For the past few days, a lot of dear friends have posted #MeToo on Facebook, and shared their stories of sexual assault/harassment. I read them. I grieved with them. But then today, a friend posted “what is the point of having 3327 friends and followers on Facebook if you don’t use your voice…” And I was challenged to use my voice. To share my story, in the best way I know how. Because, #MeToo
It happens in “little” ways every day. Eyes that linger a moment too long. Lewd words shouted out of a car window while I go for a run. A glance at the car next to me to find a man making a gesture that makes me blush and turn away and pray for the light to change.
I was naive enough to think I had escaped anything “big.” Naive enough to think there was even a difference between the little things and the big ones.
It happened on New Year’s Day. A drunk text. An angry phone call. An attempted, vulgar FaceTime.
I turned off my phone. I checked to make sure my door was locked even though he lived hundreds of miles away. I stood in the middle of my living room, alone and scared.
I wondered if I had done something to cause it.
I crawled into my bed because I felt like everything good had drained out of the day. The first day of the year. Why did it have to happen the first day of the year? It should have been a day of new beginnings.
I shivered under the covers. My sleep was filled with nightmares.
The next day I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t that bad. That it wasn’t sexual harassment. That at least he hadn’t…fill in the blank. But then I got mad.
What if I wasn’t the first he had done this to?
What if I wasn’t the last?
I won’t go into everything that happened the next few days. There were phone calls and emails and tears and more shivering under my covers. More double-checking that the doors were locked.
At the end of it, I wouldn’t say I felt stronger. I felt broken. But the kind of broken that brings beauty. I had shed a skin. I had burned away the old so the new could come. Where once I had been knit together with thread, I was now knit together with something stronger.
I was knit together with the voices and lessons and love and kindness of a million women who had been there before me.