Hey! It’s been a while! I know, and I’m sorry, but I have to get something off my chest…
This isn’t going to be a fun topic for me… I’ve read, listened, and even shared a few of my own opinions on what’s happening with all the big names, and all the allegations. I’ve listened as men around me have commented about how this is just teaching women how to ruin men’s careers, and read how the people coming forward now should have done so back when it happened. How women need to “grow a pair” and just deal with it, and stop being so sensitive.
I’ve also watched as some of my friends have come forward with their stories. Some are met with support, and some aren’t. One post I read said it quite accurately, so many of us have become desensitized towards inappropriate behavior that we tend to block it out, unless it’s something big.
From schools, to places of work, to bars, homes, and even the sidewalk, it happens all the time.
For me, I can go back as early as elementary school to as recent as February.
In elementary school a boy grabbed my chest. When I reported it, I was told by a teacher that it likely was my fault because of how I “played with boys.” I was also called a liar by a classmate, who informed me due to my physical appearance, no one would ever want to touch me. Nice claim, but it still happened…
There were guys at concerts and bars who would make comments and grope, even a few girls at the drag show that left me wondering what just happened. Watching movie with a “friend” and they pin you in the corner of your couch leaving you scared and angry when you repeatedly ask them to stop, get off, and tell them its upsetting you. And… unfortunately there are the occasional grazes at work that force you to freeze and search for the closest exit.
Even before #metoo began trending, you could read a story about a woman being assaulted and you could almost guarantee someone would shame them. What were they wearing, they led them on, they were rejected, they’re lying, etc…
Should we really wonder why we don’t come forward? 344 out of every 1,000 assaults are reported to the police, that leaves 656 that don’t.
I’ll save you all the details, but I remember just wanting to get away and get somewhere he couldn’t find me. I was touched, screamed at, called a liar, told my family would never find my body, my keys were taken, and I was scared I wouldn’t make it out alive. And yet, when the cop pulled up next to me as I was getting in my car, clearly upset, I told him I was fine, I lived in Michigan, I just needed to get home, and asked if he could follow me for a few blocks. That was my response, every time he asked if I was ok. “I’m fine. I live in Michigan, I need to go home, can you please follow me for a few blocks?” Ma’am, are you sure? “I’m fine. I live in Michigan, I need to go home, can you please follow me for a few blocks?”
Before you ask, I was wearing a hoodie, jeans, and a pair of winter boots. No I wasn’t dressed inappropriately, but if you look at the stats, others weren’t either.
I didn’t go home. He was calling my phone, demanding I come back, again telling me it was my fault but that he would forgive me and reinforcing that they wouldn’t find my body if I didn’t. All would be forgiven, if I just came back…
I wasn’t sure if he knew where I lived or not, so I drove to the radio stations, locked myself in a studio and prepped out my shows for the next few days. After a few hours, when I was convinced I was safe, I went home. Locked all my doors, grabbed a knife, and curled up on the corner of my bed where I knew no one could see me. I spent the next day with the blinds down, holding my breath every time a car would go past, praying they would keep driving. My mom came over, as she usually does on a Sunday, and as the voice was screaming in my head to tell her, I just sat quietly giving short answers until she left.
I was ashamed, embarrassed, and couldn’t help but blame myself.
He and I talked after this happened, which triggered a blog. I thought he was right. I caused this, I must have led him on, I put myself in the situation, therefor it had to be my fault.
I’ve shared my story with a few of my friends, and now you. What happened to me could have ended up so much worse. I’m thankful that other than a few scars mentally and emotionally, I’m ok. Well, at least for the most part I am. I still have nights where I wake up crying, or having a panic attack. Seeing cars that look like his or his families still triggers tings of fear, and I get jumpy when home alone hearing noises.
I can’t imagine what those who have, and the others who haven’t come forward with their stories must be going through. Years of holding it together, only to be judged when they finally say, enough.
I don’t know what the answer is to make it stop, but something tells me, this is still just the beginning of #metoo.