Thoughts on #MeToo

I’ve given this revisited #MeToo movement some good long thought. When I first saw people posting, I felt my gut clench. Then, I softened and realized that I was clenching against something that didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t know why, but I just knew I couldn’t post a “me too” on my Twitter or Facebook account.

A few days later, a friend posted a tweet from @apbeneven: “Reminder that if a woman didn’t post #MeToo, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t sexually assaulted or harassed. Survivors don’t owe you their story.”

There it was. The “not right” feeling was one of commoditization. For many of my FB friends, it was very empowering to speak up and let their friends know – some for the first time – that they had experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. The problem is, if you’re not ready to tell your entire FB list or the Twitter universe, disclosure can be very, very disempowering. It is never ok to pressure anyone into disclosing information they are not ready to share. Unfortunately, social media can do just that. For some, the #MeToo movement puts a feeling of tremendous pressure on them to disclose. This produces a feeling of disempowerment. People who don’t #MeToo are not cowards. In fact, they are the most honest about their feelings of any of us. They may be legitimately overwhelmed and not fully in their bodies enough to reap the full healing benefit of disclosure, especially to a mass audience. When you’re not present to feel, it’s not authentic healing. It’s pseudohealing.

Many people first disclose one on one. In that environment, it’s safe enough to feel the impact of telling the truth – fully. THAT is what is important. Feeling the telling of the truth. This releases some of the trauma of having to stay quiet; of not having been in a safe environment for truth telling – and now knowing that you are. It restores trust in your own intuition. You are right not to tell, until it feels right to tell.

When I was abducted and sexually assaulted, it was a news story. I didn’t have a choice about who knew. Even though my name was not used, people knew. I had no power – no say in who knew and who didn’t. I numbed out even more. It was not healing. The next time I told my story was to my future husband. I felt he needed to know and it was healing just to know I was telling a hard truth about myself to someone I trusted. As I healed, the number of people who knew because I chose to tell them, increased. Now, each time someone says something to me about my story, I go through more healing. I feel more of the trauma come to the surface. I feel it and release it. That’s how healing works.

The #MeToo movement can be empowering for everyone. Staying silent is just as powerful as speaking up. If it feels right, do it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Either way, you are your own authority!