#MeToo – Keep Having the Conversation

To everyone that has posted their #metoo stories, I hear you, I see you, I believe you, and I’m so sorry you had to experience that.

The first time I was harassed I was in 2nd Grade. An older boy giving unwanted attention on the playground, on the bus, and any time there was no one around. “Oh, he just likes you,” all the adults would say. He would pull my hair and they thought it was cute. He would sit too close to me and they thought it was nice. How could they not see how awful it made me feel?

He would try to stick his hand up my dress and no one cared to help stop him. I protested each morning getting ready for school: I didn’t want pigtails, because he would grab them and pull me near him. I didn’t want to wear a dress or skirt, but they made me anyway, “Pants are just for play and camping,” they would tell me. It made me uncomfortable and afraid, I didn’t understand.

When I was finally allowed to pick my own clothes, I stopped choosing skirts and dresses because that fear of being groped lingered in the back of my mind. In fact, most of my school life I avoided them. I didn’t find comfort in clothing until well into my adult and married life.

Sitting in the auditorium before a school assembly, a boy I barely know reaches his hand up my shirt to grab at my bra when I lean forward to put my backpack under the seat. I slap him away and a teacher writes me up for misbehaving. When I try to explain why I slapped the boy, I’m shushed.

Meeting with a group of friends at the mall for Orange Julius and a movie. My boyfriend had to work and couldn’t join us. A “friend” offers to drive me home since we live near each other, he offers the same to others. There are four of us in the car. He drops off the other passengers first. He wants to stop at the gas station, I buy us some sodas. He tries to force himself on me in the parking lot. I manage to get away and walk home alone in the dark.

At a concert with my boyfriend. A man in the group next to us grabs me, lifts me off the ground, starts groping and kissing my face. My boyfriend manages to get the guy off me quickly and someone texts for security to come to our section of the venue. The guy’s friends insist he’s just drunk and dumb. Security removes him.

I could keep writing for days, so many stories, so many things I’ve experienced and witnessed. #MeToo is an important conversation, please keep having it. Our culture needs to grow and improve, and the only way to ensure that happens is to verbally discuss why it’s not okay to just carry on the way we have been.

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