancing with the creepy guy. I still can’t stand to listen to the song to this day, “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meatloaf. There was some kissing that took place as well.
A few days later, I found myself with a bunch of my friends in this guys apartment (what the hell are the odds of that?). We recognized each other right away. I didn’t want to be there but I was with my friends and apparently this creep was a friend of theirs. I sat down on the end of the couch next to my friend. The creep sat on the floor next to me. Before I knew it he had his hand between my legs rubbing on me. I wanted so badly for him to stop. I wanted to jump up off of that couch and run out of the apartment. But I didn’t, I just sat there, almost frozen, like I didn’t know what to do.
I saw him a handful of times after that day. He never touched me sexually again. Quite the opposite actually. He threatened to kill me and told me he had people out to hurt me. See, it had come out that this guy bought alcohol for us and the police got involved. I was the one he held responsible for the jail time he got. I was not the one who let out that this creep bought us alcohol. In fact I wanted nothing to do with this man ever again after leaving his apartment. I’m not sure I’ve ever spoken about this incident either.
#metoo = 16 or 17 years old. I was brought out to a dark dirt road in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter. The choice I was ultimately left with was get out of the vehicle without a coat and figure out how to get home in middle of winter Minnesota temps or have sex with this guy and when he is done he get home. I go into more detail in a previous post about this incident, so I’m not going to go in to detail here. Granted, I didn’t say no, but I also didn’t feel like I had a choice. Had I said no, he would’ve taken what he wanted anyways If I just gave him what he wanted it would be easier to live with and cope with than if he took it with force.
These are most of my #metoo stories. I don’t share them to gain pity or empathy. I don’t share them to dehumanize men. I don’t even share them with the hopes that something will change if enough of us post #metoo.
I share them so that other victims know they aren’t alone.
I share them in hopes that maybe my #metoo stories might help, even if it’s just one person.
I share them so that others might feel more comfortable sharing their stories, not because the world needs to hear it, but because they need to tell it.
I share them because so often we stay silent out of shame and guilt. By sharing my stories I am letting go of the shame and guilt I’ve carried for so many years. The shame and guilt that were never mine to carry. I share them in hopes of inspiring someone else to let go of the shame and guilt that isn’t theirs to carry.
I share them because I am not what has been done to me. I’ve been knocked down a hundred times and I’ve gotten back up a hundred and one times, not because of what’s been done to me, but in spite of what’s been done to me.
I share my #metoo stories because my abusers didn’t break me, they don’t own that kind of power.
I share my #metoo stories because too many people expect that we shouldn’t talk openly about our #metoo stories.
I share my #metoo stories because those same people that don’t think we should speak openly about being sexually violated get uncomfortable when we speak openly about being sexually violated, and to that I say, #fuckyoutoo
I am a victim of sexual violation. I didn’t want to be a victim. I didn’t ask to be a victim. I was made to be a victim. People often talk like being a “victim” is somehow a choice. Newsflash, if it were a choice we wouldn’t be victims, would we?
I am no longer ashamed of being a victim of sexual violation but I do get a little pissed when it’s assumed that I should be.
When does playful sexual banter cross the line and become a form of sexual violation? When it’s unwanted. When it’s not reciprocated. When you’re told to stop. When the person starts avoiding you. When you have to question if you’re crossing the line.
Not all men are sexual predators, there are plenty of women predators and enablers out there as well.
Is it easy for those of us who have been victimized to talk about it, to tell our stories? No, it’s almost as hard as living through the abuse when it happened.
Is it an uncomfortable topic? Absolutely it is.
Is the magnitude of sexual harassment, abuse, violation as great as we are saying it is? Yes, as much as people may want to believe otherwise, the reality of it is overwhelming.
#metoo for all of the men who have been sexually violated
#metoo for all of the women who have been sexually violated
#metoo for all of the teenagers, boys and girls, who have been sexually violated and those who may currently be living in the nightmare of being sexually violated.
#metoo for all of the children who have or who are currently being sexually violated, and most likely by someone whose job it is to keep you safe.
The shame and guilt you feel is not yours to own. Let that shit go, give it to it’s rightful owner.
This is what you need to know…You deserve better, you are worth more than you know, you are stronger than you believe yourself to be, you are lovable, you are so much more than good enough, and you are not alone.