Me too // About visibility and my struggle with triggers
Me too is more than a recent hash tag but was a nonprofit movement that Tranana Burke already started about 10 years ago. After the recent kickoff by the actress of Alyssa Milano 10.000 of people chose to use this hashtag on their social media walls.
I thought for a damn while if I should post it myself. I was triggered cause the number of metoo posts frightened me and triggered me. I know that bad stuff has happened to me. I'll spare you the details, they don't belong here and are too personal for the internet. I never shared full details about my story but when things escalated in 2014 I went 'semi public'. I was frightened, so frightened I hardly slept anymore and every mail or phone call made me shiver and tear up. On some days passing a train station or walking over a bridge without having dark thoughts seemed no longer possible. I was about to burst and ashamed cause "What would my family think?" "Would my friends think I'm dumb cause I got into this situation and judge me?" I knew I needed help.
I was reading a "A Song of Ice and Fire" to that time and there was this saying
"Fear cuts deeper than swords" ( by Syrio Forell - said to Arya Starks during their fighting lessons and later quoted by herself when she strolls through dark alleys or faces frightening situations.)
A tiny voice in me was screaming, "We are not giving in, not to this monster" So I told my friends briefly about one chapter of the story and the solidarity I experienced was overwhelming. So many people stepped forward, wrote me messages and showed me that I'm not the only one. Especially female friends told me that they have been in similar situations and that they knew how I felt. This made me even more sad, cause it hurt me to see that so many wonderful people got hurt by other humans.
The metoo hashtag causes similar feelings when I see my timeline full of people that got assaulted and harassed in some way. The original post from 2017 might have started using the term "women" but I prefer "people" cause it's not limited to women or people who prefer to use female associations for themselves. Women, cis or trans and queer folk might be at a seriously higher risk of getting harassed but my cis-male hetero friends in my timeline are unfortunately living proof that we are all in the gutter. I see this as a big quality of a female empowerment of feministic movement, that the terminology is evolving through the people and their use of words, to include others and bond with people no matter which gender they have. I saw different versions in my timeline and it might be that I personally have preferences for this or that one, but who am I to judge you for the use of terminology here. The topic is so dark and I dearly appreciate that so many of you are stepping forward, so I won't start word-picking now.
I also don't think that those who don't speak out on social media are less brave than the ones using this metoo hashtag. There is darkness you can't bear to talk about to even close friends so how are you supposed to handle it to shout it into an anonymous crowd of strangers, uncertain of their reaction ? The internet can be a horrible place and often people get targets for no reason at all or just cause the another person needs someone to rage on.
We may show each other solidarity but we are no support group that can provide professional help through simply copying a hashtag. It's important to seek help and friends are crucial, don't get me wrong, but from my own experience I can only encourage you to get professional support. There are people trained in dealing with various kinds of horrible stuff and they can support you may it be legal issues or mental or physical health wise.
There is stigma and it sucks, it sucks often pretty bad. People may judge you. But those who do, will judge you no matter what and in the end its about your well being. So if you want share your story - go for it. If you prefer to keep parts of the story for yourself, that fine. Do what is right for you but most importantly don't feel ashamed or pushed. Not by me, or other people or through the media, yet alone a hashtag that has but currently revived a movement that is already existing for 10years. Don't get me wrong the movement is wonderful but you don't have to feel pushed cause there is suddenly a hype about it on social media.
(Not related to this topic but one of my go-to-songs when I need to scream into the void)
I struggled hard if I should be "brave" enough to publish this two words. I did in the end but added no further content, cause I was not 100% comfy with it. Also I don't think it has to do with bravery since I don't find people who don't share their stories less brave. It's just a personal choice you have to feel comfy with.
I know it's important to talk about issues and the stories I read in connection with the recent "metoo" media push, made me want to curl up in a blanket cause it creeped me out what horrible stuff people can do to other people. I talked with one of my favourite people about my feelings about this hashtag and they shared their thoughts with me. The conversation actually happened curled up under a pile of blankets, which was a good safe space for me, far more safe than the internet. I think I saw too much trolling and victim shaming to be able to really open up in "public". I hate blogger suggestions since they often sound super shallow, but if you feel more comfy talking to a dear person under a blanket - go for it and switch of Facebook for a while if it triggers you like me on some days.
Victimization was another issue we both struggled with during our conversation. I know horrible stuff happened to me in a situation where I had no power or control at all. But I hate to see myself as victim. I fought back. I survived and I did not give in. I'm still here. It still pains me to see that other people went through the same or worse or just different forms of harassment, abuse or assault. I don't see them as victims, cause things happened to them. There is this dark tie that connects us one time quite loose, other time rather tight or maybe also not at all, cause we share some totally unwanted experiences.
No matter if you go public yourself. I see you. I love you. You are valid.
If I sent you a heart emoticon cause you posted metoo, this was not cause I loved what happened to you, but cause I wanted to send you some love.
Further readings //Stuff I recently read