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If you’ve opened your social media feed in the past few days, you’ve surely seen the flood of “Me Too” posts.
The original post read something like this:
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.”
But as the days went on, soon we just saw the lone hashtag or some created graphics which made their post more obvious to me. I was not trying to ignore them. I know the startling statistic that only 6 out of every 100 assaults is actually reported. This just made me shudder. That meant that for every single #metoo, there was more than likely another 90 women reading who were not posting their own “me too.”
For the past two days, I scrolled through my feed remaining silent until last night.
I typed up my post three different times, wrote words of support to others, then deleted them. I wrote angry words to my attackers. Deleted those too. I even made a version of a post that said: “Me Too x3.” Three times in my life: once by a family friend who worked for our family’s company, once by a boyfriend, and once by a massage therapist. I decided not to post this one because I had two thoughts:
People are going to wonder why you didn’t learn your lesson the first time and stay away from those kind of guys.
Don’t post that because then you will get all the sympathy posts and people feeling sorry for you.
No kindness for myself.
I fought internally over whether or not to post. I didn’t want to add more negative emotion around events over a decade old.
Maybe, I’ll just not say anything. There are plenty of #metoo posts already.
Then I remembered the statistic.
For every me too post, there were 90 women like me who were reading but not posting. What if my post helped even one of those other women know that she was not alone…that she mattered…that her life was important. What if my post was the first thing a friend or family member read tonight that helped them begin to heal. What if those words shined into the life of someone who was assaulted recently and wanted to know that they would survive.
I survived. But I wonder what I would tell my daughter if she was on social media and saw all this happening. I wonder what I will share with her about my past and being raped. This conversation strikes me with the worst kind of anxiety. I remember having to tell my own mom what happened. The fear welling up in her eyes. I cannot even imagine the words that I will need in order to answer her inevitable question of “Why mom?”
Honestly, I haven’t been back on social media since I posted it. My decision to post came out of anger seeing my own friends who posted having comments from other ignorant men saying,“Me three!” or posting senseless GIFs in the comments. My own husband did this to one of his friends because he didn’t know what the post was about. I promptly bit his head off and called him an insensitive jerk as well as one of his Army buddies.
If you have no idea what you are talking about then shut the front door!” (Clearly censored.)
My decision to write this blog post came from the fact that my hands shook typing those two words.
I had nightmares and could hardly sleep. I cried scrolling through all those posts. It triggered me. I curled up into a ball. My service dog stood over me alerting as I was shaking in terror, wanting to crawl out of my own violated skin. It was as if my body remembered it like it was yesterday.
My husband could not touch me without me reacting and shuddering. The man who has never hurt me could only stand there and suffer—watching his wife in agony over the abuse other men had dealt her. And he could do nothing for me. And rather than hugging myself in compassion, my thought was…
I thought we were over this…it was a decade ago. Just let it go.
I’ve done almost every therapy known to humankind and most days, I am strong. This #metoo movement has reminded me of that time when I did not feel so strong, but used, violated, and broken.
Whether you decided to share or not, I stand with you.
I stand for you if needed. If you need love today, I offer that. If you want self-care, I send that time. If you need light, I lift you towards it. And if you need a blanket and a corner to sit in and cry, I will build you that nest of safety. I crawled out of mine long enough to type these words, and I give myself permission to crawl back into it if necessary. You are not alone as a #metoo mom.