Reflecting on #MeToo a Year Later.
When the #MeToo movement exploded last Fall, I was upset. I was upset that I was expected to tell my story for people to acknowledge there was a problem. Why did I have to out myself so that men in this world accepted that sexual harassment and abuse was a reality for so many of us? I didn’t owe anyone anything, I thought.
When #MeToo was flooding my social feeds, around me, everyone talked about the empowered female voice and a change that was coming. I was proud of this; the rumblings of a much needed female revolution; our voices finally being heard. I wanted the movement to continue with roaring passion, with vigour, and momentum. But… I didn’t want to tell my story. I knew so many women who had endured abuse, that for anyone to think there was a woman out there who hadn’t, seemed bizarre and impossible to me. Instead, I wanted to know, “What were YOU going to do with my story?”
Yesterday someone asked me if I was battling any demons. In an effort to be authentic and create a real connection with them, I decided to share that I, like everyone else, was indeed battling demons. As I thought about how to express myself, I struggled to find the words…how was one supposed to say these things?
“I was abused” didn’t seem clear enough.
“I was sexually abused” hit me like a tonne of bricks. Was I ready to say such heavy words to someone I was just getting to know?
And then it came to me.
It started with my own #MeToo story.
I realized I didn’t need to explain exactly what had happened to me. I didn’t have to relive the pain I had experienced. I just had to say #MeToo. Braver, more courageous women had come before me to create safety and a platform where I was not alone anymore. Where a hashtag and two words told everyone exactly what had happened, and the details weren’t required.
A deep sense of gratitude washed over me as I reflected on this. So focused on myself a year ago, I understood but couldn’t embrace the #MeToo movement. I cheered on the empowered women from the sidelines instead of adding my voice and empowering myself.
To the women who had the courage before me, I say #ThankYou. Thank you for creating social acceptance around sentiments that we weren’t allowed to speak of before. I am deeply grateful.
To others, cheering from the sidelines, I am also deeply grateful. It’s true, you don’t owe anyone your story if you have one. You also don’t need a story to support the movement. Thank you for your cheers. For lending your voice to the many others, all chanting the same words: