Why I didn’t #MeToo

Posted on October 16, 2017

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This morning, I woke up to a great number of #MeToo posts on Facebook and Twitter. My female friends from all across the world were standing up and sharing #MeToo on their status message to identify themselves as victims and survivors of sexual harassment and assault. I liked how some of them shared deeply personal experiences and how several were simply, #MeToo; to me, all posts were equally powerful. The sheer number of posts is mind boggling and makes us realize how pervasive sexual harassment and assault are — the very thing that the campaign intended to do. Thank you friends for sharing and encouraging each other to speak up.

I think I was one of the few people in my circle that was talking about what it meant if someone did not post or share their #MeToo. Here are a few quick thoughts.

A. Not just ciswomen are victims of harassment and assault. We are looking at transwomen being killed daily in different parts of the world. We are seeing them being denied the right to exist even in some parts. Where is our outrage and solidarity every day when one of our trans sisters dies?

B. A social media movement does not end the culture of silence. There are personal and cultural limitations to this sort of thing. There are several castes, cultures, religions in which women would be thought of as impure if anyone found out they had experienced something like this and may actually get further punished for it.

C. Access to internet, knowledge of English, etc. are not a universal thing. Literally millions and millions of people do not have access to these around the world.

D. Rape is a weapon of war. Think of how many countries across the world are actually war zones currently. What about those women?

E. Children, elderly, gay people, disabled, homeless etc. etc. etc. are all vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault. They may not have all the necessary words and tools to express what they have undergone.

F. Sometimes perpetrators are trusted family members or people we love and trust. If we speak up, it can lead to a lot of pain to the victim/survivor and extended family members.

G. What is the point? One of my close friends asked me today. There is no help available. Mental health care costs way too much in most countries. Systems are not conducive for a person to go to those places in their minds. Sometimes standing up and being counted is incredibly painful.

H. How do we actually change things? How do we get law enforcement to take us seriously? How do we get perpetrators to stop? People reading these posts are actually people we know and are in our circle of influence. Can social media really help change attitudes? I am not sure.

In conclusion, speaking up is the first step. It is certainly not enough and it is certainly not a lasting change. I am proud of my friends and sisters for standing up and being counted. I am staying silent with the ones that aren’t.


 

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Posted in: self awareness