Oh, you know what I mean. From just those two little words, I’m sure you know what this blog is about. You’ve seen the Facebook statuses. You’ve seen the responses. You’ve liked and commented.
And just in case you’re not a social media junkie like myself? Here you go:
“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Copy and paste.”
My Facebook feed is filled with women putting “me too” as their status in response to the above statement that is quickly making its rounds on the internet today. Am I surprised at the large response? Nope. Should I be? I guess so. But I’m not.
And yet, amid all the women posting these two little words (or some elaboration thereof) I found myself not being one of them.
Sure, I’ve been sexually harassed. Honestly, is there any woman in this country who hasn’t been? How many of us can honestly say that no one has ever – ever – commented on our appearance or on our “womanhood” in a sexual way? As women, we get it. We know it happens all the friggin time.
And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to put that as my status.
I couldn’t figure out why it was bothering me so much at first. And then it dawned on me. It wasn’t the word “harassed” that was the issue.
It was the word “assaulted.”
Somehow, I think that simple copy and paste status covers much too broad a spectrum. There’s a bit of a distance between harassment and assault.
How can we lump a catcall and rape in the same category?
Okay, okay, don’t start screaming. I hear you. “Don’t negate catcalling – it’s offensive. It’s disgusting. It’s unwanted.” I know, I know. I hear you. It sucks.
But you know what catcalling is not?
It’s not a physical assault on your person. It’s not ripping something away from you that you’ll never get back. It’s not something that will harm your psyche for the rest of your days and interfere with the normal and enjoyable act of sex for the rest of your natural life, no matter how hard you try to get it not to.
If you get catcalled, it pisses you off. It may even embarrass you. Hell, you may even like it, I don’t know.
But if you get raped?
Trust me, that’s something different altogether. That’s not something you “get over.” That’s not something that you’re proud to put up as your status for all the world to discuss.
Okay, again, time out. Don’t scream at me. I know the people putting “me too” aren’t “proud” of the fact that they were harassed or assaulted or anything in between. I know that. I get it. They’re just trying to let other women know that they’re not alone out here in the world and that they aren’t the only person this crap happens to. I know you mean well. And there’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing. I’m not here to fuss at you so put down your battle weapons.
I just want you to know why it bothers me. I want you to know why I am not participating.
And I want you – yes, you – the woman who was on the far end of that harassment/assault spectrum who couldn’t bring your fingers to type those five little letters that would let the world know that you were a victim of something so heinous and sad and life-altering that not an hour goes by that you don’t remember it? I want you to know that it’s okay that you didn’t type those words on your Facebook. You’re not letting the rest of us down. You’re not failing to stand in solidarity with women around the world who are looking this ugly thing in the face and recognizing it for what it is. You’re not a failure. You are strong and beautiful and worthy. And every single day that you get up, put your feet on the ground, and face another day with your head held high as you continue with your life even with that gut-wrenching, painful memory gnawing at the corners of your every move? THAT is your victory. That is your voice. That is your status.
I stand here beside you, because I know.
I may not have put it on Facebook. I may not have played the copy and paste game. Hell, I may have even chickened out if that’s what you want to call it.
But believe me, I know.
Me too, my sisters.
“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again … we are survivors. If you are here today… you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.”