Yeah, #MeToo…So Maybe Let’s Talk
I’ve written and shared about my assault on multiple occasions only to delete the posts because it felt painfully uncomfortable to write or speak about it, even in 140 characters.
As I saw more women sharing their stories of assault out loud, I found myself replaying my own experiences, specifically the first time, over and over…so much so that I knew that I needed to finally share without remorse.
I was 5.
He was 16.
I named my Teddy Bear after him.
No idea why.
My roommate set that bear on fire during freshman year of college.
I never made the connection about the bear and him until a few years ago…during therapy.
The thing about harassment and assault is that it never really leaves you. I carried the guilt of thinking that I somehow provoked his behavior for years. What I felt is what many girls and women still feel today. The pain and guilt is real. The #MeToo stream on twitter and facebook showed me that.
In education, and specifically in this space of edtech where sharing your story has become a bit buzzword-ish, this isn’t a story often shared.
As a matter of fact, we don’t talk about sexual harassment/assault against girls and women…period.
We promote that kids should join social media, create youtube channels and develop a digital footprint…only to ignore the harsh realities of online harassment. Sure, we talk blanketly about digital citizenship but this deserves a specificity that we too often dismiss.
We didn’t talk about #GamerGate nor do we talk about the overwhelming realities of workplace harassment in tech and yet we are quick to change our entire curriculums in order to send more girls into this field…along with boys who also need such conversations.
When Ashley Judd keynoted ISTE and spoke of her own assault, many called it morbid and dismissed it as inappropriate for the venu.
When a woman in edtech accused a prominent EDU speaker of harassment, blogs were written to defend him. Private conversations took place to dismiss her.
Privately, events started adding lines into their “participant agreement” about what would happen in the case of assault/harassment…an agreement that most barely read.
We certainly have never talked about it.
On the surface, we look as if we’ve had no incidents but I wonder how many still choose not to speak up because they knew that they too would be dismissed, blacklisted…ignored.
It’s not just Hollywood…
Right in front of you…
Tonight I posted my story and learned that my assaulter was also my sister’s.
37 years later.
Now, we’ll talk about it.