During this last week, I have been astounded at the outpouring of response to #MeToo. It seems like womxn from all over the globe have desperately grabbed hold of the hashtag and gasped out the words, me too. Friends of mine are using the hashtag. I had no idea that they experienced some form of sexual harassment, abuse or rape. Strangers sharing stories of horror, helplessness and humiliation. The magnitude of it is overwhelming.
I thought that there were many good men and a few bad men. Now it appears there are many bad men and a few good men. I honour and respect those good men and ask you to stand tall and be allies. Although I understood the #menaretrash campaign, I couldn’t bring myself to use it. I thought it was a little extreme. Now, I get it.
I feel sick. I have a knot in my stomach. I am devastated. Not only because of the stories of abuse that are being shared, but because of how normal rape culture is. Someone close to me told me, “That’s how men joke. It’s not serious,” when discussing a joke about a sexily clad womxn. “It’s not meant to offend.” But it does.
As horrific as the sexual offenses are, it goes even further. I often feel bullied, ignored and unimportant when in the company of men. I assumed it was my stuff. I realise that I am merely one of millions who feel the same way. I’m talking about every day little things that build up and up until we explode in a rage of ME TOO!!
During this last week alone, I have experienced two incidents where I have been dismissed purely because I am female. Both times, the patronizing attitudes were girded in politeness and professionalism, but I was not heard. It’s annoying. It’s infuriating. And it’s never-ending.
I am a womxn. A human being with feelings, desires, dreams, and talents. My body belongs to me, not to anyone else. It is not to be lusted after, talked about, groped or raped.
I was silent for years about the sexual abuse that I experienced as a little girl. I raged in silence over the powerlessness that I felt. Finally, I told my stories and felt a measure of relief. I moved on and surprise, surprise, discovered that I felt most safe and loved with another womxn, whom I am happily married to.
I don’t hate men, but I am wary of them. I don’t trust them. I’m just so bloody disappointed. Are there any men who understand?