#metoo I typed into my status bar as memories of all the times “Me Too” had happened. Like when I was 4 and a boy snuck over to my nap cot and touched me inappropriately. Or when I was in 1st grade and a girl shoved my face into her crotch. Or when I was in middle school and I was catcalled walking home. Or when I was in college and too drunk to say, “No” so no didn’t exist. Or…or…or…too many to recount, too few to not have had a lasting impression or to give me a complex that I was little more than a body to most people. Over and over and over again, #metoo.
I watched as my feed filled with “Me Too” not just from the women in my life but from men and genderfluid and non-binary individuals. You see, #metoo isn’t about us vs them. It isn’t just about the sexual assault and harassment perpetrated by men onto women (although it started that way). It is about the fact that over and over and over again, our bodies were molested without our consent. Words and actions crept their way into our hearts and minds leaving their sticky, inky, ilk for us to try to scrub clean…but we never real could, could we? It left its mark…#metoo.
One in four women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime the statisticians tell us. I believe that number is higher as it only represents those who have come forward. Too many of us were too scared and too ashamed to say anything.
But there’s a problem with the hashtag Me Too. You see, it still puts it on the victim to lay ownership to their assault and their harassment rather than asking the perpetrators to take any blame or ownership for their behavior. It doesn’t ask the humans in our lives to look at their behavior and evaluate whether they contributed to the problem. It simply acknowledges there is a problem.
You see, we shouldn’t have to explain to men that their behavior is offensive, problematic, and often illegal. But for some reason, it’s always on the victims to out themselves, to fix the problem, to head up the voice for change. It is time for that to change.
It’s time for all people to start checking their own behavior and that of their friends and colleagues. Speak up when a joke is out of line, say something when someone is bragging about what they would do to someone else’s body, step in when you see harassment, quit objectifying human bodies. It’s little things, that when compounded, make the biggest impact.
Until then, we stand with you…I stand with you…because #metoo.