Content warning: This piece deals with themes of sexual violence.
Two weeks ago, The New York Times broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long allegations of sexual harassment. As the days went on, more and more celebrities that had worked with Weinstein, or had known of this industry secret, came forward to reveal their personal experiences of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. Whether these actors had been personally targeted by Weinstein or not, everyone had something to contribute with regards to this ongoing crisis.
Women were not taking anyone’s shit. Ben Affleck was rightfully called out. The “but I have a female relative” excuse was, once again, dismantled. Of course, President Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape was brought back into public discourse. Obviously, sexual harassment does not begin or end with celebrity women, and thus the #MeToo movement was reborn and used by the many women that have ever experienced sexual violence.
Exactly one year ago I was violently sexually assaulted at a popular Plateau nightclub. In the week leading up to this anniversary, #MeToo blew up all over social media. Any time I saw the hashtag, be it following a long post or just those six characters on their own, the pain I felt last year was emphasized.
Another confession: one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind after that incident was that something like this was bound to happen to me at some point in my life. The following days were spent going over anything I could have done to prevent this, as if this was something I had control over instead of the deliberate action of one man. Thanks to an amazing network of women, I was able to make that differentiation. It is so sad that rape culture is so prevalent, women use it as a bonding tool. #MeToo proved exactly that.
It is so sad that rape culture is so prevalent, women use it as a bonding tool.
Women came out of silence to post the hashtag, and I can guarantee you very few of them were surprised when someone who had never spoken about her experience before posted #MeToo. Moreover, just because someone didn’t post the hashtag, do not think for one moment that something has never happened to her. #MeToo has conjured up intense emotions for many. It has been a reminder for many that survivors are not believed when they come forward, but are ridiculed when they don’t. Furthermore, it puts the burden on women instead of holding the men who perpetrate these atrocious actions accountable.
So, #YouToo to the men that have cat-called me; to the men that have told me to smile; to the men that have hissed, blown a kiss, or barked at me; to the man that called me a bitch when I said I didn’t want to get a drink with him, after I told him I was sixteen; to the men that have groped me on the subway; and to the man who touched me without my consent.