When millions of women spoke up, spoke out, and said #metoo, it wasn’t a fun thing to join in on via social media like posting #momproblems with a photo of a big glass of wine. It wasn’t the cool thing to do. It wasn’t a club we wanted to be a part of. It wasn’t funny. The latter isn’t exactly funny either considering the skyrocketing number of white women dying, drowning in alcohol related problems, but that’s another discussion, perhaps another movement toward dealing with stress in a healthier way.
But right now, my Monday morning is ruined because of my the experience that led me to join in the #metoo conversation. I had never gone public with the the details of that horrific night, but as a strong voice for women and a member of the media in my local community, I felt compelled to share my story. I also feel the need to be transparent with the fact that it haunts me continuously with crippling anxiety, still, after more than 15 years. My #metoo moment lingers long after the movement.
My #metoo moment lingers long after the movement.
I have a lot of sleepless nights because of what that predatory piece of shit did to me.
This time, I woke up from a nightmare that a hotel employee, a linebacker looking dude, forced his way in my hotel room door as I was closing it and pushing against it trying to lock him out — and he was going to rape me. The last thing that happened before I woke up, was I looked to the back bedroom where my daughter was. When I woke up, my mind raced with fear wanting to protect my daughter, I would concede, beg him not to hurt my daughter. Or would I go “Rick Grimes” and bite out his throat?
I just took a self defense workshop two weeks ago to try to help me prepare and get over this paralyzing anxiety that plagues me.
Yet there I lay last night replaying my sexual assault — the real one — not the nightmare, again, for the millionth time, unable to sleep, unable to start my work week at 4:45am as I had set my alarm to get a jump start on the busy week. Instead, I am shaken. I feel broken. I am damaged. I am weak.
Fifteen years later. But I am lucky this happened later in my life. I feel sickened and saddened thinking of the little girls; they have to carry this around for a lot longer. It’s debilitating. Even for the strong, it’s a dark weakness that continuously creeps in your consciousness.
Even for the strong, it’s a dark weakness that continuously creeps in your consciousness.
Did it make me hardened and hateful? Sometimes, yes. Stronger and tougher? Sometimes, yes. And I know I don’t have to let it steal my joy, yet sometimes it sneaks in and it does. Like this random Monday morning when I cried recounting it to my husband, again. I know he hates hearing about it, how he can’t go back and protect me. He hates to see me so fragile, this woman he knows to be so strong.
Yes, it makes me more vigilant and careful when I’m out with our daughter especially. But trust me, this is not a movement any of us wanted to be a part of.
And now, as time marches on, people are starting to pick at it, and pick apart the pieces of the stories shared, trying to devalue the brave women who have stood up and spoken out. This is exactly why so many women stayed silent for so long, for fear no one would believe them, the embarrassment of being mocked and ridiculed over something so personal. Society must fight the urge to spread this message, ultimately giving power back to the predators.
Having compassion for victims — women who are just like your mother, your daughter, your sister — is the only light to understanding.
Having compassion for victims is the only light to understanding.
If you’ve never been violently attacked, a gun held to your temple, violated of your most sacred space, you cannot imagine what someone who speaks up and says #metoo has gone through. It is not your place to judge.
The movement is spurring justice, and ultimately karma will do the rest. But until then, society must find compassion while these victims find their voices and recount the horrors that live on after the telling moment.