I struggled with whether or not to post “Me, too” on Facebook. I felt like my experiences paled in comparison to what others have gone through. I have been “privileged” in my experiences of sexual harassment and assault, meaning they were relatively minor. Which is a weird thing to say. Because I haven’t been raped, I didn’t feel like I couldn’t own “Me, too.” But no woman is immune.
As a middle schooler, about 11-12 years old, a karate instructor told me to do the butterfly press because it would “give me cleavage.” I didn’t want to go to karate much after that, but I didn’t tell my parents why.
As a regular runner, I have been catcalled plenty of times. Some were more aggressive than others. One time the person catcalling was by a child, with a parent in the driver’s seat.
In college, I didn’t say “no” or “yes.” I just laid there.
All women have had these experiences. We hear things, we try to ignore, we pretend, we suffer.
I have two young daughters. They will have these experiences. I hope the world will be a different, but I know that theirs may be worse than I have experienced. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I will educate them. I will warn them to go to a party with girl friends. To not take the drinks. I will tell them to ignore sometimes and scream from the top of your lungs at others. But when our president “grabs pussies” and a child verbally harasses a woman, we know it won’t stop.
We need to be each other’s allies. No victim blaming. (Yes, we can wear whatever the fuck we want.) WE did not call, harass, grab, or rape ourselves. And sure, maybe a “harmless” comment doesn’t hurt. But it made me quit a sport. It forces others out of graduate school. And worse.
Men need to be our allies. Teach your sons, stop your friends, take risks. Harvey Weinstein is a piece of garbage. And untold hundreds – maybe thousands – of men and women enabled his actions.
But it will keep happening. I make no illusions. Education, conversation will help. For many, these two words have brought women together.
Tonight, I was having dinner with my girls, and Selena Gomez’ Me & My Girls came on. The words brought be an odd comfort. A pop star, using her voice and fans to get tell men that no, I won’t go home with you, I am with my ladies. It is an odd sisterhood, that of “me, too.” It is sad, at times tragic. But I feel somehow closer to the women in my life. We didn’t have these “me, too” conversations, and now we are. And in sisterhood and conversations, comfort. This, too, will fade. Powerful men will use their positions to take advantage of women. Boys will “be boys.”
But, I’m here for you, my girls. I will be here for you and I will try to stop some of the ugliness in the world from visiting you.