Every Woman In America: #MeToo
I’m so damn tired of everyone excusing the bad behavior of men as “sketchy” and “boys will be boys”, aren’t you?
This isn’t about feminism.
This isn’t a cause that’s just for women.
This is everyone’s problem.
Boys will be boys no more
There’s a paradigm shift that’s happening in our culture and it should be important TO ALL OF US.
It isn’t just big politicians and celebrities. It isn’t just violent rapists with no regard for other humans. It’s not just “evil men are rapists”.
It’s teenage boys and CEOs.
It’s the guy in your office who all the women keep their distance from. They all know to avoid the lunch room when he’s in there.
It’s the guy driving with one hand on the steering wheel and his window rolled down, yelling “nice ass where you goin’”, out the window to a woman walking on the sidewalk.
It’s the guy at the bar who takes home a girl that everyone knows is blacked-out-drunk.
It’s the guy in his twenties, blurring the lines between adolescence and adulthood, sexting teenage girls, romancing them with pictures of his dick, and coercing them into bed.
It’s movies and sitcoms, portraying sexual harassment as entertainment and rape as something people whisper about.
It’s attempted rape.
If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
How much of your reality is made of lies you tell yourself? Are they lies? Or are they the truth?
And what is reality, anyway? A subjective construct of perceptions?
Your reality and my reality in the exact same situation are completely different but both still true.
Everyone’s perceptions of everything are different. Everyone’s boundaries are different.
Victims and perpetrators of sexual assault recall and interpret events very differently on the basis of the magnitude gap, which are the consistent differences in recall between the victim and the perpetrator.
The memories are different, basically.
There are discrepancies between the memories of perpetrators and the memories of victims…in short, an unbridgeable gap in memory.
What the perpetrator gained was generally smaller than what the victim lost, and so the perpetrator has less reason to replay that memory. The event affected the victim much more than the perpetrator, and so it would almost inevitably tend to linger in memory and come up more often.
The victim saw the incident happening in a different time frame, placed lasting emotional consequences on the incident, and blamed the perpetrator for a being an evil person. On the other hand, the perpetrator does not place as much value on the interaction, and in fact says the incident wasn’t that big of a deal, and that the victim was overreacting.
No two person’s memories are alike; which creates the perception of truth that we view as “reality”. Memory is the result of an event and the perception of the event, often containing visual, audible, or other sensory stimuli. Victims and perpetrators have different memories of the same event; victims view things in “right and wrong” categories, while perpetrators see a gray area.
It is common for perpetrators of sexual harassment to find little or no sexual gratification from rape or attempted rape. The enjoyment is merely in the act of doing something they are not supposed to and exerting power. Sexuality is secondary to the offender, and he typically does not find the attack sexy or arousing — it’s often more about exerting power.
When I was 13, two teenage boys attempted to rape me. I remember the sky turning a deep shade of twilight-blue through the bathroom window and the cold sink against my back. I remember the feeling of their warm bodies against mine. I remember my hands being held behind my back.
I froze. I tried to yell but no words came out of my mouth. I stood there as they forced themselves onto me. I felt alone, ashamed and disgusted with myself. Why didn’t I get out of there? Why didn’t I scream? Why did I freeze?
Your memory snaps photos of the details that will haunt you forever. It blacks out other parts of the story that really don’t matter much.
I know now that my brain also used a biological response called dissociation to protect me. Freezing is a strategy that is used when the option of fighting or running (fleeing) is not an option.
For those of you who have experienced sexual violence: I’m sorry, and I believe you.
I know it’s not easy. I know it’s not easy to talk about, or to move forward from. I know it haunts you in areas of your life that you never even expected. I know it lives under your skin.
46% of women who are sexually assaulted develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Teach our sons and daughters that silence doesn’t mean “yes,” and “no” always means “no.”
Communication is the most important skill we have as human beings, especially in the vein of sexuality. Discussions of sexual harassment in polite company tend to rely on euphemisms: harassment becomes “inappropriate behavior,” assault becomes ”misconduct,” rape becomes “abuse.”
We’re accustomed to hearing those softened words, which downplay the pain of the experience. But let’s not do that anymore.
Believe the stories you hear from people who are brave enough to speak out. Ask questions. Have a dialogue.