Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#MeToo

Standing Naked

I felt a bit exposed and naked when posting the hastag on my profile. I knew it might draw attention, and I knew I might get judged, or that people might not see it. Part of me felt vulnerable, and part of me knew that this vulnerability was bringing inner strength that I have lacked for a long time. I did it, and posted #metoo, meaning that I have also been a victim of harassment and assault, and much more.

This was never a debate 

It’s interesting how suddenly the whole world has taken a side, with either Me Too and Not Me Too.
I was personally offended yesterday as I saw someone post #notmetoo, because they have lived a sheltered life and had not dealt with such traumas. It wasn't that they wrote that they had been sheltered, or that they hadn't dealt with such trauma, it was that they tried to minimize the purpose of the the #metoo movement, as if it were not a big deal. The reality, they were just trying to get attention. #epicfail, as this was literally ignored, and only myself and another person saw the post, the other person responded, I simply “liked” their comments because they did point out the whole purpose of the #metoo movement.

Some people started to point out that men were now being targeted with the #metoo movement. Reality check, not all men harass, I myself have been harassed and assaulted by women as well. This was not a movement targeted against men, it was a movement targeted against harassers, predators and abusers who have been empowered by their actions far too long.

Having a Voice

This movement has given an opportunity to both men and women to speak up and connect with others who have dealt with the shame and guilt of past events, whether straight, gay, transgender or whatever other identity they have used. Shame that it happened and guilt because at times, it has been the person that we trusted the most that created the most harm. The shame and guilt are at times lingering because we are afraid of judgement that maybe we brought it to ourselves. Sometimes, in some situations, we are willing to go with the flow, and have a change of heart, and our "No" is not heard, it vanishes along with our respect, our boundaries and our self-esteem.

Healing from the Hurt

This year was the year when I realized that much of my self-sabotage was connected with how I valued myself because I saw that others did not value me, lack of value meant that maybe I am not worthy of love, friends, being heard or being alive.

Unlike other victims who self-medicated with alcohol, drugs or other habits (cutting, porn, anger issues to name a few), my drug of choice was food. It was excusable, it was “safe” and I was only “overeating.” In my eyes, there was nothing wrong, I was just “a little bit hungry.” Two pounds became 20, then suddenly, I am struggling for my life again.

I medicated for years on pastries, candies and other sweets until it got me into an unhealthy habit that has taken years to break as well as counseling and step programs. It wasn't until I got to Celebrate Recovery, that I realized that my anxiety and depression was due to my suppression of past harassment, assault and other negativity that impacted my ability to even develop a healthy relationship with men, women or God. Also, this open the door for me to see what a healthy relationship with women was, what true friendship was. Once I completed my 12-step, I got true healing by sharing my testimony, it was here that I started to experience freedom. Because I was able to say out loud to other hurting people that I had been harassed, assaulted, and molested, and that it was not my fault. At times that is all we need to hear, that it was not our fault and that we are not alone. Hurting people hurt others, and I know that during my hurting years, I did do much damage which now I've tried to repair, restore and heal from with God's help and accountability partners.

Sweeping under the Rug

Not all harassment cases are sexual, some have been verbal and psychological. Because of my devaluing towards myself, I started to believe at one point that I was only worth these negative feelings and connotations that came from the men I dated, the men I worked with and the friends that I had in my life. I think the worse situation that I dealt with was at work, because even after reporting the incident with a client, the company simply swept it under the rug. I felt powerless, unheard, and insignificant. It shocked me because it was already the 21st century and still cases of harassment were not being treated with the same respect and importance such as a case of financial fraud or lost product. This enraged me because I later found out I was not the only one in that office.

What I learned from that past situation was that while we were in a new millennium, our actions and thoughts were the same, sweep it under the rug, don't talk about it, don't bring attention to the matter. No one was "hurt" let's move forward. In reality, I was hurting and the fact that my then workplace did not look into the matter, made me feel really insignificant, small, and fragile. This impacted me for years to come, as I went working in human resource and manufacturing, I developed a thick skin, tried to not be too feminine and at times joked with the boys, because of my demeanor or how I carried myself, the reality was, I didn't want to be a target again.

The reality with #metoo

This #metoo movement was not meant to target men, minimize women (or men) past hangups, or current assaults and harassment. It was to give an open door to those who have struggled for years to speak up and say "I was just harassed!" "I was just assaulted!" "I feel dirty!" "I want to die!" "I'm drowning in my pain!" and "Am I the only one who has dealt with this?!?"

#metoo brought to light the many people that I have met through friendships, sisterhood, acquaintances, work, church, or past events, who were brave enough to post the hashtag on their profile. It let me know that I was not alone, that some of us had kept quiet about our past incidents for too long, and that it was time to open up and stop sweeping it under the rug.

About 7% of my friends on Facebook posted this hashtag, I applaud your bravery. It does not mean that these are the only people who have dealt with this issue, it just means that they were ready to come forward, speak up and bring awareness. The rest, may not be ready, but it does not mean they don't support. There are people who might never put the hashtag up, that is not for me or anyone to judge. Eventually someday they will find their voice and the issues will not be sweep under the rug anymore.

As a Christian, having found some (not full) healing, being able to talk about this subject, has brought people in my life who have given me grace, and this is something that I try to project daily, while remembering that we are all work in progress. Romans 5:3-5 states that our suffering produces endurance which then that produces, character and our character hope. Many of my fellow metooer's have suffered, endured and developed character and shown others hope to move forward.


This whole #metoo movement has been an Aha moment as well...