Monday, October 16, 2017

What You Should Know About "Me Too"

Let me begin this post by saying that some may feel that it's inappropriate. I'll reiterate that this thoughts and ideas on this blog belong to me alone (except for my sermons--I hope that at least a part of those come from God, too) and that I thought long and hard before deciding to post this. Hopefully, it will be helpful to someone, and for those of you who are made uncomfortable by it, hopefully you can understand why it was important for me to say.


Me too.

Let me back up a bit...

In the unlikely event that you haven't seen it yet (or if you stumble upon this blog post at some point in the distant future) there is a viral post going around Facebook that says,

"Me too.
"If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'me too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Copy and paste"

(or some variation of this).  I've seen at least 100 of these posts over the last couple days on my feed; quite possibly more. Obviously, an unacceptable number of women-identifying folks (and even some men-identifying folks) have had an experience like this.

But friends, let me assure you that this is only the tip of the iceberg. 

There are some out there who still haven't spoken out out because they fear judgement or retribution.

A silent "me too".

There are some out there who still haven't spoken out because they're embarrassed and in some way believe that the sexual harassment or abuse perpetrated against them was their fault.

Another silent "me too". 

There are some who still haven't spoken out because they're so traumatized by what another person did to them that they struggle every time they see those words, reliving their reality through the knowledge that this happens every day, over and over again.

Yet another silent "me too". 

And then there are some like me, who haven't spoken out because we've been conditioned to believe that "it's not a big deal" or "it's just something that happens" or "it's not worth getting someone in trouble for". Me too...

To be honest, it took me a while after this went viral to realize that yes, my voice belongs in this choir of lament. Of course I've been catcalled before, but like I said before--"it's not a big deal; it's just what happens; it's part of living in the city"...that narrative is insidious and lives inside each of us. 

However, after a day or two--IT TOOK ME A DAY OR TWO TO REMEMBER THIS--I recalled a recent time when I had been straight-up molested (yes, this language is harsh and unpleasant, but so is the thing it represents). I was in a position where it was appropriate for me to be vulnerable, and someone took advantage of that. I wasn't cornered by some stranger in an alley; I was in a setting with a professional who had permission to touch my body, but not in that way. It wasn't overtly sexual, but it was uncomfortable and I had not given consent. Because of the weird grey lines and "mild" nature of this incident, the narrative took over in my head: "It's not a big deal; it was probably just a mistake; I'm probably overreacting." I still haven't told anyone "official" about this, and at this point, what do you think would happen if I did? I'll give you a hint: the narrative would likely take over again, this time coming from forces outside of me. 

My "me too" has been silent until now because of this. But it was still there. It still existed.

I'm not telling you to get sympathy (that's another terrible lie--that just because "someone else has it worse than you do" your story isn't worth telling) but because our silent voices deserve to be heard, our silent stories deserve to be told. Even if you can't say it yourself, even if you aren't ready for the particular details of your story shared, you deserve to be represented. You deserve to be seen. 

The silent "me toos" exist, too. And they're particularly important for us to hear because they're borne out of our denial of how widespread and common the problem really is. 

Me too.

No comments:

Post a Comment