I woke up this morning to an incredible amount of women posting “Me too” as their status update. I’m appalled, sad, disappointed and…confused.
I’m not confused with the typical “how is this still happening?”, “why is this still happening?”, “how can we stop this?” type of questions. I’m confused because I don’t know if I know what constitutes sexual harassment. Easy does it, feminists…breathe and keep reading.
Don’t get mad at me because I don’t know. My concern is that I know I have been sexually harassed (a lot) but because it was such a “normal” occurrence in my life, I have until now, just chosen to overlook it and brush it off.
This makes me reluctant to post “Me too”.
So, the craziest question keeps popping into my head “Is my level of sexual harassment ‘enough’ to post ‘Me too’ as my status update?”.
What if what I’ve gone through has made me stronger, more resilient, more determined? I know that I accepted it at the time and although it disgusted me, it made me the strong woman I am today. I’m not grateful for it, but it did happen. No, I don’t think sexual harassment is okay but I’m confused because if I post “Me too” and the sexual harassment hasn’t caused me to crumble, am I taking away from women who have gone through something so much worse than a few lewd comments, stares and disgusting conversations?
Here’s the thing: I often feel like status updates such as these are meant for the victims of terrible occurrences. I don’t feel like a victim. At all. I feel more empowered and stronger than ever. So, I don’t want to take away from those who feel that they are victims of sexual harassment or abuse.
I don’t want to offend anyone. I absolutely don’t want to condone sexual harassment. But, I do want to take a few moments to step back, re-evaluate and make sure that when I post “Me too”, I’m being honest with myself, with the world and most importantly with my daughter.
Was what I went through even sexual harassment or is there a “lesser” title I can put on it? How do I know? And, if I knew then what I know now, would I change my reaction?
Most importantly, how can I educate my daughter on what to do when it happens to her (because, let’s be honest, seeing all those “me too’s” has me resigned to the fact that she will)? If I don’t know how to step up to the plate and type “Me too” because I don’t know what constitutes sexual harassment, then what’s the point? I want to learn.
I think most viral updates have a purpose and I hope the purpose of this one isn’t to gang up on men and call them assholes, bastards and complete human scum. Although, absolutely, some should be called out. I hope the purpose is to bring awareness to the issue and educate ourselves and future generations as to what harassment and abuse look like in all shapes, sizes and forms.
It is “okay” for me to minimize the sexual harassment I went through because I’m made of tough stuff and I handled it easily? Is it okay that I wasn’t appalled by what happened, that I reflected on the moments I know I was harassed and stood taller, worked harder and pushed further? Is it okay that I used harassment as a way to show that even if their conversations were inappropriate, it didn’t affect me negatively? And with all that being said, is it okay for me to write “Me too” as my status update?
Again, I’m not at all condoning sexual harassment, but I need to understand the purpose of this update. I need to know that when I write it, I’m helping and educating and not becoming a part of a “let’s hate all men” movement. I’ve seen many women sexually harass men they work with, so that can’t be my reason.
As I reflect on my education and my career, I am certain that I’ve been sexually harassed. Sadly, I believe most women have probably experienced it in one form or another. So, how do we move forward? What’s the game plan? How can I educate my daughter on what’s acceptable and what’s not? And, in my case, I’m uncertain whether I should post “Me too” because I know my “level” of sexual harassment doesn’t even come close to what some women have gone through, let alone comparing my experience of sexual harassment to those who have suffered abuseabuse?
And, isn’t is crazy that I just wrote this blog post asking “Is my sexual harassment enough”?
I am more confused than ever and I guess that’s a good thing. Now I’ll search for answers. Not necessarily for myself, because I feel strong and empowered but for others who have had a different experience and honestly, because I’ll do anything to make my daughter stronger, more vocal and more aware of the situations she’ll go through in her life.
Am I the only one confused? Am I the only one hesitant to write the status update? I’m okay if I am, but I’m wondering if this was a difficult thing for others to post for reasons other than they went through a difficult time and are relieved to find support.