Tarana Burke created the Me Too campaign approximately 10 years ago. It is meant to be a campaign that tells victims of sexual harassment and assault that they are not alone, and it is a way for these people to connect with each other. Women and girls are affected by sexual violence and harassment on a regular basis. Me too shows the impact that this violence has on people and just how wide spread it is. I’ve seen debates questioning weather men should participate in this movement, some saying it is for women, however I believe that whilst women experience sexual harassment and violence more than men, it does not mean male survivors should be excluded from the discussion.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the voices of minorities and what it means to be an ally. And this goes beyond sexual harassment and assault. When I have heard people open their hearts and talk about racism, gender discrimination, and ableism (and more), and then seen others dismiss their words, have I always been able to support the person opening up about their trauma? I don’t know, but I have tired. I know myself, when I have talked about sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination and violence I have often been dismissed. And it is not the cries of our enemies, but the silence of our friends that we remember.
When someone tells you they experienced racism, gender discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, ableism, sexual assault, sexual harassment, violence, and domestic abuse (and the list goes on!), I ask one thing of you. When they tell you, when they open up their hearts and select you as a safe person to talk to, believe them. When people come forward about these things they generally have everything to lose and very little to gain by telling you these things. People lose jobs, family, friends, sometimes their lives… If you want to be an ally, believe them. Trauma doesn’t allow for perfect memories because emotions, fears, and mental and physical pains can and do distort memory. This does not make their account untrue. Believe them.
My promise to all the #metoos out there in the world, spoken or unspoken, is that I will do my best to stand with you and for you. I believe you.
I usually write about books, but this has been playing on my mind for a few days now… This #metoo has really spoken to me on so many levels, and as I mentioned for me it even goes beyond sexual assault and harassment. This is about believing people who have experienced traumas and making sure that when they open themselves up there is someone safe to catch them on the other side. Love each other. As always, share the reading love.