All of these #MeToo posts have me thinking about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. While I have been fortunate that my own “MeToo’s” haven’t been explicit, there are many others-many close to my own heart-who have experienced horrifying things.
Honestly, there are no words I can think of to describe the way I’m feeling for my fellow human beings (I say human beings, because men are not excluded from this narrative). The deep sadness and empathy running through my heart and mind has me distracted from my homework and other things I need to be doing. That’s why I’m pausing and writing this out.
When we are affected by something, I think it makes it our duty to do or say something about it.
If you are reading this, I love you. You are valid. You are worth so much more than you can even comprehend. I believe you, and I will fight for you.
I was hesitant to post #MeToo on social media in the beginning. It wasn’t because it triggered anything for me, or that it was difficult for me to think about, but because I wasn’t sure if I was a part of this massive group. I mean, I haven’t been sexually abused, so how can I relate?
Then it hit me: it’s not just the big things.
The little things are where the problem starts.
So, here I’ll share my “Me Too’s.”
If you are hurting and don’t need to be reminded of things that may have happened to you, it’s okay if you stop reading. Your feelings are valid.
When I was 15 and a man over 21 told me that I’ll be asked out on a lot of dates when I turned 16.
When I was 16 and a married man in his 30’s asked me what perfume I was wearing.
When I was 16 and my mother and I were catcalled by Spanish speaking construction workers commenting on our “grandes colillas,” or big behinds.
When I was 17 and a friend put his hand on my thigh to make another girl jealous.
When I was 17 and at a youth dance where a stranger came up to me and rubbed his butt against my thigh.
When I was 18 and the boy I liked put his hand on my thigh.
When the same boy touched my knee at a different time, then apologized, and I said “It’s okay.”
But that’s just the thing. It wasn’t okay. It doesn’t matter that I liked the boy in the last two. It doesn’t matter that the 21+ year old thought he was giving me a compliment. It doesn’t matter that I knew the friend wasn’t making an advance toward me. It doesn’t matter if it’s “just words” or “well, that’s not what they meant.”
It’s never okay.
I’ve often said I’m not a touchy-feely person. I don’t like hugs from most people. And that’s okay. I shouldn’t have to allow someone else to dictate what my body does.
I shouldn’t have to feel sexualized, even though I am a curvaceous woman.
We need to listen and respect each other more. No one should go through what we have endured.
To those who have shared their stories, thank you.
To those who keep their stories inside, I believe you when you say you’ve been hurt. I won’t press you further.
I hope when I am blessed with children of my own that they will never have to deal with this crap.