We don’t owe you an explanation.
No woman who has experienced harassment, assault, acts of “sexual deviance” – whatever name you want to apply to being sexually used, abused, targeted, threatened, exploited, etc. – nobody owes anyone a single word of an explanation as to why we are upset.
And boy, are we upset.
AS IF surviving the original trauma wasn’t enough.
AS IF waking up the next day, and realizing EVERY SINGLE DAY of the remainder of your life would be different wasn’t enough.
AS IF sharing your story with someone else and finding they didn’t believe you wasn’t enough.
AS IF going through the legal system and having a jury take his word over yours wasn’t enough.
AS IF seeing your assailant continue on as if nothing ever happened wasn’t enough.
Now we need to explain to you why we are upset? Why this movement is hugely important to us? Why we want to burn it to the fucking ground so that every man rethinks how he views and treats women?
It’s not our job to walk you through our traumas, day by day, letting you into the hurt, terror, depression, frustration, and isolation we felt (or still feel).
You don’t get our trust just because your care.
Regardless of how supportive you think you are of #MeToo, of women, of mothers and daughters and sisters and neighbors, if your first reaction to finding out some other dirt bag has fallen ISN’T to first trust the woman, I have no time for you.
If your first reaction is to think, “Well that doesn’t seem that bad,” I have no time for you.
If your first reaction is to think, “She probably led him on,” I have no time for you.
If your first reaction is to think, “Men don’t know if they should kiss you or not, they can’t win!” I have no time for you.
If your first reaction is to think, “Everyone knew he was a dirt bag, she shouldn’t have been alone with him,” I have no time for you.
If your first reaction is to say literally anything other than “I believe you,” I have no time for you.
If you don’t understand #MeToo, before you ask questions, before you cast doubts, before make judgments, the very first thing you need to do is listen.
Listen to the stories of those who are willing to share. Try to fully immerse yourself in the situation. Think about what it would feel like, not just physically, but mentally. Think about how it would feel in a week. In a month. In a year.
Think about if you’d be afraid, or angry, or sad, or stressed. Think about how it would affect your relationships. Your job. Your economic wellbeing. Think about if you’d feel trapped, or confused about what to do. Think about how devastating it would feel to have other people tell you it wasn’t a big deal. To move on. To let go. To forgive.
#MeToo isn’t a warlock hunt. It’s not mass hysteria.
It’s the result of millennia of abuse women have taken and buried. It’s lifetimes of trauma shoved down so deep, nobody would guess it ever happened. It’s generations of families led to believe this kind of abuse is normal. Expected. Accepted.
#MeToo isn’t complicating grey areas; it’s highlighting the importance of consent. If she isn’t consenting, it’s a hard no.
So yeah, we don’t owe you an explanation. We don’t owe you anything. But if you want to know more, you do owe us your trust. Your kindness. Your desire to make this right.
This has been a long time coming, and we are far from a resolution.