TRIGGER WARNING: assault, abuse, rape culture, #metoo.
If you’ve been around Facebook at all recently, you’ve likely seen a post hashtagged with #metoo. While the current resurgence is based on something Alyssa Milano said, it’s important to remember this actually started a decade ago by a black woman.
I have seen multiple complaints and compliments on the movement. And many of the viewpoints are valid. It isn’t a perfect movement and is flawed, but such is the case of social media.
There are two viewpoints I saw though that were so abhorrent and jaw dropping that I cannot stay silent. These viewpoints, despite the flaws in #metoo, are the exact reason why this movement is important. It’s the exact reason why this post here is even necessary.
Exhibit A: “People shouldn’t share their stories. It makes them victims and not survivors. They’re just attention seeking.” Shut the front door, no. You know why that is victim blaming donkey dung?
Some days I am a victim. Some days I am a survivor. But most days, I am both. And it isn’t for someone else to decide how I view myself. PTSD is a heartless, non discriminating asshat. It isn’t for someone else to decide that I’m a “victim” or a “survivor.” Because it ISN’T that simple.
Some days the results of what happened to me make it so I cannot leave the house. Other days, I can but it shapes how I interact with the world. I wish it was as simple as just pretending it never happened (despite the fact I try some days), but there are still things that happened that I haven’t told anyone – not even after seeing my therapist for five and a half years (and I still need to find a new one here, but that’s beside the point and will hopefully make those calls/set it up for next month).
By saying I can’t share my story or I’m viewing myself as a victim, you’re putting the blame in the wrong hands. There was only one person and one choice that made me a victim, and that wasn’t me. It was the monster(s) who made the willing choice to hurt me. And there is NOTHING wrong with being a victim. The only wrong thing about it was the circumstances that made me one.
And it’s kind of the *point* of the whole movement to be attention seeking. To bring attention to an issue that has gone for decades too long. For the issue that people are afraid to talk about, because they will be called attention seeking. Because they are afraid they will be told to shut up, it isn’t socially acceptable, whatever.
For every person that publishes and shares their story, there are at least a dozen more. 1 in every 4 children will be the victim. Disabled adults are vulnerable. Women are vulnerable. Non binary people are vulnerable. People of color are vulnerable. We. Are. Vulnerable.
Exhibit B: I have seen a few variants of this one. But people who share their stories are narcissist. People who say what happened to them are attention seeking. It isn’t appropriate for social media. These things are better said in private. Rinse, lather, repeat. There are a crapload of variants to this one.
This is bullcrap as well. For some people, healing comes from sharing their story. For some, healing comes from seeing else share their story, even if they personally cannot. Some people have shared these stories in private. Some people have not.
By saying they shouldn’t, that is contributing to rape culture. And why is attention seeking always framed as a bad thing? These issues NEED attention. People NEED to know that it wasn’t just them, it wasn’t their fault, it’s the screwed up world we live in. How is it narcissist to be like yes, it happened to me as well. You are not alone.
Some of us have said these things in private. Some of us are now coming forward. It is our choice, and our choice alone to share these things. It’s not to say some of us aren’t overwhelmed with all the posts, we are. It’s not even to say that the posts can be triggering to us, for some of us, they are.
But by sharing it, for many of us, it brings healing. It brings comfort. It’s messy and uncomfortable and isn’t considered socially acceptable – but that’s the POINT. As a whole, we have been quiet WAY too long about this issue. It’s happened to so many of us. And I’m sick and tired of being told that I can’t share my story because it isn’t “Socially acceptable”.
One of my favorite movies is Labyrinth. Probably one of the most well known quotes from the movie is the following.
“Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great — You have no power over me.”
I’ll repeat it again for those in the back: you have no power over me. The horrible people that hurt me, that hurt my friends, that hurt my community… no. power. over. me. My words are my way out. I passed through so many trails – much more than seems fair in life. For victims, for survivors, for the ones whose protectors turned into their perpetrator, for those who people they thought they loved who turned against them. For the ones who were told they had to stay silent. For the ones who still feel like they have to stay silent and can’t speak out. For those who are still in situations they cannot escape. For every single one of us – none of us did anything to deserve it. None of us secretly wanted it. The lies we were told, the lies we were taught to believe as a result of their actions – they’re all absolutely bullshit.
Our wills are strong. Our stories matter – every single one of them. And so for each of us, I will say me too. For the ones who can, for the ones who cannot. For the ones still in situations they cannot escape. I have chosen to write my way out.
I wrote my way out
When the world turned its back on me
I was up against the wall
I had no foundation
No friends and no family to catch my fall
Running on empty, there was nothing left in me but doubt
I picked up a pen
And I wrote my way out
If you need someone to talk to and live in the United States, please contact RAINN. 800.656.HOPE.