The first time I was sexually abused, I was four years old. Growing up I've dealt with men who thought I owed them my body or my love just because I was kind to them and apparently that means "she'll date me eventually even though right now she's saying no"--and eventually, when they realized I meant what I said, they accused me of leading them on and hurled things like "well I wouldn't want to be with someone like you anyway". Last year I dealt with a hate crime in which a boy published a blog talking about his fantasies of raping and murdering me simply because he watched me date somebody else and thought he was cheated out of his chance with me even though I had been honest to him that I would never be that girl in his life. I've dealt with photographers that only want to shoot me nude, or try pressuring me into situations that are non-negotiable for me as a professional, and when I explain my policies, I've had them tell me "I'll trash your name, I know all the agencies, you'll never get anywhere in this city". I left one boyfriend because I said no, he did it anyway--and I tried to make it my fault, tried to make it my choice, tried to make it super hot to me, and finally couldn't deal with it anymore, told him I still had nightmares, and he responded with "can't it just be another selfish thing I've done?" •
To the guys who are not contributing to this problem: I appreciate you. You are seen. Please don't think that by speaking up we are slamming the entirety of your gender. When you see other men doing things that aren't cool, even if they don't realize or don't have malicious intent, please speak up to them.
To the girls speaking up: You are brave, and I stand beside you with all my love. Change can't happen unless and until we use our voices. Everyone wants to blame society, but we ARE society. Each one of us makes a difference. •
Important: Al I have to give back is love, even for the men who treated me those ways. Love is the most powerful force on Earth. I do want to see those men held accountable and brought to justice, but I also want their hearts to change and for them to realize the gravity of it.They are each somebody's son too.