No. YOU, too, motherfuckers.
I mean, come on. Asking women to respond Me, too if we’ve ever experienced harassment or assault by a man is as absurd as asking black people to respond Me, too if they’ve ever experienced racism.
And what will it change?
Women must live on the spectrum between harassment and rape every single day. Like any group of humans despised by another group more powerful, women must be wary, cautious, attentive. Awareness of our vulnerability is a constant factor in our decisions about everything, from where we park our cars to how we dress our bodies: According to RAINN, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.
In some cultures in our world, misogyny has been so intensified — as if cooked down to a concentrated sludge — that the roster of fear and abuse women must cope with includes the mutilation of their most private parts to the horrifying realities of the sex slave trade to the always-present threat of rape as a weapon in war zones.
And the children!
This is difficult enough. I can’t talk about the children today.
As the Me, too movement sweeps through my social media feeds, I am not a bit surprised by how many women are responding, but I am rattled and upset by it. While recognizing its importance, I’m asking myself, What good will this do? Whose consciousness is being raised here? And the questions that reveal my generation and the parents that raised us: Do we have to talk about this? What’s the point? Just keep moving; don’t dwell; plenty of people have it worse off than you. I heard those words so many times growing up, they’re part of who I am, of how I cope.
I respect women who post Me too memes. I empathize with women dealing with systemic harassment in their professions. I admire women telling terrible stories in matter-of-fact tones. I envy women who speak of the support they received —
and that’s when my mind lurches and I’m saying to myself, Wait. What? I envy a woman her experience with assault? This is fucked up.
I have not been able to bring myself to write Me, too. It feels so trivial. The words are tiny, weak; in fact, they’re fucking pathetic. Me, too, like we’re children, raising our hands. Me, too! Me, too! It’s a trend, it’s a meme trending through social media. In fact, as I write this, the Me too trend may have already peaked, and folks can move on, and nothing will be any different. Maybe some men will feel a little better, as if enlightened, but don’t fool yourselves.
We watch as the village piles all its blame onto the goat they chase away, and we know damn well that Harvey Weinstein is just a face in the herd. He may be an alpha goat, but he’s just a fucking goat, and heaping the sins of the village on him and leaving him to die in the desert do nothing to change the herd. His condemnation becomes the subterfuge and the redemption of all the other fucking goats, and nothing changes. It may be more secretive, more shameful, but, hey, for some folks, that just adds to the fun.
I was molested by my father when I was eight years old. He was drunk; he was in a black-out; I’m sure he didn’t remember what he did. For months and months after it happened, I drew a comic, over and over, many times, dozens and dozens of times, with 9 squares. In the first square, a little girl walks up to a swingset. She begins to swing. She is happy and her dress and hair are pretty. A Bad Man is sneaking up on her. In successive squares, he watches her, then grabs her, then stabs her to death. In the 9th square she lies lifeless on the ground, her hair tangled, her dress torn, Xs for eyes.
I didn’t tell anyone. Who would I tell?
Years later, a long time ago, a counselor encourages me to confront my father with what he had done. That’s out of the question, I tell her. I would never hurt my father by telling him that. What would be the point?
We’re taught early to run protection rackets on our men.
How often do you see a woman coming along behind her asshole man, apologizing for his behavior? Ever been there yourself? I know I have.
My own sister was once married to a man who molested me on numerous occasions. When I finally told her about it, she refused to believe me and stopped speaking to me for years, until the pressure of living the lie in her marriage broke her. They divorced; he’s thriving; she’s still broken; our relationship never recovered.
I was raped by two strangers, for hours, at gunpoint. They made me stop screaming and fighting by asking, Do you want your daddy to find you out here dead?
No, no, don’t hurt my daddy. Take what you want.
And besides, I was hitchhiking. It was my own fault. The cops and the nurses and the doctors and the brother-in-law who couldn’t keep his hands off me, they all said it was my fault. What did you expect? A young woman hitchhiking. Shame on you! And besides, you couldn’t have been raped. You’re not even beaten up!
I never told my dad I had been raped. What would be the point? What would it change? Why hurt him?
Even the statute of limitations is a protection racket. In Texas, the law specifies that the statute of limitations for sexual assault is ten years, unless probable cause exists that the ‘defendant’ has raped five or more other women. Five.
It’s not just my aversion to sharing the bad shit that’s happened to me that distresses me. It’s knowing that the Me too movement won’t change a thing. It will not change a fucking thing. It trivializes, gives people a moment of outrage, then we’ll move on. It’s a trend, like Prayers for _______ [fill in the blank with the latest incident of gun violence] or Prayers for Texas or Prayers for Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, in the little over two hours I’ve spent writing this piece, someone has taken a life — their own or someone else’s — with a gun, a Texan made homeless by Harvey succumbs to despair, a Puerto Rican grapples with the dark, daily filth of his abandonment, and 75 Americans experience sexual assault. Of those 75, you know damn well nearly all of them are women, and some of them are little girls.
I read comments from men who say, This Me, too thing has been so good for me. I had no idea so many women were having this experience. What?! Then you’re not fucking paying attention! It’s impossible to not know unless your perceptions are impaired by a blind eye, a deaf ear, a callous heart, a privileged mind, a hard dick.
Yeah, ’cause some of you boys get off on this shit.
So, every man who has ever knowingly harassed a woman, every man who has laid his hand on his wife’s sister’s thigh, every man who refuses to believe her when a woman accuses a celebrity of rape, every man who believes that women fantasize about being raped, every man who gets off on rape scenes in the media, every man who thinks nothing of telling jokes that demean and objectify women, every man who lusts after his daughter or his stepdaughter or his niece or his granddaughter, every man who catcalls and whistles at women on the street, every man who has taken a woman too inebriated to give consent, and every monster who has committed the violent act of rape, I want to see YOU post the following words: Me, too.
Maybe then would things begin to change. No more scapegoating, pretending, equivocating, blaming the victim, denying. No more waiting for the women in your lives to protect you, educate you, nor enlighten you. Just one massive Me Too Mea Culpa, motherfuckers. This is on you.