If you don't know yet, women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed are setting their Facebook status as "Me too". It's kind of a roll call.
I have not put that status yet. When I wrote about one assault, I mentioned at the time how hard it was to call it that. There is such a strong feeling that it could have been worse, that it shouldn't really count.
Women do that a lot. There was an article recently from a woman who was describing her gratitude for never having been harassed, except in the article she also describes two pretty clear incidents of harassment. There's not even a hint of her thinking that they should count; just that they were uncomfortable and she was lucky.
Something else I know I have mentioned is that every time I post something about sexual assault, some woman I know will say something revealing her own assault. It doesn't matter how many of them I already knew about, there are always more.
The numbers are really going up today. I imagine it can be very triggering for some, depending where they are at in dealing with their own memories. I sympathize with that. I think it can be helpful for others, and I hope it is.
My initial reaction has been a lot of sadness, then one friend posted this:
"Of course me too. I am a woman, aren't I? So me too, more times than I have any stomach to list here."
Then I got mad.
I get that some people may be concerned with this putting harassment and assault and rape all together, because that increases the results. I'm just going to tell you that they are interconnected enough that it makes sense. There are similar root causes. Yes, some are worse, but women do enough minimizing on our own. We don't need any help with that.
And still I feel like I can't post it as my own status, because nothing has been bad enough. And still I keep thinking about this one, that I haven't really written about before. So it needed a blog post, because that's how I deal with things.
I was at a concert that I had really been looking forward too, but then I was in a weird state of mind leading up to it. I was worried and insecure and just not doing well. I was really there for the opener, I didn't take in anything from the second band, so I decided to just get out of there before the third. As I was on my way to the train, a group of guys approached me and as they were passing one of them grabbed my breast.
It was over before I could even react. I just kept going, as they did, but in completely different frames of mind. They were laughing, because it was funny for them. I had been feeling pretty horrible before, and that validated all my concerns about being insignificant trash. Why wouldn't I be a crude joke to them?
So it's really not that bad, almost nothing, except I still remember it, especially today.
Women also blame themselves a lot. I can assure you I was not dressed sexily (though I was walking by myself at night) but I really believe that part of it was the frame of mind I was in. I was less aware of my surroundings, so I didn't notice that anything was happening until the contact was made. I was more vulnerable by being down. It doesn't mean that it can't happen on a good day or to an exhilarated person, but I felt like it was a factor.
And it says something about those -- it's tempting to call them boys, but they were probably in their early 20s. They were legally adults and certainly capable of knowing better. But, if I am right that they picked up on me being down, and their response to that was to invade my space in a sexual way, to ignore any humanity and grope me, and that was amusing to them, well, why am I thinking of myself as garbage? Because I don't do things like that.