They say everyone has a story, and I believe this is true. I also understand everyone doesn’t want to tell their story.
Some feel emotionally unable to share something so personal.
When Hollywood power player, Harvey Weinstein, was ousted as the creep he’s always been, many women felt empowered to tell their own stories.
Actress Alyssa Milano asked, “If you were sexually assaulted or harassed, tweet #MeToo. 1.7 -million people responded by tweeting the “MeToo” hashtag. Twitter reported 85 different countries posted at least one-thousand “#MeToo” posts.
Facebook revealed they had more than 12 million posts and comments in less than 24 hours.
As a 13-year-old, 8th grade student at Saint Francis Cabrini School, the nuns rewarded me with the responsibility of counting the money from the tythe baskets. This job was done at the rectory. One day the priest insisted I sit on his lap and share cake… and more… with him. I told the principle, a nun, the priest touched me. She slapped me and demanded I never repeat “such filth.” I told my father, and he removed me from the school.
Shortly afterward, I was raped by my mother’s boyfriend. I ran to a neighbor’s house and called the police. He confessed.
During the viral “Me Too” episode, I proudly shared my story of “telling” on a Facebook thread. Immediately I was called out publically. Women accused me of shaming women who didn’t have the courage “to tell.”
I was hurt for a second and then angry. I often share my story, publicly, with young men and women. My intention and highest hopes are that my story will empower others “to tell” if it happens to them.
Almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed or discriminated against in some way, shape or form because of their gender.
I know several women, and a few men, who’ve been sexually assaulted. There is a big difference!
Personally I am deeply hurt every time I hear “harassed” and “assaulted” used, together, as if they were interchangeable. Being raped at 13 is nothing like being told to get your boss a cup of coffee or not getting the promotion because you wouldn’t date your boss.
When we experience physical and/or emotional trauma and decide to “move forward,” the pain from that trauma doesn’t simply go away. It’s stored somewhere in our bodies and over time, it grows like an infection. When someone decides not to tell, that pain will eventually manifest itself in some negative way. It can even make us sick.
We all have a story to tell. I believe we also have a responsibility to share our stories and our history with young women and men.
Harassment and assault are not the same. Tell them differently.
Whether it happened yesterday or forty-years ago, it’s healthier “to tell.”
Thank you for telling your story Doreen.
Courageous tale. I know how hard it is to tell stories that are so deep and dark.
A powerful piece, Doreen. Thanks for your courage and for sharing.
How awful for you on both occasions. So sorry other women were so insensitive. I’m glad you were brave enough to tell others when it happened so that they could do something about it immediately. You’re right that harassment is not the same as assault, although it can turn into assault if women, or in some cases, men, aren’t careful. Men in a position of power are intimidating and often take advantage of the situation, especially when a woman’s career is on the line. I hope this is a wakeup call.
I had no problem seeing all the #metoo tags. I did #metoo as well. I think the surprising thing would be a post that said #notme.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you Doreen… especially for reminding readers of the distinction between harassment and assault. I’m sorry that happened to you, and grateful you are strong enough to bring awareness to this important issue!
You’ve been through a lot of trauma and terrible ordeals in your life. With each of them, you’ve dug deep to cope and recover and share them. That act of sharing makes the rest of us feel not quite so much alone with our own stories. xoxox, Brenda
I think maybe people were upset with you for the very same reason women take on shame regarding having been victims of sexual assault, in the first place. We still feel guilty, and then we feel guilty about feeling guilty. So when you said you acted, that kicked the guilt up. Just a thought.
Strangely, sharing seems to lessen the pain. Maybe it’s like my mom always said: Pain shared is pain halved.
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Why do we shame those who have told what so many of us have experienced? And why is there any shame? In my 60’s, I am so saddened that it took so long to get this far – and we have so much further to go.
Thank you for sharing……in doing so, you empower others to get rid of their shame….of a secret that they kept because someone made them feel they did wrong, when it was the other way around. It was a pleasure to meet you……hope to see you again….soon.
Thank you for sharing. I am sorry for what you experienced. It was truly horrid. Only just this morning did I realize part of my own METOO experience DID include assault. I had buried the memory or significance of it. It occurred nearly 35 years ago. Now, I don’t understand women shaming each other and though I didn’t see your original post, I don’t hear you saying others are wrong to not come out and share their story, too. We each have to do what is right for ourselves and what we are each ready to do.
That said, I have in the past and now with this post kindly take issue with saying that METOO cannot include harassment. I will share an example in my own life of how comparison does not work. I have a daughter with a severe disAbility. I refuse to say I have it “worse” or more difficult than another parent of a loved one with a disAbility or the opposite that they have it easier. In the end it is my life and my story and it doesn’t matter if it stacks up differently. It’s mine. This is a collective movement and we are asked to share harassment and/or assault.
So, I think harassment has every right to join in the MeTOO campaign. I has harassed repeatedly as a young 20Something working in a religious organization. I was once told by my boss as we exited a plane to our destination for a weekend business trip that he always liked small breasted women. WTF!?! I could barely enter a boardroom of executives without being introduced as the pretty little reporter. UGH. Sure, it is not what I also experienced a few years earlier in another city in the company of a former boyfriend. That was assault. But, I will come out and I will join and am joining and raising my voice with yours and others to say MeToo. Let’s not parse it out. Let’s let it be what it is. We’ve all suffered. The terms and perhaps we can agree the degrees may have been different, but we are all MeToo’s.
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