My time line is ringing in the echoes of me too. The first day I saw it, I posted my own. Simple and to the point:
I didn’t want to go into the details. There’s too many to remember if truth be told. Saying me too hints towards the extent of the problem. Yet it masks the true numbers behind each woman.
Over the week I’ve seen more and more comments. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too….
It’s hard to deal with it if truth be told. Everyday there’s been more and more stories of women and girls having their bodies violated. Each time I’ve read these two little words, my heart has sank a little lower. The tears have got a little closer. Each one has not only reminded me of my own me toos, but of the fact that because I was born female I don’t have the right to walk down the street without harassment. Only now, as my grey hairs grow and my fat rolls over my jeans, can I walk down a quiet street without the constant fear of attack. I’m no longer of interest to the men, nine times out of ten they’ll leave me well alone.
It’s not just the sound of the “me toos” from the women that are hard to bear. It’s the utter silence from the majority of men that I’m noting. The number of men who have chosen to keep quiet about this epidemic. A silent epidemic which has been eating away at us for decades if not longer. I have no idea why the men are keeping quiet – perhaps they are too embarrassed to comment, too ashamed to join in, or maybe they think this whole thing is women over-reacting – PC-ness gone mad.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the me toos are being ignored, like the incidents themselves. Throughout my life I was told quite clearly that “these things” were to be expected. If you’re female no doubt you’ll understand what “these things” means. If you’re male then it might be worth thinking back to how you and your friends behaved when you were in teenage packs, how you act on a night out, and how you treat a women you’re being intimate with when she decides she doesn’t want to go further. I know many decent men who may be disgusted at the implication of what I’m saying here, that I’m tarring all men with the same brush. I’m not. But I am tarring a lot more of you than care to admit that you have done wrong. There are many, many men and boys out there who have done things which undisputedly amount to sexual harassment or assault. There doesn’t seem to be many who admit it though – in public or private. Yet again it’s the women who are supposed to bare the brunt of the experience, this time in the form of a public humiliation by revealing their stories.
We women are saying enough is enough. It’s a pretty dismal state of affairs that we would have to say this, but we are where we are. We are the generation that are realising we can and SHOULD be the last ones that grow up believing boys will be boys, and girls need to put up with their behaviour. As hard as it is to be surrounded by stories of sexual abuse and harassment everyday and trust me, for many of us it’s hard to see, maybe finally the time has come for things to change. Yet I can’t help but fear that until the men start to really listen to what’s being said. Until they start to really think about their own behaviour, then I’m not sure how much real change we can expect.
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