TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault ⬇
I once smiled at a man in a club. He walked over and told me we should go find somewhere quieter. I told him my friends were here. He took my arm and lead me out of the club, round the corner, enclosed me against a wall, pulled his dick out and asked if I wanted to suck it or just put it straight in. I let him kiss me until passing footsteps made him stop and look round, and I took my opportunity to run back to the club, back to my friends, back to pretending what just happened was completely normal. Or rather, not pretending, because it was normal; normal as in commonplace, normal as in regular.
So normal that I didn't even recognise it as an assault because in 18 years of existing in the world as a female I'd been conditioned into believing that a man was allowed to take what he wanted of my body, and that I wasn't allowed to protest.
That's one memory of many that came when I saw the #MeToo campaign. The truth is that every woman I know has a memory of being sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped. We also all know that we're supposed to keep them quiet. If we don't, the attacks will come. The victim blaming. The slut shaming. The accusations. The threats. We all know.
Should we have to keep unburying these memories and putting them on display to prove the problem? No. It shouldn't fall on the victim, again and again, to relive their trauma to make the world believe them. Because if we were truly listening, we'd already know the magnitude of the problem.
But since we live in a culture that would rather silence us than believe us (because believing us would mean men having to recognise their part in it, and having to change), I'll say #MeToo as well. More times than I'd like to remember.
To any survivors (of any gender) reading this who've experienced sexual harassment, assault, or rape: I believe you. I see you. You don't have to keep telling the story of your trauma. You don't have to re-open those wounds for them to be valid. But please know that you are still heard, valued, and worthy of healing. 💜💙💚🌈🌞
P.s. reminder that the 'Me Too' movement was created by Tarana Burke (@fortyisthenew40) almost 10 years ago🌸