Monday morning, women came out in floods on various social media platforms, voicing excruciatingly harrowing details of their past of sexual harassment or abuse, or just simply implying their experience by saying the loaded phrase that is now a viral hashtag: Me too.
This shouldn’t be viral. Now, let me explain. The movement itself is empowering, it has given so many women the courage to tell their stories of the trauma that they have endured. The phrase has given power back to those who felt it taken away, and find a supportive community of women (and men) who have suffered all the same. There is strength in numbers.
But what I mean by saying the hashtag should’ve never gone viral is this should not have been an issue in the first place. There should not be this many people who have suffered so much injustice, that have had such a precious piece of themselves forcefully taken away, and have felt unsafe or uncomfortable in the most mundane parts of life like walking down the street or buying groceries.
Obviously, there needs to be a change in the way our society is structured. The framework is collapsing, but we keep building on top of it. There is progress, however: Harvey Weinstein lost his job from the own company he built, and France is considering fining men for catcalling and lewd behavior towards women. Baby steps are being taken, but for every step forward, there’s at least a thousand steps backward having to type #metoo every minute just to take back their narrative.
There have been so many contradictory emotions with every #metoo status or tweet I scroll through: sadness, pride, anger, adoration. Yet, the most prominent emotion is respect. I have so much respect for the people who are typing out their personal experiences; it takes away power from their perpetrator and gives it back to who it truly belongs to. Even those who just typed the five-letter phrase, it takes so much just to press the button to send it out to the world.
And even though I admire and Facebook-love every #metoo that comes on my screen, I’m not going to tell my story. Not because I’m ashamed, but maybe I am ashamed, but also, I’m simply not ready. Nor will I ever know if I will be.