A number of weeks ago you may have seen this phrase pop up on your Facebook or Twitter feed. It popped up on my Facebook, and I shared it. As I, too, have been a victim of harassment and abuse. I’m grateful I haven’t been raped. My heart is shredded for all who’ve gone through that violent experience.
I wanted to write a blog post at the time, but other things came up and forced the subject from my focus. And I was kind of glad to not have to deal with it. I mean, it’s an ugly situation, but then if we don’t speak up, we give tacit approval for the meanness to continue.
I remembered that Alyssa Milano wasn’t the person who originated the phrase, “Me too.” She’d put it up on Facebook. The woman’s name escaped me, so I did a quick on-line search. The woman, Tarana Burke, and her story can be found on this website.
The Twitter and Facebook campaign has been amazing. This is from the article:
The company (Facebook) said that in less than 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world have engaged in the “Me too” conversation, with more than 12 million posts, comments and reactions. According to Facebook, more than 45% of people in the United States are friends with someone who’s posted a message with the words ‘Me too.’
I like to think maybe we’re almost at a turning point, but that may be optimistic of me. But it seems the outrage at these behaviors is growing. Surely, we’re getting close to a critical mass. A point at which men (or women) who harass others will feel the wrath of public opinion and the law so much that they will decide perhaps they need to change their behavior.
Real men don’t harass, denigrate, or make fun of women. Real men, don’t make fun of anyone. We want to be with people who bring us up, not knock us down.
People who haven’t experienced harassment are quick to ask, “Why don’t these people come forward right away?” Perhaps if you’ve never been in the minority, never been looked at as “different,” never been addressed as if you didn’t have a clue and weren’t worthy for others to listen to your ideas, perhaps you can’t understand.
Please, let those of us who have experienced reactions like that assure you that you begin to believe the lie that you’re unworthy. You begin to believe there is something wrong with you and you really deserve the treatment. That belief makes you stay quiet. And the worry about whether you’ll be believed. How often have you heard, “Well, she just wants the attention.” Or “Well, dressing like that, she was asking for it.”
Everyone who comes forward to testify to this ugly behavior deserves our thanks, because it’s only when light is shined on actions that we can find justice.
Thanks for listening. Be kind to each other. I’d love to hear your thoughts.