Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the Me Too campaign to speak out about sexual harassment and assault. Its primary purpose is to raise awareness about the magnitude of the problem. And I think that’s an excellent concept. But here’s the dirty little secret that most people don’t care to admit:
We already knew.
I mean, come on, people. Stop acting so surprised. I’m a 52 year old woman, and every single female friend I have has been physically, verbally or emotionally abused at some point in her life. Every. Single. One. And every single one of them can say the same thing about every single one of their friends. So, you do the math. This is a violent, brutal society. We just don’t want to think, talk, or do anything about it.
I’m glad this campaign has opened up a dialogue. But I think the more pertinent question would be, why have we all known this all along and taken no action? Because we do know this. You do. I do. Every-freaking-body does.
The time has come to stop letting the people who benefit from this silence have their way. Don’t let them get away with their evil abuses. Shine a light on these cockroaches. Speak loudly and often and don’t shut up. Because it’s not okay. It never has been, and it never will be okay.
I’m telling you, we are legion. And when an entire legion turns around and decides to fight back, it’s a formidable thing. You would be wise to stop poking this she-bear.
So, for the guy who groped me on the subway, the coworker who retaliated against me when I asked my supervisor to take his swimsuit edition calendar down, the coworker who had a coffee mug in the shape of a woman’s breasts, the doctor who told me my breasts reminded me of his girlfriend in college, the ex-brother-in-law who liked to “accidentally” be nude in my presence, every single stranger who called me “honey” or “sweetie” or “darling”, the uncle who used to humiliate me about my developing body during puberty, the boss who placed a soap dispenser shaped like male genitalia in the bathroom, the coworker who delighted in making me feel weak so he could feel strong, the supervisor who permanently assigned me to scraping dirty dishes because I wouldn’t go out with him, the coworker who “accidentally” rubbed up against me in an area where there was plenty of room, every construction worker who whistled as I walked past, the bridgetender who always groaned suggestively when he saw a woman in a bikini float past, the supervisor who just the other day said I had too strong of a personality, the old man who touched my leg as some warped thank you for giving him a ride home, the stepfather who sexually abused me and the guy who raped me…
I am the rule, not the exception. And you have run out of excuses.