The Untold Side of #MeToo

I almost didn’t write about #MeToo.

I almost decided it wouldn’t be worth it-there were already so many women sharing their stories, and my own weren’t “that bad” in comparison.

I almost sat this one out.

But here we are.

For every woman who has shared her story over the past few days, there are many who have not-not all of us felt safe opening up and putting those experiences online, not all of us felt that we could participate without facing some kind of negative repercussions. And that is understandable.

However, these are not the untold stories that I want to discuss here.

For every woman who has shared #MeToo, there was a man who made her feel unsafe.

Who catcalled her on the street. Who followed her in the dark. Who sent her unwanted pictures, or begged for pictures she didn’t want to send. Who groped her at a party. Who ignored her “No.” Who gave her that bruise. Who took of advantage of her when she had too much to drink.

Think about how many women raised their voices to share their trauma with the world, to let each other know “you’re not alone,” who mustered up all of their courage and elaborated on those two little words and let their friends and family know exactly what they had been through, even though they knew some people would still not believe them.

It’s fucking hard.

And how many of the men who perpetrated this issue had the luxury of silence?

Who could completely ignore the hashtag and never reflect on their actions, because they got away with it?

How many of them never faced any consequences for what they did?

While women had to be brave, once again, had to relive all the harassment and abuse and misogyny that we’ve been dealing with our whole lives?

It’s always on us.

I think of the men behind my own #MeToo stories.

Let’s start with three men who catcalled me on a fifteen minute walk the other day-it was 10 AM and I was wearing long sleeves and pants, what would have protected me then?

Or how about the dude from my high school who found a way to send me aggressive drunk texts no matter how many platforms I blocked him on?

Or all the faceless guys who have grabbed my ass in clubs, or the guy who spilled my own drink on me, offered to buy me another one, and then tried to make out with me when I said no?

Or the man who followed me in broad daylight in my own city and wouldn’t leave me alone until I firmly told him several times that I had a boyfriend, because he respected another man’s “ownership” of me more than he respected my own agency to say no?

Or the guy who asked to “spray whip cream” in my face when I was walking out of work one night?

Did any of them share a story about what they did?

Or is just on me to share a story about how their actions affected me?

Sadly, that’s not even an exhaustive list.

But some women have faced such horrible abuse that I catch myself feeling ashamed for making “such a big deal” out of harassment that occurred on the street or in a bar.

And yet, in the midst of millions of #MeToo posts, I’ve seen exactly one Medium article from a man confessing his role in harassing women.

That’s the other half of it. I already know that every woman has a #MeToo story. Is anyone else willing to own up to being on the other side?

Like what you read? Give Jane Harkness a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.