Trigger Warning: This post contains discussions on sexual assault.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few days, you’ve seen friends and family members posting “Me, Too” on their social media profiles. Sometimes, that’s all they post. Sometimes, they share more. Sometimes, they share it all.
#MeToo is a grassroots movement where victims of sexual harassment and abuse are coming forward and telling the world…this happened to me, too. You’re not alone. We’re not alone. In fact, look how not alone we are. The movement took off quickly, and the response was tremendous. Because the number of victims out there is tremendous.
I’ve also shared my story more than a few times on social media, and on this blog, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse and as a rape victim during college. (You can read those blogs here). I don’t talk so often about sexual harassment because I just don’t have the time.
I don’t talk so often about sexual harassment because I just don’t have the time. I don’t even have the mental ability to hold all those instances in my brain. It’s so “regular,” so often, so…normal to pretend I didn’t hear the lewd discussions about my body when walking past a group of men, or didn’t feel the pinch on my ass, or didn’t notice that that man didn’t just “trip” on the metro, but rather purposefully groped my breast. So normal to pretend that removing my wedding ring for a job interview is normal, so the man interviewing me won’t think I’m leaving soon to go have kids. So normal to rush to my car at night quickly and lock the doors, my keys sticking out between my knuckles, because at any moment…I could be raped again. So normal to look the other way, to pretend that it’s not happening, to mentally paint a less frightening world for myself just to get through the day like every other woman out there.
Except, it’s not normal at all.
In a perfect world, this showing of hands will help people realize how prevalent it is and how much is needed to be done to change our current culture. So, that’s the question…what do we do next?
What Comes After #MeToo?
That’s the big question. Okay, great, we all spoke up. How do we change it? It’s so overwhelming to even think about. That’s fair because it is. Rape culture wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be solved overnight.
But, it can be solved in a generation.
We can resolve to teach our sons that consent is paramount above all else. We can teach our sons to step in and not look the other way when their friends are engaging in “locker room talk,” or worse. We can teach our daughters that their bodies our their own. They don’t have to hug their grandma if they don’t want to. Show respect, but make your own choices with your body. No one has to touch you. We can teach our daughters that they are more than their physical appearance, and they have more than that to offer future partners. And yes, men and boys can be victims, too.
We can elect role models who don’t grab women by the pussy. We can hire teachers and tutors and coaches who prioritize children’s safety. We can believe victims when they come forward. We can empathize and understand, instead of shame and silence. We can be the support for future victims that we never had for ourselves.
We can teach all of our children all of this, and then maybe, the rape culture we live in now won’t be around when our children come of age. Maybe our children will never have to say #MeToo…too.
Do you have ideas for how our world can change and grow moving forward? Let’s discuss in the comments!