I joined in on the social media movement and posted “Me too” on my Facebook page. Before doing so, I seriously considered whether there would be any ramifications from it. Would any coworkers look at me differently the next morning? What would my family think – my sister, my parents, my boyfriend’s family?
Shortly after I posted my status, I spoke to my sister over the phone. Part of the conversation went something like this:
Sam: Hey, so uh I saw your status.
Sam: You know, the Me Too status.
Jess: Oh, yeah.
Sam: Want to talk about it?
Jess: No, not really. I mean I haven’t been raped or anything. Haven’t you ever gotten your ass grabbed at a party?
Sam: Oh, yeah.
Jess: Yeah, I mean it’s not anything huge but it’s still something that has happened to me.
There was more to that conversation than above, but that is where it all started. As I began to say more about my personal take on the movement and how it affected me, I also began to feel increasingly bothered by the fact that I was trivializing my personal experiences. I was comparing my experiences to the brutal cases of rape and the higher levels of violence reported in the news. I felt as though I had less a voice to speak on the issue because nothing egregious (by our society’s standards) had happened to me. And I realized then that it wasn’t okay to feel how I was feeling. When speaking to perhaps one of the most trustworthy people in my life, I felt like I had to downplay what had happened to me.
I’ve never been brutally assaulted. I’ve never been raped. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced harassment.