You are not alone. Together we can de-stigmatize speaking out about our experiences with sexual harassment, assault, and more.
I was roughly 20 years old when I got into my first serious relationship. I had been severely depressed and desperate to find someone who would love me. In my mind, I was ugly, fat, and unlovable. I turned to the only thing I knew of at the time: Craigslist personal ads. That’s where I found him—let’s call him J.
Me Too. Not Me.
Just before I left for vacation, I published two of my short stories on Amazon. One is about a ghost who witnesses her own funeral and features my most popular character. The other is a tale that I should have probably written more of, but in just 1,500 words I drive home the point about what males go through when they are sexually assaulted. It was a story that started out as one concept and morphed into this piece that I am incredibly proud of. While talking about it with a few writer friends, one of them said something that struck me. She told me I should use the hashtag me too to promote the story. The sheer cynicism in that statement shook me to my core.
Your friend, your sister, your coworker. Me too. Me too. Me too. We have all been surprised by the amount of friends, family and loved ones who have been posting, "Me too" on social media. This was started as a way to make people aware of the astonishing number of sexual assault victims there are and to give support to those who feel they are alone. I myself was shocked that so many of my dear friends have been victims of abuse and I never knew. I too have been a victim to sexual abuse as a teenager and after scrolling through my newsfeed I became all too aware that if I posted "Me too" it might also shock many of my friends and loved ones and I realized I was not ready for everyone to know about my most personal and private suffering. While I am no professional, I hope I can offer help and support in a different way to others who have suffered and are not ready to out themselves as a victim of this terrible abuse.
I Am Everything
Why do people think that rape is something that you can just forget, like it never happened? It’s a violation. It’s a reminder that your body is not your own. Your body belongs to society. You have no choices; no say in who touches you, who penetrates your very soul. You are not a person, you are a piece of meat to be consumed, a toy to be played with.
I was 16 when I first realized that church deacons like 'em young. One night, I was an usher at a funeral for one of our deacons who had passed away. I went to the kitchen to take a breather for a moment. The church was packed with mourners, and having become close to the deacon and his family I was one of them but trying to comfort the others. It became a little too intense, and after reading the 23rd Psalm and almost breaking down, I thought I would hide for a moment until I regained composure.
Victims are People, Too
Your Honor, I would like to address the court and Mr. St. John so they know what has happened to me — not only the crime that has taken place, but the lingering effects and residuals that continue to haunt and live inside me. By making this statement, I am hoping to transfer some of the pain and suffering out of me and reduce some of the effects it has caused, in living my day-to-day life.
We Are Girls, Not Your Toys
December 16, 2012, would have probably been just another day for the 23-year-old paramedical student returning after watching a movie with a friend if Delhi had a safe public transport system. She would have lived to turn 28 on May 10 this year had the police reined in rogues in a white private bus that had no business to be on the road that night.
My #metoo stories are nowhere near as bad as what many, many people had to endure. I simply have thousands of paper cuts of occasions when I was made to feel unsafe and degraded because of my gender.
Experiences Being a Female in a Perverted Society
Imagine this: you’re a 13-year-old female. You’re wearing simple clothing, just a t-shirt and jeans. Nothing sexy about that, right? It’s a plain-Jane outfit. You’re doing something simple; you’re with your mom at the grocery store getting some groceries. In the aisle comes four men, each one doing a double-take as they pass by you, some of them giving you the "elevator eyes." You know those eyes—the eyes that look you up and down like you’re something tasty. You stare right back at them, wondering what they’re looking at. At first, you’re in denial—they couldn’t possibly be looking at you like that, right? They were in their 50s, you in your first year as a teenager. Thirteen-year-old me didn’t know why they were staring. I thought maybe I had some leftover chocolate on my lip, but, alas, my mom told me it was because they were perverts. She told me that some men don’t have control, and that they stare and think horrendous thoughts, all at the expense of a little girl. This day was the pivotal moment when I knew that the world wasn’t what I thought it was.
You may have heard about or seen the hashtag, #MeToo spreading around recently on social media. If not, then you probably aren't on social media too much. Either way, I'll make a quick recap about the social media campaign. The most recent trending hashtag caught on after Alyssa Milano sent out a tweet encouraging victims of sexual assault and harassment to use the hashtag. Some simply said, me too, while others shared some or all of their story. These brave words and stories spread across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for many to see. People bared their scars for everyone in the hopes of making some change. People cut open their wounds to show other victims that they are not alone and that sexual abuse and harassment are an epidemic. Before I get any further, I want to note that the Me Too movement was started by Tarana Burke over ten years ago. There is a great article about how the movement was started and her activism work, click here to read it.
You Don't Have to Say No
When I was 16-years-old, I realized I wasn't your normal female teen. I never drank. I never partied. The most I did was pretend to smoke weed once and it was super obvious.
When I Said #Me Too
It was two days ago that I scrolled through my Facebook feed. I spotted a few sporadic posts with the simple phrase, "me too." Thinking it was just another weird social media game, I ignored it. It wasn't until I saw a few more that I decided to research it further. The first thing that popped up was a tweet by Alyssa Milano.