It isn’t just #metoo

TW: sexual assault is mentioned many times in this post, so please keep yourself safe while reading.

Today, while on a date, I was told that perhaps my “timid” demeanor and my soft voice are the reasons I have had so many “odd” encounters with men, whereby they think it is okay to ambush me with kisses on the mouth or brazenly graze my breasts or slip a hand up my dress. I was told that this makes me seem like “easy prey”, like I’m the type of person that would stay quiet. And, you know what? I am. I am that quiet woman, conditioned to stay silent. When I was little and was coaxed into playing doctor under the bed it wasn’t him that got into trouble, it was me. I was made to feel bad and dirty. When grownups tricked me into touching their “private parts” I was told that it was our secret game, that sometimes that’s how people showed each other they loved each other, how they made each other feel good. It just made me believe even more that I was bad. When I was manipulated into sitting in the neighbors lap, letting him wrestle me, tickle me, kiss me, touch me anywhere he liked, in whatever ways he liked, I told but nothing happened. When the boys at school grabbed my ass, touched my breasts, tried to put their hands down my pants, I was the one sent to the office for “making a scene.” When the son of an officer tried to put his fingers inside me on the band bus, I was told I was a liar. When a stranger walking down the street, put his hand up my skirt, in the midst of a crowd and no one did anything to stop him, I got the message. When the pizza man slipped into his daughter’s room at night to have his way with both of us, I said nothing. Because experience taught me that no body cared what happened when it came to girl’s bodies. When the son of a family friend waited until I was asleep to slip up my nightgown, slip down my panties, and slip his tongue inside me, I said nothing. When I woke up at a friend’s house, after having passed out, to find him grunting, groaning, and grinding on me, I said nothing. When my ex-husband refused to accept “no, I don’t feel comfortable with that” as an answer to his sexual advances, I said nothing. When he sodomized me and enacted his rape fantasy on me, I said nothing. When my friend’s brother climbed on top of my drunken and drugged body and forced himself inside of me, I said nothing. Time and time and time again I have let this shitty, chauvinistic society silence me. And I am not alone. Chances are, you found something familiar in at least one of those stories and chances are, at some point, someone made you feel like you had to stay silent, too.

Yesterday, I read the story Eliza Dushku told about how the stuntman on set molested her when she was a child, about how a man who was literally hired to secure her well-being took advantage of her in a vile and reprehensible way. This is our society. It is a society in which all of us, every girl, can relate in some way to each new #metoo story. Because it isn’t just #metoo; it is #ustoo.  WE have been silenced. WE have been catcalled. WE have been groped. WE have been kissed and hugged and tickled and touched and penetrated. WE have been taught timidity. WE have been taught that “boys will be boys” and that ladies should be seen and not heard (or was that just me?). WE have been told that he only hit us or picked on us or popped our bra or grabbed our ass because he likes us. WE have been stared at, looked up and down, undressed by the eye’s of another. WE have been blamed. WE have been shamed and guilted. WE have been told that we shouldn’t have had so much to drink or we should have been wearing more clothes or we shouldn’t have gone out alone or shouldn’t have gotten into the elevator with that stranger or walked down that street at night. A million things that WE shouldn’t have done or should have done to prevent the bull shit actions of another. It is time for all of this to stop.

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A sketch I did a while back, seems fitting in this context.

I’m glad that women are collectively ending the silence. I am glad that WE are finding our voices. I am glad that WE are standing up and saying this is not okay. WE are not objects. WE are not toys, born for the gratification of boys and men. WE won’t stand for the normalization of stalking, groping, abusing, catcalling, raping, assaulting, or any other violent -ing. It’s enough. Boys will be the kind of boys they’re raised to be. Enough excuses. Let’s place blame where blame really lies.

The real blame lies in the hands of a society that elects political representatives who make light of grabbing women by “the pussy.” It lies in the hands of fathers who teach their sons that they are entitled to the bodies of girls and women. It lies in the hands of anyone who has ever said, “she was asking for it.” It lies in the hands of men who slip things into girls drinks because they’re looking for a good time. It lies in the hands of anyone who has ever witnessed a crime or an assault and looked the other way. It lies in the hands of any man who has ever hit his girlfriend, his wife, his children. It lies in the hands of the man who rapes unconscious women at parties. It lies in the hands of a system that doesn’t teach children the meaning of consent. It lies in the hands of parents that force children to give strangers hugs and kisses. It lies in the hands of every authority figure who does nothing when they’re told by a child that she has been raped/assaulted/made to feel uncomfortable. There are so many places where we can place the blame. But on the woman, on the victim, on the survivor… that is not one of them.

I’m tired of living in silence. I am tired of carrying the burden of blame that isn’t mine to carry. I’m tired of feeling ashamed of my body, my existence. I am tired. I am tired of this society. I am tired of men looking at me like I’m just a piece of meat. I’m tired of this being the thing I have in common with my fellow woman. I am tired of this being justified, explained away, swept under a rug.  I’m tired and I’m angry and I am just so, so over it.

42 Thoughts

  1. Powerful and true. It makes me sick to the stomach to hear what you have been subjected too. I am so glad you wrote this to say exactly what DID happen. Its the only way to freedom. I listened to a programme on a girl who developed DID as a result of sexual abuse ongoing for 20 years and he cited all the same reasons people stay silent. They are conditioned to do so my a fucked up society. Sending you tenderness and love. I am so sorry for what you endured. No one deserves abuse but we also need to learn to say a categorical ‘NO!’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As glad as I am to have written this, because I agree that it needs to be said, I am definitely understanding the other side of staying silent. The need for the victim/survivor to tell her story in her own time, on her own terms. Perhaps for me, though I felt moved to write this, my brain may not have been entirely ready.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes but its a start. As the issue of being paralysed is part of this kind of abuse that goes hand in hand with invalidation which is the abusers way of getting you to play dead. Once you stand up and no longer do that you are on the way, its a mix of anger and grief and those two have to be worked through over time. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on My Wellbeing and Learning Journey and commented:
    Having once been in a relationship where a man once thought he could have sex when he wanted, learning mum had experienced similar experiences to me after that experience I had in that relationship and discovering another ex has abused a child 10 years earlier, when I learnt last he was jailed, which questions what was I during that time? I feel I need to share this blog post I discovered today.
    This blog post will take you to a blog called, “Her Patchwork Heart” and it comes with trigger warnings, as the post discusses sexual assault many times. As hard as it is to read and hear about stories like this, it is important that we hear, because when we have been abused some way, we are scared to talk about it because we wonder if we will be believed. We can also be told it was our fault or to be quiet. But being quiet about it does lots of harm, on top of harm and damage already caused from being abused.
    Victims are no longer going to stand in being quiet and are now speaking up. We won’t be made to be quiet or shut up! We might be moving forward in the right direction in speaking up about this, but someone out there may be still going through something similar and feeling the same; scared, not believed, told to be quiet. It needs to stop and people need to realise that you don’t own your partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, just because you go out with them, or are married to them. It does not give you the right to abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 😞 schools were closed here today and closed for tomorrow. They are super precautious around here!

        I have paid my dues as well. No fun.

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          1. I’m ready to get back to my schedule. Everything is thrown off course. My doctors office was closed so no med adjustment for me.

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  3. It is absolutely unconscionable that you have been hurt so many times and in so many ways. I understand your anger, though I so often bypass it and head straight to sorrow, and I’m deeply honored that you shared your story with all of us.

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    1. I understand the necessity of bypassing anger. It’s a scary emotion. The rare times I let myself feel it, I almost feel swept away by it. I don’t let it linger long. I, too, prefer sorrow. It’s a hollow, harsh comfort.

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  4. They are horrible experiences you have had, monsters you have known. I have experienced a few and as young as age three but not as manya s you. Your sketches are great by the way. I too, couldn’t scream or say anything when someone did the forbidden things. I was tha bad one. Gosh I hope it stops some day, soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know how it feels to be convinced that you are bad. I really, truly know. But, I hope you hear me when I say you are not bad. You are marvelous. You are courageous. You are brave. What happened to you was bad. The people that did what they did; they are bad. But, not you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a lucky one, my parents believed me and got me into therapy. The damage was still done. I cantbimagine the other side. I was much older when the shame side of it was experienced.

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        1. I hate that being believed is our standard for “lucky.” It’s a sad reality. I truly hope it changes for future generations. I’m glad you were able to get help though.

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          1. Your right. It really is awful that I see myself as fortunate. But it truely was fortunate that I got help so young. It has helped me see therapy as a positive my whole life instead of having a stigma against therapy. I have saught therapy again and again, even preventably when needed.

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          2. It really is an uphill battle having to fight the stigma of therapy. I believe in therapy but growing up being told “we don’t tell people family business” and “you can only talk to me and God” definitely makes it hard to open up now.

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          3. I get that. I see it. As much as I was allowed to talk to counselors and doctors, I was only allowed to talk about proscribed issues. Anything else was “in my head.”

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  5. This post is amazing. People’s behaviour is shaped by what they are socially taught, and this sort of disgusting behaviour doesn’t emerge in a vacuum. The victim-blaming/shaming can’t stop soon enough.

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    1. Thank you for reading and bearing witness to my story, and for offering validation. You’re right, this sort of thing is taught in awful ways. And it is definitely time for it to stop.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That means a lot. I would love to do that but would have no idea how to go about it. Haha all I’ve ever had published were scholarly articles in academic journals. Probably not quite the same process. Haha

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Lol they’re not very interesting. The one I can think of off the top of my head is about two Australian novels. I explore them through feminist theory and postcolonial theory.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a powerful piece! I used to work in an organization that helped and sheltered sexually abused children, and the stories of their lives made me question the kind of society that we have that could tolerate this. ENOUGH.

    Thank you for your courage, it will make ripples in important ways.

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