More voices of everyday people, burdened by memories of sexual assault, harassment, or inappropriate behaviours that left them with pain, humiliation, and self-blaming despite their innocence:
#MeToo – “I was 25, out with two friends, all of us teachers, celebrating finishing our summer university course.
“At the bar, a very polite man joined us, dancing with us all but paying attention to me. He said he was with a sales conference.
“After, he joined us for coffee but as our regular place was closed, I invited them to my apartment.
“At the last minute, the girls bowed out, claiming fatigue. The man said he needed coffee to drive safely to his hotel.
“Suddenly, he pulled me to the floor, brutally tore my clothing and used a chokehold on my neck to hold me down.
“I thought, “This is how I will die.”
“He ejaculated all over me before full penetration. Miraculously, he left after a mumbled apology.
“I never called the police. I felt I’d be judged for inviting him in. Also, I was a teacher from a Catholic family. I called a friend and she let me stay with her for a week.
“It took me 20 years before I could meet a man I trusted, 15 years before I told anyone outside my trusted friend.
“I’ve been haunted by the experience.”
#MeToo – “I was 10. My father’s best friend molested me repeatedly in my parents’ house. He’d come for a visit and seek me.
“He’d corner me, push his thigh between my legs, and his tongue in my mouth. I’d hide but he’d find me.
“It took me years to tell only my husband. I cried uncontrollably, reliving the fear, shame, anger, guilt, disgust, hate.
“I thought my parents wouldn’t believe me, that instead, they’d protect my father’s friend.
“But I regret not telling them before they passed. My true healing could’ve come only from them, absolving me of any wrongdoing, and providing the comfort I needed as a child.
“I’m 68 and still feel outraged.
“Should I finally share this ugly story with my son who has a young daughter?”
Ellie Note: Tell him to protect his children diligently, comfort them when they’re hurt, and believe what they tell him. Then act on anything that harmed them. If he doesn’t get it, tell your story.
#MeToo – “I was married with children.
“At an eye exam, the optician slid his chair forward and straddled me so that my knee was pressed hard into his groin.
“He looked into my eyes with his light pencil and brushed his fingers across my lips.
“When I stood up to leave, he asked to look in my eyes again, and touched my lips again.
“I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.”
#MeToo – “I was 20, in a support group of young women with eating disorders. Many saw a psychiatrist they liked, so I made an appointment.
“He determined that my issues resulted from my mother breastfeeding me for only three weeks.
“He asked me to stand, then grabbed one of my breasts and squeezed it. I was shocked and said nothing.
“He commented about my breast size (small) then suggested I take off my skirt.
“I declined, but remember feeling I’d done something wrong.
“He told me to make another appointment. I didn’t, however I also never told anyone about it. Who knows how many of those other young women went through the same thing?”
#MeToo – “A boy sitting behind me in Grade One constantly poked me in the shoulder asking me to look down - where I saw him manipulating his genitals in his clothing.
“I’m now a senior who worries about girls and young women, and boys and young men, people of any age really, who are subjected to this abuse every day, every way.
“I’m so grateful for the #metoo campaign which brought to light so many people's stories and helped us understand the dynamics of abuses and harassment.
“I’m so proud of those who’ve come forward to try and stop those in power from continuing these heinous and damaging acts.
“It takes a long time to rid oneself of the shame and burden they impose.
“The ones to whom it’s happened are left to somehow find a way to live their lives and come to terms with their pasts, and some aren’t strong enough to overcome it.”
Tip of the day:
#MeToo crosses all lines: gender, race, income, and nationality. Speaking up helps others find courage, and hopefully, peace.