“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.”
I saw the status going around online. And I felt a big stone drop into my stomach.
My throat was dry and I sort of froze. I kept seeing the words crop up, seeing the *people I know and love make these posts. And I was just totally and completely terrified to copy, paste, and post.
Ugh, these posts just kill me because images flash through my mind like wildfire and I mentally get clouded in the smoke and I can’t breathe right and there is a lot of pain and regret and what if’s and why me’s and I know I need therapy but it’s hard when you’re broke and your husband is unemployed and it’s been 15 years can’t the waves of nausea just stop what the fuck what the fuck what the fuck.
Some of you have seen this journal before. I keep all of my journals, most of them are inside a trunk that I have kept all my memories and keepsakes in. However, this journal lives on my bookshelf as a reminder.
Because this matters.
It matters that people know the magnitude of something that is not discussed as often as it should be. It matters because the pain is real, and people need to know that this has to stop happening. It matters because history has a way of repeating itself and if there is anything we can do to stop it, we Must talk about it. Yeah, the truth hurts sometimes. I had to get the fuck over it and make that post, because even something as small as that could help make change that we need to see in the world.
Globally, truly terrifying shit happens every day to people. The statistics all lean more on the focus of women, but I feel that it would be wrong to not address the men, or the LGBTQ community, too. Everyone has a story. It takes a quiet sort of courage to stand up and say, “this happened to me.” Some people will believe you. Some people won’t. Some people will stick by you. Some people won’t.
I had one
small incident happen to me at the end of 6th grade. I told my teacher and the kid got “in trouble,” for sexually harassing me. He didn’t even touch me, but the school came down hard on him for verbal harassment and he got In School Suspension for three weeks. His parents were notified, mine were, too I think. I was teased a lot in the hallways by his friends and a lot of those guys told me I was “stupid and fucked up to do that to him.” About 8 months went by and my whole life changed. It was probably the deepest betrayal of my life because the person who hurt me was also the closest person to me at the time. It took me about six months to talk to my mom about what happened to me, initially. That conversation was groundbreaking for a lot of reasons, but the next time (about a year and a half later) something happened it was my mom that noticed straight away. She picked me up and as we were driving home she pulled over and said, “something’s wrong. What happened?” I felt so dirty and disgusting sitting there in the car trying to explain what I didn’t want to talk about or think about. The hardest part (at the time) was my social circle, some believing me, and some not. I felt so alone. I went to school and had to deal with the girlfriend of the guy. She wanted answers, so I told her truth, but it fell on deaf ears. After that horrifying and lonely experience I stopped talking about the stuff that happened to me.
A year after that, I’d go to a friends house and find myself in these compromising situations, and then I’d walk home with blood between my legs and hating myself for “letting it happen,” AGAIN. Or, during the fall months, I’d find myself out with friends and somehow ending up somewhere I shouldn’t, and was I sure that I wanted this? It was happening to me, I was “letting it” happen, but the whole time my mind was racing and I couldn’t fucking figure out a way to say no. The worst of it is, had of I of said no, the person doing this probably would have stopped, but I was so paralyzed by my fear. Or, when a few years later I was intimate someone by choice, I went to school the next day and regretted it. I confided in a teacher who scolded me and said that I deserved to feel as dirty and awful as I felt because I had done this to myself and any woman who put herself into a situation knowingly should “know better.”
Ugh, fuck OFF lady.
Anyway. The point here is, that I had to learn how to get over all that fear, shame, and doubt. I had to talk about it, because it is ALL relevant. And it ALL matters. I just disclosed a portion of those events to my mom this past Friday for the first time. The fact of the matter is, this pain is too heavy a burden to carry alone. And it’s okay to get help and reach out.
I am not alone in this. There are so many people all over the world, near and far that are survivors, too. So know that if YOU are a survivor of sexual assault or harassment, that you are not alone, either.
By taking the plunge and sharing these stories they will benefit the world in ways that we might not even be able to imagine. Don’t doubt your story. Don’t omit parts of it to make people feel more comfortable.
So, back to the beginning of this post: When I logged in today, I knew I had to post. I knew I had to admit, “Me too.”
Trust me, you really fucking do.
In love and strength,
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741. This hotline is also the same hotline for those who have been assaulted. Whether physically, mentally, or sexually; if you need someone to talk to and feel like you “don’t have anyone,” give them a call. I can personally attest to the fact that they will help you.