A single tweet started it all.
It made hundreds, and thousands of women speak up, albeit on social media. It gave courage to victims all over the world to come out, and simply say they’d been wronged.
Without having to explain exactly what happened.
Without having to prove they weren’t lying.
And hopefully, without feeling judged, without fear of being victimized further, and without prejudice.
Two simple words, as a hashtag, speaking volumes.
I started seeing the tweets, and Facebook posts, the news articles on Sunday evening. And, of course, the ensuing opinion pieces. Some were not liking what this “trend” was doing to victims. They should not have to out themselves for us to realize the magnitude of the problem. I fully realize that just by sharing a hashtag, the problem of female sexual harassment and assault won’t get solved.
But this isn’t a battle cry for me. I am not doing this because it’s trending on social media, but because enough is enough. I am coming out of the shadows, because I finally realized that it’s not my fault I was forced into them.
I am sick and tired of living in a world where women don’t feel safe.
A world where “good friends” of the family prey on and victimize children.
A world where women need to rethink their outfit options because what they wear might get them raped.
A world where, when I speak openly about my sexuality, I am “flirting” or “looking to get laid”.
A world where we teach girls fear, but forget to teach boys the concept of consent.
A world where men think it’s okay to harass/assault/rape a woman because they can get away with it.
A world where victims are afraid to speak because they think it’s their own fault.
A world where “boys will be boys”.
A world where men miss the “good old days when you could make jokes and nobody got offended”.
A world where “she was totally asking for it”.
A world where rapists are not punished because it “might ruin their promising careers”.
A world where victims are blamed.
No woman, child, or man, should be harassed, assaulted or victimized.
So today, with a heavy, yet hopeful heart, today, I say: Me too.
I hope that by speaking up people around me will realize that rape culture needs to be acknowledged, and addressed because it exists. Victim blaming needs to stop, because it exists. Men need to stand up, take charge, and be more supportive. Toxic masculinity needs to stop, because it hurts women and men. I read an excellent compilation of what steps men can take to help stop this plague of female victimization.
Do you think this can the start of mending our ways as a global society? Can we finally acknowledge and start healing this centuries old wound?