Please Don't Shame The Person Who Posted #MeToo

Please Don't Shame The Person Who Posted #MeToo

You are loved. You are worthy. You are not alone.
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#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.

Cover Image Credit: Nik Shuliahin

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12 Signs You're From Jackman Maine

You know you're from Jackman just by these few things.
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1. You never lock the doors

The entire parking lot at the store is filled with running cars, all of them with the keys still in the ignition. All are so easy to steal and yet no one touches them.

2. You almost never miss a sports game

Whether you are a sports fan or not, you almost never miss a game. Either you go to watch a friend play or to hang out, there are very few games that you have missed.

3. The cold doesn't bother you

I can't tell you how many times I've gone out in 20 degree weather in a t-shirt to do chores, or have shoveled off the deck in bare feet. Almost rarely the cold seems to be a bother.

4. You own either a snowmobile or ATV

Because what else is there to do in town? Seriously?

5. You've walked down the street all night

And you know that after 5, the road is silent. Unless it's on the weekends when everyone from Quebec is driving through.

6. You go to Old Mill and not the Town Park

Let the tourists go to the park and enjoy it, we'll just enjoy our sandy little b each.

7. You LOVE going to Slidedown

If you don't love the falls, are you even from around here? How can you not love going to Slidedown?

8. The tourists are hilarious

Now we won't say that to any of them because Jackman is a tourist town and needs to have the tourism, but some of the things that people say or do are laugh worthy.

9. Everyone has seen a moose in their backyard

And I mean everyone. I've seen one walk around in the Post Office parking lot, if they're wandering around there, they will be everywhere.

10. Hunting is a way of life

So is fishing. I don't think I know anyone in town who doesn't hunt or fish.

11. Everyone is shocked at your graduating class number

Every time I tell people I graduated in a class of 11, people stare at me like I just grew horns out of my head.

12. You know everyone

Self-explanatory.

Cover Image Credit: Bill Jarvis

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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