I’ve watched these words being splashed across social media for days now. The voices of women and men that I know who have been sexually harassed and abused by others, joining together to raise awareness that, we too, have had this experience.
When events like the one surrounding Harvey Weinstein and the allegations being brought against him by dozens of women come to light, they shake us and rock us to our core. We know we have to do something about it. Because we know this: It’s not a Hollywood problem. It’s a human problem.
As humans we’re really good at harming and hurting others to get our own needs met. There is a desperation that forms inside of us and in the moment we think that the only way to find relief is by taking actions that harm or hurt another. It happens with words and with actions. It’s the cycle of abuse.
What fills my heart with hope and my eyes with tears though is that humans are even better at doing something else: healing. We were created to be creators. Every single one of us. We create solidarity. We surround the wounded to provide protection. We create safe spaces for people to share their stories and be heard. We create healing.
Friends of mine have been sharing the post “Me too” on social media and encouraging others to add their voice in the comments if they’ve been abused or harassed too. Forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven. I watched those two little words,”Me too”, up-tick in the comments in a few short moments on one post. I added my name to that list.
Physicians in the ICU telling me that if I had shown them my thong, they would have come to help me sooner with a patient.
I saw interesting posts coming from some cautioning that sharing painful stories like these can push those who are currently being abused away from help and coming into the light.
But I know better. I know when I was in abusive situations, I felt shame. Shame that turned my face red-hot. Shame that made me want to hide from God. I needed someone to tell me that I wasn’t the only one. I needed someone to tell me that my experiences weren’t normal. Hearing others say, “Me too” gave me the strength and courage to understand I wasn’t alone and that I could come out of the darkness of shame.
What completely destroyed that wall of shame, though, was a very strong woman who had herself been abused looking me in the eyes and telling me, “It wasn’t your fault.” I crumpled to the floor in relief. That’s when my healing began.
So I want to say this to every man, woman and child who has ever been abused or harassed, “It’s not your fault. Not for one second was this ever your burden to carry. You didn’t do anything to deserve it.”
You see, my friends, abuse is cyclical. The only way to create change and stop the cycle is awareness. Awareness comes through noticing. And sometimes we only notice things because people speak up. That’s why God gave us voices; to speak up.
So let’s speak up. What drives men (and women) to harass and abuse others? What is at the root of the problem? I can guarantee you it’s not because of the outfits or because “boys will be boys”. No. We need to look deeper into our culture of patriarchy and find out where the roots are. We need to have courageous discussions. Even when the truth hurts. That’s where the healing will start.
Massive kudos to the men on social media that I’ve seen admitting that they’ve been part of the problem. What a vulnerable, bad-ass step to take. Thank you. You are strong and courageous.
I know this: because so many have raised their voices to say, “Me too”, the next generation will find the strength to say, “Not me.” Our boys will be raised to value the entire human race. Because when we value someone, we treat them well.
Our girls will be raised to cherish their bodies and use their voices loud and strong.
Raising our voices is what love looks like. Valuing everyone no matter what. And at the end of the day, when we all raise our voices on social media in a chorus of solidarity, it’s because we’re all valuable and we all need to be reminded of that. Me too.
The amazing Me Too graphic that I used on this blog post is the artistry of my beautiful friend Lizzy Spohr Russinko. You can also follow her on Facebook . Her Instagram handle is: @this_unscripted_life