This past week we have been bombarded with reports of harassment and assault that were buried in favor of preserving the power of manipulative, coercive, dangerous, and abusive individuals. As both a reader and someone who can relate it left me feeling really helpless. There were all of these reports and minimal action. Action that only occurred after it was clear the public wasn’t going to let the trauma Harvey Weinstein inflicted be swept away with the next headline. It left me feeling hopeless, what can we do beyond be pissed at the society that silently supported Harvey for so long in spite of direct knowledge of his abuse?
Enter Alyssa Milano’s poignant tweet:
I think she knew before putting it out there that almost every other women alive (if not all of us) has at one point or another experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault. I don’t think she knew how powerful “Me Too” would become and neither did I, but then it started spilling over into every form of social media I used. There was/is no escape from the thousands of women who share similarly painful stories.
For a while I debated whether or not I should join and post the two words uniting so many. Leave it to Nikki Nigl’s ABOUT WOMEN to give me the answer I needed. She posts a question of the day every single day and for her 701st question she asked the group how they felt about the “me too” campaign. Some women struggled with what I did. They wanted to speak up too, but did not want to deal with inquiries on the incident from well meaning friends and family. Others felt it was pointless, what was the point of us confirming what we already knew? Others felt that it was important to expand the campaign to men who also experience sexual harassment and assault. Others felt it was important to keep it as something for solely women. I appreciated every single one and chimed in myself:
It’s forced me to confront a lot of my own feelings on the matter. Never spoke a word of any of it, mostly because I blamed myself and made excuses for them as I had seen other women do my entire life. As far as change, I think it will help some women find their voice with the support of other women. Even if it’s as little as me realizing I have to stop blaming myself for something that was never my fault and that so many go through, isn’t that worth it?
And then I posted it. I waited anxiously for the world to crumble around me, but it didn’t. Instead I saw more posts, more strength, and more collective healing through confirmation. What’s next? I don’t know, maybe nothing, but I’m hoping this conversation we’re having will lead to some sort of revolution that will change the way women in our society are treated.
Thank you Alyssa Milano.