#MeToo is a trending hashtag and status update with the intent of bringing awareness to the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault in our culture. The original story behind it can be found here. More recently it was used by Alyssa Milano in light of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, whose actions have caused several women to now speak out.

This is not just a social media trend, this is a movement. This is an opportunity for people (men and women) to share a part of their past that they may not have ever before and to grow in love and support.

More and more #MeToo posts appear each time I open my Facebook. Forty-two of my friends have posted within the last few days. Forty. Two. One said “I was not sure if what happened to me counted, but of course it did! This is why #MeToo is so important.”

I received two messages the other day after I posted my own “Me Too” status. The first was from a woman who I had looked up to almost all my life, she was in college when I was in high school and she helped lead church youth programs. She reached out to tell me that I was not alone and my immediate reaction was to cry.

It was beautiful to feel that validation, love, and support.

The second message was from a man, genuinely concerned about me and not sure what the post meant. After giving him the background to my post, he only replied “Me too.” I was heartbroken, yet amazed by the vulnerability he showed.

So please do not shame the person who posted “Me too.” You see, there is something especially shameful about being a victim of sexual assault/harassment. In a way, you feel guilty as though it was your fault. You think that maybe if you had just made “smarter decisions” you would not have been in that situation.

Even the simple act of updating your status or commenting “Me too” is intimidating; because maybe you are not ready to explain the details to everyone right now; maybe the act of recounting those moments is still too real.

It might be that you are still in denial about the gravity of the situation. It is never okay for anyone to touch you without permission. It is never okay for anyone to speak to you, email you, DM you in a way that harasses you. Those things you have experienced give enough reason for you to post “Me too.”

Personally, I have not shared my story with many people, my own mother didn’t know until this summer and sharing “Me too” was a big deal. It showed vulnerability. Instead of keeping that band-aid of shame and secrecy on, an open wound of mine was revealed to the world.

What was the result? I gave that person’s actions against me less power and found support from the most unlikely people.

To all of my readers, friends, and family who have posted #MeToo; and to all who have experienced sexual assault but have not been quite able to share yet know this: You are loved. You are worthy. You are not alone.