I started writing this story the other day. It’s been sitting on my desk for a while now, as it is going to take courage to hit the post button. I want to find the right words.
These headlines about Harvey what’s his name, and the sexual predator in the white house, Bill Cosby, and Jian Ghomeshi are getting to me. The list goes on about these high powered, high profile asshats, who are or have been in the news about how they treat the women they have power over. I want to say, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
What is pissing me off is… to bring this “shocking” news of abuse to the front page, the men had to be big shots. And the women they abused had to number more than a few.
Still, the US elected a self confessed sexual predator. Sixty women accused Bill Cosby and bubkis, Jian Ghomeshi lost his job, but in court, was found innocent. They gave Bill O’Rielly $25 million as severance pay, when he was “fired” for his abuse.
Again I say … are you kidding me? This type of abuse is rampant in EVERY walk of life. You don’t have to be a Hollywood starlet to have encountered abuse. Most women and girls have, at one time or another, dealt with some form of sexual harassment, abuse, and or rape.
Then as I wrestled with writing this, I saw this on Facebook…
“If all the women who have been raped, sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem that has existed for a long time.”
A gate was opened. Me too was posted all over social media. Women everywhere found the courage to say these two words.
I am shocked not by the news or number of women posting, but by how rattled I am from this scab being pulled. Events that once were considered shameful and secret are now being posted for all to see, by her, and her, and even her!
If you are a women — chances are good, that you have been harassed on the job, on the street, or in your home. Me too.
I have been “messed with” by the guidance counselor in high school, the editor of a newspaper, a martial arts teacher, a policeman, one of my dad’s friend, a doctor, and even the neighbourhood kids. I was raped by a co-worker, harassed on the job, and have turned away from strange men in cars, who would stop to ask for directions, and instead would show me their penis.
Here, I feel the need to tell you, that as I got older, met Ken, sobered up, took self-defence classes, and began working for myself, these experiences diminished. (Although, Mr. Chan pulled some shit on me, and several other women in our tai chi class.) Still, none of it was my fault. None of it. Yet, the scars are deep.
Harvey Weinstein is neither the cause nor the solution, same as the asshat in the White House. They are merely a symptom of a much larger deep rooted problem.
Today I have A LOT of amazing men and women in my life who are incredibly respectful and loving. They are strong people who have my back and I have theirs. And maybe because of the safety I experience in my life today, I’ve been able to roll merrily along, whistling in the dark, knowing what happened, happened. Done and done.
But — all this Me Too is shaking me up. As I said, the scars are deep.
We’ve talked about the women and the girls who have been abused, and now we are finally beginning to talk about the men who abuse us. Instead of talking about how many women were raped last year, perhaps we need to reframe the headline as to how many men did the raping.
We are starting by calling out the high profile men.
The Me Too thing is an uncomfortable light, shining on the majority of women, who have been abused in some way and not just by the rich and famous.
I’m hoping one day instead of a Me Too hashtag, we will see a viral hashtag saying #Ididit,Iwaswrong,itwasallmyfault,I’msorry.
I was reminded the other day, that life’s events swing on a pendulum. We are swinging my friends.
I can echo your blog, Jan. It’s well written and says it all.
I too have lived with sexual abuse … inflicted by two family members with whom a child should have been able to trust.
As I grew older, it further messed with my mind because as an adult, I came to understand what kind of a breech of trust it truly was. This epiphany has not softened my mental state, it just created a life-long journey of not trusting a soul.
As a result, I refuse to let anyone close enough to see or take part of the fine “golden machine” inside that makes me … me.
Although I had counselling for it all, it’s done little to heal the scares.
My offenders still live and happily skip through their life not comprehending the damage they’ve done.
I could write for hours regarding your blog.
And yes … to it all … Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!!
Thank you for writing and posting this Jan. I feel the rawness and I think all of the women posting are so very brave. It is time that we forced men in general and the courts specifically to move away for the passive voice and lay blame where it lies.
When I reached the end off your post I wanted to give you a big hug. Please consider it sent.
sent and received! Thank you.
that’s ‘men in general’- I need to travel life with an editor
So glad you wrote this. The Me Too campaign has ripped off scabs of a # ofmy darkest memories from being assaulted by a relative to being abducted by a friend’s father when I was 10. He turned the car around and brought me to school but I wonder if he was just practicing. It’s amazing how deep are the scars. So thank you for this. I would love to see some men posting the #ididit&it was wrong#. The number of these memories in my life is astounding and, yes, they lessened over time with my own growing awareness and self esteem.