It’s been around three years since it happened, and almost a year since I first wrote about it. It’s 12:27 am, and three years later my emotions are still raw, and yes I am still hurting. I’m healing, yes. But I’m still hurting. And no matter what anyone says there will always be a part of me that hurts.
You know, it’s ironic actually. I’m beginning this the same way I began writing about this for the first time. My head so full of my own thoughts, that I had to wake up and somehow figure out the words I’m feeling.
Here’s the thing. I’m not here to talk about my own story too much. Not because it doesn’t matter. I know it matters. But because my story is only one of many. To give you an idea, according to a RAINN statistic, “On average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.” Doesn’t that just make your throat tighten, and your skin crawl? Mine too.
I was having a conversation with a friend just now, and when I said it’s okay (in response to what happened to me), she said that it’s not okay for anyone to be doing this. And yes. I agree. But I told her that even though it’s not okay in that sense at all, and that it even still affects everything I do. Like I said, I hurt everyday. But I try not to terrorize myself over it. I still have life in me, and I have to make the most of it. Some victims can’t even claim that much for themselves.
This #MeToo hashtag came much after the Brock Turner case. It came much after the India’s Daughter. But while I have mixed emotions about the whole thing, most of me is happy that it came at all.
I live in a society that saw it better to criticize clothes, beverages, and victims, rather than the person that saw it okay to take away a person’s sanity, self-respect, and self-esteem, all in the same swift motion. I live in a society where people think an attacker’s performance in swimming is more valuable than the screams, the tears, the resistance of a victim. I live in a society that sees the victim’s bloody, torn apart insides, but not the attacker’s blood stained hands.
On one hand I want to shake people by the shoulders screaming, “Do you finally get it now?” But on the other hand, I want to drop to my knees and just whisper, “Thank you for noticing us now.” I’m happy that the Internet has exploded with #MeToo after Weinstein’s great “feat,” but I’m sad that it’s taken so much for people to cock (yes, pun intended) their heads, and see just how many of “us” exist.
But, in the end…I guess slow and steady may win the race after all. Maybe we can’t change every mindset with two simple words and a number sign. But if we can, if even one man or woman just steps back and finally asks if things are really worth just shutting the door on…maybe we’ll get somewhere. And hey, there’s over 321,000 of us every year remember? If each of our voices reaches even one mind, can you all imagine the change?
But wait. Snap out it. Realistically, saying and doing are two different things. You can say you support people like me, but you gotta show it too. That means calling out behavior that’s inappropriate, controlling your language, being there for all the #MeToos you know.
But here’s what you really need to remember. #MeToo isn’t just me. It’s you. And you, and yes you too. Because one day, it could be you. It could be someone close to you.
We’re in this together. And we’ve got to win.