I didn't post something the first day of the #metoo campaign. I didn't post one the second day. My thought was, "I'm a woman; of course everyone knows I've experienced this; what's the point?" But slowly, the hashtag gained momentum, and strong women everywhere were sharing their stories, often for the first time. My personal stories rang eerily familiar: an attack in college, a groping on the subway, a boss in my 20s with a file in HR a mile high who would not be fired. Over the last several days, I've read versions of my stories in my social feeds again and again. I am clearly not alone, and that's cold comfort.
#metoo has become a movement that calls for acknowledgment, healing, and forces us to reckon with what we take for granted. By exposing the magnitude of the problem, it's showing us with brutal overtness that being a survivor of harassment and often assault is what it is to be a woman in this world.
I am clearly not alone, and that's cold comfort.
I've been thinking about raising tiny humans and how I cannot imagine sitting my daughter down someday and explaining how to deal with this because sadly, honey, this is the way the world works. I mean, look at the president. Or sitting my son down and explaining what to do when his friends do this, how rampant it is, and why though his world will validate these actions over and over by allowing it to happen silently, it's not OK. In the words of my preschooler about a boy in her class who bites, "Not OK, Mama. Never ever." Never ever.
How great would it be if we never ever again had to deal with this as a culture? If we started seeing one another as humans, worthy of dignity and respect. If we stopped telling girls to go be anything they want in this world while grabbing their bodies, shaming them, attacking them, derailing them, and expecting silence and compliance because honey, that's just the way the world is and you have to protect yourself. No. Not good enough. We will never truly progress until we bring these stories to light, put a name and a face on them, and stop them. Because the face of these attacks isn't some movie mogul and Hollywood starlet. It's that guy in your office, your friend from high school. It's your wife. Your sister. And it will be your daughter, and there's nothing you can do to protect her. Until we all stand up with a collective ROAR and say enough. This ends now. There is too much goodness and too much humanity in our world for this to continue.
We've been talking a lot about our new mantra over here at mbg: You. We. All. and it keeps echoing in my mind as I read these stories. It may happen to you, but we stand together in this and we are all affected by it. Just as the good acts that we do send ripple effects of love through the world, these acts of violence and misogyny don't happen to one person; they ripple and affect us all. We are all connected in this, and these overt actions of demeaning and demoralizing women don't affect just one of us; they affect all. I am also keenly aware that this issue isn't just a woman issue, that people everywhere are attacked because of many things, gender being only one.
We are all connected in this, and these overt actions of demeaning and demoralizing women don't affect just one of us; they affect all.
I ask of myself and all of you: Please listen. Please stop forgiving this behavior. Please stop assuming it's more complicated to tell the truth and that just forgetting about it and moving on will make it go away. We are all better than this. We have big voices. No matter what's happened in the past, it's not too late to stand up for women and everyone being harassed and attacked. Let's use these voices to end this culture of harassment, rape, and secrecy now. We deserve something better. Our tiny humans deserve something more. You. We. All. can do better. Never ever again.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by sexual harassment or assault, don't be afraid to seek help. Talk to someone you know and trust, seek professional counseling, or call any of the numbers provided by the Feminist Majority Foundation. Read more about #metoo here.