This silent hashtag start circling around the web late Sunday from a tweet that had shared about if any woman had been sexually harassed or assaulted to start putting up #METOO as part of their status on any social media form, to share the magnitude of how big this problem is.
For those that have suffered days, weeks, months or years living silently with their “me too” harassment, I am one of you. Although I don’t think anyone needs to feel that they should share their story or owe it to anyone to do so, the reason I’m sharing mine is because when I feel something this strong about, I write. And this movement is one that I want to share my story to help those around me, but I’m also writing this for my daughter to know that you should never feel betrayed or blamed for something you didn’t want to happen in the first place.
In college I had been on a few dates with a few different guys. Most of the boys I had been on a few first dates with were polite, friendly, engaging but then there was one that stood out above the rest.
He was different. He was not only sweet, he was extremely touchy. A little too much. I remember telling him I didn’t want to hold his hand yet. He didn’t care and grabbed it anyways.
We sat side by side at dinner and he kept putting his hand on my thigh. I moved his hand away and said “Please stop.” and do you know what he said? “You’re supposed to let me do this. It’s my right as a man to put my hand here.”
I honestly was so startled and tried to take his hand away but it only made him grip it tighter.
I should have gotten up and left. I should have taken his hand off, slammed it on the table and threw my drink in his face. I should have…
But I sat there, frozen. Too stiff to move because I wanted to this guy to like me and I didn’t know what to do.
Of course after he took me home, I couldn’t have gotten out of the car fast enough- called a girlfriend over and cried with her about how awful the night had been. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I took another leap of faith a few months later on a date with another guy.
He was a guy on the football team, someone who didn’t hold my hand on the first date but sat across from me and had a fun, light hearten conversation. At the end of this date, he gave me a hug. his hands not near anywhere near my lower half but safely around my back and said he wanted to see me again. This guy turned out to be my husband someone I’m still head over heels for 10 years later.
Thankfully he also came to my rescue when a guy that had began stalking me in college showed up in my apartment and locked me in the bathroom, refusing to let me leave. I was terrified. I tried to move past him but he kept his back against the door and kept asking me over and over why I didn’t have feeling for him. All I remember thinking was I needed to leave the room and finally was able to get past him, run out of my apartment and called Zach in tears asking him to come over. The boy left and Zach made sure I was Ok after my roommates came home. That was one of the most scariest moments.
The point of this #MeToo movement isn’t to just share your story ( because I’ve already received so many e-mails, texts, tweets and comments about your stories ) but because this should not be tolerated by woman, girls or even boys and men. Woman can be just as harassed as men can be or anyone thinking they have the power to put their hands or voice on someone else.
I remember being in Europe with my sister a few years ago and while walking the streets in a jeans, tennis shoes and a shirt that barely showed my mid drift, we were getting cat calls from the local Italians, the locals from Barcelona calling out to us as we walked arm in arm in the strange cities.
Someone had laughed in our group of girls and said ” They are totally coming onto us ” and all I felt was violated and wanting to try and cover myself up more. “Hey there baby! Come on over” someone would shout in Italian or French. I wanted to hide in a corner. It wasn’t what woman should here in public.
I don’t want my children knowing this is acceptable to do or take from anyone. If you’ve been brave to share your story, or even just put a #MeToo on your status, I cry those silent tears with you and commend you for even putting it up. Let’s be better than this. Let’s continue to share why it’s unacceptable and should not be tolerated. Let’s do this for our kids and our children’s kids.
But most of all, let’s do it for us.