Thirteen
All Creatures Great and Weird

Me, As Well, Also, Too

(WARNING: Mega-political rant with a deep dive into sexual abuse/assault territory.)

Back when the #MeToo movement was first getting started, I sheepishly confessed to my therapist that all I could really bring myself to say about it was a Facebook vague-post with just the hashtag and nothing else. She -- correctly -- told me that NO ONE was owed or entitled to my story. No. One.

And then, like millions of women, I watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony last week. It was brave and powerful and we were not owed it or entitled to it, but I was deeply grateful to her for telling it. And in front of such a...well...less supportive and understanding audience than say, Facebook or my blog comments. 

And then! I watched the president of the United States of America (after managing to keep his mouth shut for...what? Five whole days?) stand in front of an audience and mock her, repeatedly. (Using the same turn of phrase -- "I don't remember! I don't remember!"  -- he used when mocking a disabled reporter so many moons and scandals ago, back before the pivot to presidential that never came.) And I watched the faces behind him erupt in laughter.

Uproarious laughter. 

Hmm. Nice. 

 

I was molested by a male family member when I was a toddler.

Sexually assaulted by male acquaintances in grade school and college. 

Sexually harassed by male coworkers at two separate companies in my twenties, only to have my complaints shoved under the rug by female HR employees each and every time. 

Groped by a total stranger who lifted my skirt to expose my ass while I was simply walking next to my husband. 

And raped by a female acquaintance/designated driver in my thirties. (There's a whoooooooole lot to unpack there, yes. But that'll stay between me and my therapist.)

Do I remember each and every date and location? No, because memory doesn't work like that. I remember the strong grips on my wrist, my waist, my hair. The rough feeling of a hand where a hand shouldn't be. The sudden flash of something vile during something perfectly consensual. The office copier room. The unexpected detour into a dark parking lot. The wine I drank, the short skirt I wore. The smug, amused face of someone having a little fun at my expense, and my own flush of confusion, embarrassment and anger. 

Ha ha. It's all so very funny. Congrats on the Supreme Court though. 

On November 6th, I will vote, of course. I will volunteer and drive people to the polls so they can vote. To vote out everyone who's looked away, stayed silent, made excuses, been complicit, laughed uproariously. Vote and rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

But every day, I will raise boys who know better. I will raise them into men who know better. Who will know that there's nothing they're inherently entitled or superior to simply because of the luck of birth and genetics and chromosomes. Who will respect your daughters' bodies and brains. Who will not see them as conquests or playthings but as fellow human beings. Who will speak up on their behalf when someone is being a jerk and make sure they get home safe. Because their mother and father raised them to fucking know better. 

This is my promise to the next generation of girls. I'm sorry it's taken so long. 

 

Comments

Angela Mott

I hear you. This last week has been hell. I know I need to somehow talk about this with my kids, but I am just stuck on how to do that. My son is about 6 months younger than Noah, and my girls are both 8. The girls actually know about my rape at 17 and know that no one should ever touch them without their permission. I need to have a conversation with my son though, and while we've always done the "it's only fun if everyone's having fun" and "if she/he doesn't want you to xyz, then you cannot xyz" kind of consent talk, but I think he's old enough to know more about what is really going on, and what is exactly, specifically, not ok. I just don't know how to do that without screwing it all up. Damn, this parenting stuff is hard.

Sara Oberg

Ugh. Up until now I've been hesitant to say anything except a giant Me Fucking Too. The collective unburdening of all of these experiences thanks to Dr. Ford is something I'm certain we've only just seen the beginning of as a society. Thank you for your bravery.

Stephanie Berry

Thank you for your courage to speak out against this. In a world where nothing seems to matter, the only thing that may matter is all of us speaking out. ((hugs))

Molly

I hear you, I believe you. I told my husband about my assault last Saturday night. It was the first time I have spoken out loud about it since I found out that my assaulter went to prison for 16 years for CSC I (victim under 13). My assault was 28 years ago. The last two weeks have been appalling.

N

This made me cry. Sending love from Scotland - the world is watching in shock and disgust. Change is coming

Emily

Agreed with all of the above. I was sexually assaulted in a club once in college. I'm not a pushover, but the whole thing was so sudden and shocking I just froze. A friend saved me and I never called the police or did anything about it except change my own behaviour (ie only dance with friends, keep someone in sight, etc). After this past week where he questioned the legitimacy oh her story because neither she or her parents called the police, I had to sit back and be like, "oh ok, so that's the bar then? No police report means it didn't happen?" And of course in my case I wouldn't have been able to file one anyway. He was a stranger in a packed dance club. I didn't know his name. I don't remember his face or any of his features except the pattern of his shirt and the smell of his cologne. But that doesn't mean it didn't happen, and it certainly means it doesn't still affect me in some way today. And my story isn't even that heinous compared to that of others.
It's made me have a conversation with my 4yr old daughter about good/bad secrets and consent and body boundaries that I wish I didn't feel like I needed to have.
Thanks for being brave about sharing your stories. We're certainly not entitled to them, but its nice to hear when you're not alone in your experiences or how you feel.

Katie H.

I honestly believe the best thing to come out of all these horrors is that women (and men) like you are showing the next generation what it means to be GOOD, honest, loving people. Regardless of whether you are a man or woman, giving that knowledge, that POWER to our children is priceless. I'm not saying past generations didn't do it, but some did not. Or some said it was their right to take from others, even when they said NO. Even when they couldn't say anything. I'm truly sorry for your experiences, glad you have someone to help you talk through them, and proud of you for giving your boys such a great opportunity to make a difference and be the respectful men they no doubt will be.

Steph T.

Thank you! #metoo

Katie H.

P.S. This British video is very basic, but a good way to explain consent to kids (or anyone really!).
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/national/tea-and-consent/2016/06/10/38e3e220-2f15-11e6-b9d5-3c3063f8332c_video.html

Brenda

I'm sorry that it has become necessary for women to relive their hardest moments. I'm sorry you went through these experiences. I hold you in my heart.

A

The last few years have been horrible but honestly, I never expected it to get so much worse as it has in the last two weeks.
I told my husband what happened to me when I was 16 and got blackout drunk - since that, I haven’t drank more than a few drinks once or twice a year - and that took 15 years to get to that point.
I also only have boys - and I’m raising them the same way you are. My husband was raised like that - so there are lots of good men/women but there are some terribles out there.

Gemma

Sweetheart, I am so sorry. No-one deserves to be subjected to any of that. But you're proving every day that you're way more than what happened to you by raising excellent human beings who know how to treat their fellow humans with kindness and respect.

Have you noticed how all the most powerful, influential men behave at the moment, particularly in Washington? They're angry, shouty - and scared. Because the party is over, their past is coming back to haunt them and the revolution has begun.

Cristin McCloud

I’m headed into “I just need to turn the news off” territory myself. Which is totally against what I’ve previously preached, but God. I’d like to drive to work in the morning NOT flying into a rage after listening to the radio.
I hear you.
Down with the patriarchy.

Kelly

Thank you

Anne

Thank you. I'm so sorry all of that happened. I have also declined to share my own #metoo or #whyIdidn'treport, because I just can't. But I deeply appreciate everyone who can and has and will. It matters.

Lisa Lucht

Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for raising gentlemen. Thank you for doing your best to stay strong despite it all. I just finished the Handmaid's Tale after seeing your tattoo and realizing that perhaps I had missed some important high school reading. Damn right, nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

Sue W.

#metoo.
I remember all 4 of the men who sexually abused me. Three in childhood and one as an adult. All are dead now. My first abuser started over FIFTY years ago and yes, I still remember, although I do wish I could forget.
Women do not make this shit up.

Melissa

Thank you. You can't see me applauding, but I am.

Jessica

Thank you.

Kris Chapman

One of the things that has made me so angry is this presentation by the GOP and Trump that men should be identifying with the abusers, and should be feeling defensive and worried. The fact is that while 44% of women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, 23% of men are also victims of sexual violence. This should not be a men vs women situation, but rather "awful human beings who think it's OK to sexually assault/harass other people" vs "humans who rightly see that as wrong and unacceptable". How amazingly sad that we have yet more proof now that the current President of the United States obviously falls into that first camp.

Liz

Thinking of you with love and gratitude

Chiquita

Thank you. It is a tough time, but like Valarie Kaur says, " what if the darkness of the tomb is really the darkness of the womb?" We are birthing something new.

Tomorrow I will take time off to go protest Kavanaugh. And no matter what happens, I will raise a strong girl and support sensitive, caring boys and men.

Jenine

Yes. Bees. Vote. (Peace to you.)

Angela

I know good will come to others because you wrote this post and shared your experience, and I hope a measure of good comes to you, for having shared it.

Katie

I’m so sorry. So so much to bear. Your blog has always been a bit of a repair foe me. I hope that you have those places where you can catch your breath and feel understood / not alone.

Dori P

I'm so sorry and thank you.

with love

Memories are mobile neural connections, memories can't be trusted, memories aren't real or permanent, memories can be tainted, changed at will or by new experiences or time. The example used toward me...If you ask 2 people to recall the same stressful situation (say an armed robbery) they will recall different things so therefore What I say about Memories is All True and what you say Cannot Be Relied Upon. This was said to me when I was attempting to explain how my experience of child abuse affects me now. There are some things that are never forgotten. Fragmented images, sounds, smells, physical sensations that don't hang together into a clear picture or a coherent story but sneak up and grab you when you are least expecting it. They are not fictitious. They are not a figment of imagination. I only wish they were false memories. She tells my story.

Jelourai

So much love to you. I, too, am raising boys who will fucking know better. Thank you for setting such a wonderful example ❤

Ashley

Me too. Not just a rallying cry to unite those of us who’ve been assaulted but to also unite those of us who will teach our sons to be better. I started small with my me toos. Sometimes I now add details. It depends on who I’m talking to and what point I need to make. Thank you for whatever amount of #metoo you want to share. It’s something that has to be shared because people think it doesn’t happen! Not to us, not to my (insert appropriate person here). Well it happens more than people think and it needs to stop. <3

Cobwebs

I'm so sorry for your pain. And I will also be doing everything I can to get out the vote just to wipe the collective smirk off those fuckers' faces. It's time for women to rise up and use the rage we've kept tamped down for so long.

(Have you checked whether you're still registered? Do it again; some people are finding themselves mysteriously removed from the rolls.)

MJ

I am so sorry you had to go through all of that. How awful it must have Ben. Sending virtual hugs to you. Thank you for raising your boys as you do. That’s important.

May I tell a short anecdote that I think is relevant? My 2-year old grandson was at the park recently with his nanny and some other small boys. Some older boys wouldn’t let anyone on the slide unless they knew the password. When the nanny complained to the boys’ mothers who were chatting nearby, they dismissed her concern and said “They’re just being kids.” The nanny, and my son when she told him, were furious - it’s not a very big step from that to the “boys will be boys” attitude used to justify sexual assault. Wake up, people. Raise your children to be kind, not the kind of entitled assholes who abuse others.

Cindy

Thank you for parenting “woke” boys. I am so sorry for those horrific experiences. You are awesome.

T

I’m sorry these things happened to you and I’m glad you have a trusted therapist you can talk to and a good support system.

In response to another comment about women don’t lie about rape—can we please not make blanket statements like that? Yesterday 3 dentists, men of color, were exonerated against a false rape claim in NV. And I remember the Duke Lacross case as well as the Rolling Stone Frat story/retraction. Not many women lie about this.....but it can happen.....

Jeannie

Thank you. Just thank you. I’m so sorry those things happened to you. thank you for sharing a little of your story and thank you for pledging to make the next generation better than ours. I have a son and a daughter and I pledge to do the same for my son. And to show my daughter things like this post and Dr Ford’s testimony and say “this doesn’t have to be your story too.”

M

I usually don't comment, but had to on this one.Mostly because I'm a mother of a son (he's less than a year old) and I'm appalled at the number of people (men and women) excusing misogynistic and violent behavior as "boys will be boys". It has also made me question what lessons I have to teach my son to ensure he treats women with respect and kindness. Luckily, your last two paragraphs articulate my credo for parenting my son. Thank you for being so eloquent.

Ksmaybe

I’m with you on so much of this. I was molested as a child. By my grandfather. My brothers don’t know. I cannot figure out how to tell them now and so I don’t. Do they understand when I say #metoo ? I highly doubt it. I believe you. Every single one of you.

Kim too

It’s all so horrible, and Amy, I’m sorry you have so many stories to tell.

Susan

As a mother of a young girl, I thank you. I'm feeling so scared for her, but knowing there are mothers like you out there is so immensely helpful. I too have been feeling very angry, devalued, and helpless this past week. We can't give up and we can't give in. Fight on, sister!

Reenie

I’m so sorry. I hear you. I raise my boys the same way. And that part of the Dylan Thomas poem is part of my Twitter profile. Do no go gentle into that good night.

JoLynn

Sending love to you. Thank you for sharing your rage and your stories. I am encouraged that so many, including me, are raising our sons to be gentlemen who respect women and teaching daughters they have a voice. I’m also with you on voting and driving others to the polls so everyone’s voice can be counted.

Sanae

Thank you.

Jaclynn

Something about knowing these horrific things happened to you while we’ve been merrily following along with your blogs just broke my heart. Sending you love and light

Mary

Much love to you. <3

Holly

#metoo

There. That's the first time I've released that into the world. I couldn't even manage a Facebook vague-post, so I admire and respect anyone who is willing to share her story. I also have a young son who I will strive to raise to 'know better.' Thank you for this post.

Jessica

Over the years you have written things that have made me smile, made me feel less alone, more hopeful. And you've written things that have made me worry, put you on my prayer list, given me perspective, humanized situations and people I have not had much exposure to. You have always struck me as brave and funny and smart and sensitive and articulate and loyal and dedicated. Your #metoo is another of those moments for me - you are brave, so very brave, and you are such a survivor. I have not voiced my #metoo - I put only #metoo on Facebook and within 3 hours took it off. I am so frightened, so protective of what is left of before the rape/after the rape girl that I have struggled for 34 years to articulate the army base with hundreds of 20 year old men, the foreign country with my lack of language mastery, the locked door, the jeering crowd outside, the trusted young man forcing me, the rape, the sperm running down my legs as I limped out of the now unlocked room, the walk through the crowd of young men not knowing if I should run - if they were going to rape me next, the wait at the bus stop all alone with the horror of what had happened, the flight home to my mother the next week, the wait for my period to start, the terrible conversation with my mother that I might be pregnant. I was 17. And maybe some day I can tell my #metoo without anonymity - maybe I can tell my family and my husband and my daughters. But I can't today.

Lisa Y

As a fellow survivor, thank you for sharing your stories and giving us all strength and permission to do the same. As a mother of daughters, thank you, thank you, thank you, for your commitment to raise good men!

Abesha1

From NPR News
Sexual Assault And Harassment May Have Lasting Health Repercussions For Women https://n.pr/2Rn7FIP

Lisa

I rage and mourn that that that happened to you, I rage and mourn that we will seat a justice who did it to someone, come November 6th I will be driving to the polls, this weekend I'll canvass. One foot in front of the next m*therf***ing foot goddamn it.

Jenni

Thank you for speaking (typing?) the truth. You've had one hell of a year, and I know the shit show that is the patriarchy hasn't made it any easier, but the truth will set you free --all of us free. Onward to smash the patriarchy together. We will not go back. Love and strength to you, cyber friend.

Amy

Yes! Yes! As a Boymom I feel super empowered as there is something I can do! Boys Will Be Boys ends here!!! Thank you!

Lindsay

Thank you, thank you for the part about raising your boys. It's the absolute single most important thing in all of this. And, as the mom of two girls a couple of years younger than your boys, I am absolutely counting my fellow parents to raise their boys right.

And I'm so sorry for what happened to you, and what's happened to all of us. I also couldn't bring myself to tell my #metoo stories. It's so hard.

Z

Powerfully shared. And a thought: I have a boy and a girl child. And both need to be taught well and without flinching about consent AND accountability. I am scared for both of their futures. I don’t understand some of what is happening, in part because I don’t understand why it’s okay to decide someone is guilty (at least in the eye of the public and media) without our criminal or civil safeguards of “innocent until proven guilty”. I understand that this particular woman has a powerful story, and I truly don’t believe or disbelieve her (how could I? Indeed, other than a very emotionally compelling and timely story...there just isn’t much else, to help point to guilt or innocence. He’s a nice guy and a good family man isn’t a defense, but then, someone’s else’s word is just simply not enough to trump that either). The other piece I don’t understand is how grown adults (male and female) can mock any woman sharing her story at this point. That story could be true, it could be untrue. But there is no way to prove it either way. She should be able to share it without fear of ridicule...but then why not share it without the media circus and lawyers and all the extra stuff that just...cheapens her claim and lessens her initial credibility? Honestly it’s very confusing. I am not yet prepared to believe anyone with obvious political leanings and somewhat suspicious timing without also weighing the opposite - that this all may be a charade and we’ve supported someone in destroying someone else’s life, all because she says so. I just can’t do it, not without evidence or proof. Which I understand is part of the problem - things like this, even when not 30+ years old, are sometimes impossible to prove. But I can’t see any other way around this - proof or evidence or reliable corroboratation are a necessity, otherwise the jokes about Salem and with trials start to hit a little too close to home. For those that have been abused - I am so, so sorry. And for those that were recently released after being falsely accused - I am so, so sorry. But neither side has more credibility than the other, and those safe guards absolutely must stay in place. And instead of just raising “woke” boys, we need to raise both sexes and all gender identities to view this as an equally important lesson in personal responsibility.

Teresa

I am sure Judge Kavanaugh's mother raised him well also. I have three sons and I can promise you they have been taught to respect women. I see this in a completely different way. I was not sexually assaulted but I was falsely accused and the things I went through changed my life forever just as it will with him and his family. I hate what you went through. No one deserved to be assaulted against their will. No one deserves to be falsely accused either.

Ann Coleman

Amy,
another long time reader. I have to say, your life always seemed so perfect to me. I should know better by now.
Sometimes I'm afraid the secret is that most women have been through it.
You are so strong! Don't you know?

Amalah

Ler us never forget that the man peddling the “false accusation!!1!” And “it’s a scary time for men/boys!!” narrative once took out a full page ad in the NYT calling for the Central Park Five to be executed. (Five falsely accused black boys.)

My boys are more likely to be victims than falsely accused. And their abusers more likely to get let off than convicted!

And Kavanaugh is on the Court for life. Awwww, poor drunk white boy who, sorry, was NOT falsely accused.

Dawn

Thank you. As a mom of a young girl. I greatly appreciate all the moms of boys raising them to be better

Ann Coleman

"Like" of your 10/7 10:39pm comment.
Also a "Love."

Kari Kettner

Thank you. #metoo

lisa keegan

BIG hugs

Maegan Clark

#metoo I took the time to tell my story on Facebook. As a result I have lost friends. Those that say "what about false accusations" yes I feel for those that are falsely accused however the sheer number of us who have dealt with inappropriate behavior from the opposite sex is staggering. In a conversation with my mother going into detail about some of the things that happened to me growing up in a upper middle class community were rightfully shocking to her. Telling my mom that I can't remember not having the fear of being touched inappropriately hurt her. She said she should have known, should have done more. I disagree. I am a well rounded happy individual. I was raised right. I have chosen for my self to tell my story and make people a bit uncomfortable. Because that moment of feeling that way is nothing in comparison to the abuse so many of us have faced. #metoo does not discriminate. It is everywhere. I'm just glad we are having the conversations that should have happened years ago.

firefly

Me too. My story was also 30+ years ago. I was 9. He was 11. My parents took him in when his family went overseas, despite my protests. My personal abuse was repeated almost daily for two years. I lived in fear. At 9. I didn't tell anyone until I was 19, and even then it wasn't the authorities. I was scared of what it would do to my mom to hear it. I was scared of society. I didn't know there were so many others. Dr. Ford's testimony hit me hard because, even though my story is fact, and happened repeatedly with other people in other rooms of the same house, no one saw him do it. I have no proof. How do you have proof of sexual assault when no exam is done and no pregnancy results? It would be my word against his too, if he wasn't already in federal prison from something else (thank you karma). I can't give exact times or dates of my abuse either. I can tell you he wore a teal polo shirt the first time, there was a really big lightbulb in the lamp overhead, and little sparkles on the ceiling. I can tell you what it felt like when he grabbed my leg, and how much it hurt to be pulled off a top bunk. I could say I fought him, but not how, and that he eventually let me leave, but I don't remember anything after getting out of the room. I believe Dr. Ford, and her memories of the bathroom door but not her ride home. And if I believe Dr. Ford, and she is 100% certain it was Brett Kavanaugh, then I believe it was. I can tell you this, I would STILL recognize my abuser, 30 years later, the minute I saw his face, even though he is grown now. In fact I did recognize him when he showed up on our doorstep twenty years later. Without anything being said, I knew instantly. It sticks.

Anon

#MeToo

The comments to this entry are closed.