When I came home from work this evening, I started the usual newsfeed scroll to catch up on any news of the day. I moved house today and started a new job so I hadn’t checked in on any social media, so when I saw my newsfeed was filled with the majority of my female friends posting two words – “me too,” I was wondering what on earth I’d missed.
Then I saw a post explaining the relevance of these two words.
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.
When I understood, I physically felt my heart sink.
There has been so much discussion in recent days about sexual harassment after the Harvey Weinstein atrocities came to light and I have felt myself wanting to write something but I just couldn’t find the words.
The world is acting like these acts are not something that too many women are all too familiar with. Sadly, this man, will remind many of us of the man, or men of our past.
These news stories will remind us of that man who whispered inappropriate words in our ear. The man who catcalled us in the street. The man who tried to put his hand up our skirt in a bar. The man who threatened our careers, our relationships, if we did not do him a “favour.” The man who would not take no for an answer. The man who left us bruised and ashamed, but we were told it was ok because “he just gets like that when he is drunk.’
I do not mean to generalize a gender, I have some incredible, wonderful men in my life. But, there are also men out there who we are all starting to find the strength to expose.
I got so angry earlier this week when reading comments about how the girls who Harvey Weinstein assaulted in the first years were to blame for the later assaults.
I don’t know if you’ve ever known anyone who has tried to prove a sexual assault or rape, but there a million reasons why women do not come forward. Aside from the trauma, the shame, the myriad of “what if” thoughts spinning around their mind, there is so much at risk for a woman. Whether it be a career, friendships, relationships, family judgement, religious or cultural consequences – whatever the reason a woman feels like she cannot come forward, the woman can never be to blame for the future actions of a man.
If women felt they could come forward, that they would be believed, rather than being asked what they were wearing, how much they’d had to drink or how many men they’d had sex with – perhaps, yes, women coming forward could stop these actions from escalating. But they are not to blame when they do not come forward. The perpetrator is to blame. The system that stops women coming forward is it blame.
I am so proud of every one of my friends who I saw post those two words today. It may not seem like a big deal but to admit something like that to world, when sometimes it is hard enough to admit to even to yourself, it really is a big deal.
I hope that all women out there who have been hurt, find some comfort in this movement that shows that you are not alone. Of course, this solidarity cannot take away the pain of whatever has been experienced but I hope that it provides an opportunity for the world to understand that Harvey Weinstein is indeed just the tip of the iceberg, and not just in the entertainment industry.
We need to talk about this.
And for the record, yes, me too.