I’m crying for all my friends and family, and perfect strangers, who are bravely standing up to say “me too” today. And for those who aren’t in a place where they can speak up, we are here for you too.
Every year or so, a high profile celebrity is outed as a serial sexual predator.
And every year or so, we are shocked that this can happen. We are repulsed by how many victims he has. We wonder how long this has been going on for (a long time), and why no one spoke up sooner (there are so. many. reasons.).
Sometimes we believe his victims and lift them up for a few brief moments.
Sometimes we call them names.
Sometimes we accuse them of seeking fame or money.
Rarely do we listen to them with the unflinching compassion they deserve.
Sometimes the perpetrator’s reputation will be tainted.
Sometimes he will lose his job.
Sometimes his case will go to court.
Sometimes he will go on to be POTUS.
Sometimes he will be shamed into hiding.
Sometimes he will go on making music or movies or books or policy.
Rarely will he be held to account by the justice system.
Then, those who have not been personally affected by the ordeal can forget. We’ve played our part and let it run its course in the news cycle. We wait for a respectful amount of time before we make rape jokes about them.
We forget that for every one who is caught, there are hundreds who have not been caught, and thousands suffering in silence.
But for the victims… they don’t get to forget. It doesn’t stop for them; it never ends. This is their life. For me, the night terrors that these news cycles trigger can last for weeks.
We can say “me too’ until we’re blue in the face. But the burden can’t keep falling to survivors to beg and plead for people to notice how prevalent the issue is. By now, it’s pretty clear.
Please challenge yourself and your loved ones to make a difference. Bystander intervention works. It could have saved me.
Don’t let rape jokes go unchallenged.
Don’t high five your friend for coercing someone who is drunk.
Don’t grab our ass when we walk by, and don’t laugh when your friends do it.
Don’t keep the open secret a secret.
Don’t wait until you have a daughter to see the value in women. Having a sister or a mother doesn’t exempt you from this conversation.
If you see something that makes you uncomfortable, say something!
We have to do better.