Of Course, Me Too

But it’s Not My Job to Remind You How Pervasive Sexual Violence Is

These images of ambivalent men passively observing distressed women are used with permission from the British Library Collection

The story of my rape has been told, retold, questioned, and cross-examined. It has been condensed to a half-page incident report, laid out on stainless steel tables in interrogation rooms, and cut up into bite-sized, more palatable pieces suitable for public consumption. It is the first thing that comes up when you google my name.

Survivors of sexual violence have to regurgitate their trauma and display it for all to see in order for rape to be seen as a real threat. Femmes are expected to be equal parts vulnerable and outspoken- to feel everything and show it off. We are constantly tasked with cutting ourselves open to display the anatomy of our trauma for the sake of educating the men in our lives.

While the effectiveness of this type of public airing of experiences of sexual assault is up for debate, we shouldn’t have to resort to it to raise awareness. No victim enjoys re-traumatizing themselves for a hashtag. Rape culture is ever-present and everywhere. If you are not seeing it, you are deliberately looking away. Those who need a certain threshold of survivors coming forward to “get it” will never get it.

What if #metoo compelled us to own up to the times we saw but didn’t intervene, or when we blamed the victim, or when we wanted to speak up but couldn’t find the words? What if we used #metoo to take ownership of the times we were complicit to rape culture to own up to instead of putting the onus on the victim?

So yes, #metoo. I am a survivor of sexual violence. But we can’t dismantle rape culture when people are being complacent in it- and that includes me, too.