I know, I know. This was something that was all over your news feeds last week. I really debated whether I wanted to speak up or not, and if I did, how I would put into words the baggage I’ve carried all these years.
Seeing the hashtag being used from so many of my friends made me so incredibly sad but at the same time, it didn’t surprise me. There are so many women and men who are carrying around the heaviness that comes from unwanted sexual advances, harassment, and assault.
This hashtag has really brought to light something we already know is going on, but we sometimes shy away from. It has created an even stronger community of individuals and shows those who experience these happenings that you are not alone.
I can count on more than one hand the number of unwanted sexual advances that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. I can tell you about the feelings and thoughts that went through my head when I experienced the assaults. I can tell you about the guilt and shame I felt the next day and the years to come.
#metoo has helped so many come forward and say, “I’m not alone” in these awful experiences. The underlying problem that’s held me back all this week and last week has been the fear of judgement, which is the fear so many have.
I’m here to say, throw that shame away because you are not alone and it is not your fault.
It’s awful and crappy at the amount of people that this happens to and you may feel discouraged. But don’t! The greatest thing we can do it to keep raising awareness! My newsfeed was blowing up with the hashtag and talk of sexual assault last week but this week feels so quiet.
DON'T BE QUIET. We got to continuing speaking up and saying, this isn’t okay! This behavior is not acceptable.
YOU ARE A SURVIVOR, NOT A VICTIM. A long time ago, I went to see a therapist and what she taught me has helped me through so much in my life. When bad things happen, you can choose to go two different ways: be the victim or be the survivor. Being the survivor has given me the strength to overcome so many dark times. Who you are is defined by how you react to situations. We must not give the power to our attackers.
REACH OUT WHEN YOU'RE READY. You are in no way obligated to tell your story. And when you do tell your story, you get to choose how you want to tell it and how much of it you want to say.
Sexual harassment and assault can mess you up in so many ways, but being a survivor and speaking out against the harassment and assault can be more powerful and meaningful than you can imagine. When you have to confront sexual harassment, remember that you’ve got allies that will stand by and support you.
Don’t worry, I’m with you. #metoo.