Each time I see this hashtag my heart races. I make sure to “like” every post I see because, although it’s still not enough, I can’t find the words to accurately describe how much love and pain I feel for these women.
I don’t know their stories, just my own. But despite all of these women fighting to take their power back, why am I so scared to let them know, #MeToo?
Sexual assault and harassment has happened so often over the years that it’s a blur. From being cat-called while wearing khakis and an orange construction shirt, to having random fingers inserted into my skirt while at a club, to being grabbed and manhandled on the school playground, I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve dealt with this over the years.
But one memory always sticks out. I remember being four years old the first time I was assaulted by a neighbour that was only two years older than me at the time. I remember I was wearing a red, one-piece bathing suit after playing in my kiddie-pool all afternoon. Somehow he had led me to the shed in my backyard, closed the door, and put his six-year-old fingers into my suit and into my vagina. He told me this is what mommies and daddies do. This went on for four years. By the time we were “caught” I had been groomed. It was normal, until I explained what had happened to my parents and then I realized it was not. It wasn’t OK that he had told me over the years that he would hurt me if I told my parents, or that I knew if he was in my backyard what was about to happen.
Just last week I was looking over old photos with a friend in her basement and we came across one with him in it. She said his name, and although I don’t think about those four years often anymore, I felt myself stiffen. As I write this, my heart races and I feel sick to my stomach. But I don’t blame him.
At six-years-old I can only imagine what abuse he had to endure to decide that he had to also inflict it on me. I 100% believe he was a victim, too. And part of me is thankful that I’m the one he chose – what if he had chosen my younger sister, instead? That thought hurts me more than the abuse I took.
So, finally, I’ll admit – #MeToo. Reliving this moment is exhausting, and it hurts, but #MeToo,