Quite honestly, it makes me sad that I feel fear in sharing this with the world. I’m not the only one who feels that fear. Thankfully, someone was brave enough to open their mouth and be first, giving all of us a platform to join the ranks that will no longer remain silent about this epidemic of violence and sexual harassment that is plaguing our society.
#metoo. I was raped at knife point as a teenager while on my paper route. I didn’t tell anyone out of fear of the threats the perpetrator made. The toxic shame and guilt I carried as a result worked like duct tape, silencing me for years. It wasn’t until a friend asked me to take her teenaged daughter to the police station to file a rape report, that I began to deal with my own rape experience. It was too painful for my friend to go and she didn’t want her daughter to be inhibited from sharing the details with the officer, so I agreed to take her. As we sat with a crisis counselor at the station, the counselor began explaining to the young girl how important it was to talk about it and get help in dealing with the ramifications of it. The counselor went on to say that there were women out there who had been raped as teens who never told anyone. They lived years of their lives suffering with their secret and now they are 40 years old. I was stunned! There I sat, frozen in a police station chair with my secret. I was 40 years old at the time. I decided it was time I got help.
#metoo. I’ve lived with abusive husbands. Yes, I meant to make that plural. One was abusive to me and the other, more so to the kids, but either way, it wasn’t right. When a man throws knives at your head and sticks them in a wall behind you to terrorize you, or threatens to drive in front of moving trains, or pushes you outside without clothes, or holds you down on a bed with his hands around your neck, or tries to push you down a flight of stairs while you’re pregnant, or to push you out of a second floor window, or spins your vehicle around on a freeway, or a child feels a need to try to protect you, when you have to sleep with a knife on the bed railing to protect yourself, when you live in fear of the next rage and you walk 24 hours a day in fear, on eggshells, or the one who says they love you so much has affairs with other women… that’s abuse. It’s not right. It has to stop.
#metoo, #metoo, #metoo, #metoo, #metoo… Those are just a few, for all of the rest. Those are for the men and even women, who abused their power or authority in a position they held or a role they had in my life story. There were the bosses that made inappropriate moves or propositions, the married men who attempted things, thereby offending not just me, but also their own wives. And of course, there are the disrespectful words spoken many times! Based on the responses of this whole #metoo movement, it seems that every woman knows what I’m talking about here.
#metoo is a start, but it’s not quite enough, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve gotten counseling and been a part of many support groups for women dealing with these issues. I’m ok. I don’t need any sympathy as a victim. I don’t need my experience to be validated by anyone. I lived it and I’ve recovered from it. I don’t need revenge. I don’t need to face my perpetrators and hear an apology or get some kind of closure. What I need is for it to stop. What is it going to take for it to stop? What if all of those who posted, #metoo, also started naming names. Would that get those who continually victimize women to think before they do it again?
#metoo. This is where my list of perpetrators should be inserted. But instead of naming names, I’ll address you here. You know who you are. I can finally say, I forgive you. This didn’t come easy. I paid a high price because of what you did to me. My kids paid a price because of what you did for me. I’ve lost much because of what you did to me. Years of my life were affected because of what you did to me. How can I forgive you? I can because I’ve been forgiven. #Ihave. She who has been forgiven much, can take the risk to love again. #Ihave
#ihave. I’ve been an abuser. You see, when you don’t use something for it’s intended purpose, it’s abuse. I’ve abused men and women. I’ve done it in the work place. I knew that I could assert power over a man with flirtatious words or actions. I knew that I could intimidate to get what I wanted. I knew that I could use my appearance or my body to get what I wanted and #ihave. It worked for me for a season. Sure, some of it was because I had been broken by past experience, but that’s not an excuse for my inappropriate actions. I take responsibility for my actions. #Ihave and I’m sorry.
#metoo. I know my own darkness. I’ve hurt myself. I forgive myself.
#metoo. I know my own darkness. I’ve hurt you. I hope you can forgive #metoo.
#metoo. I know my own darkness. #ihave. That’s how I can forgive you, too.