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16 October 2017 @ 02:33 pm
Me Too  
Unless you have been living in an internet-free bubble for the past 48 hours or so, you probably have seen that posted on facebook and twitter and whatever other social media sites people use nowadays. (I prefer being longwinded, but I do use facebook. Too much, in fact, but that’s another matter.) It refers to (primarily) women posting those words if they have been sexually harassed or assaulted. The idea is to raise awareness of this problem.

I am one of many women who admits to being surprised if any woman could not answer "yes" to having been harassed or assaulted. I’m concerned, though, that just saying that, without including the story, may be inadequate to help others understand.

I’ve been fortunate enough not to be raped. I was once in a situation where I came closer than I was comfortable with and where I still believe a lot of people would have blamed me. The short version is that I was upset about something that had happened with respect to a relationship I was in. Another man, who I thought of as a good friend, offered me a drink and a shoulder to cry on. And then suggested that I should see him as a substitute. He could easily have overpowered me – he was a big guy and I had been drinking. That he didn’t showed that he had some fundamental decency, but his suggestions continued afterwards whenever we saw each other (which circumstances made frequent). I had to go out of my way to make sure we weren’t alone together.

The scariest story is a string of voicemail messages I got over the course of a few months in which a guy threatened to rape and sodomize me. I had my suspicions as to who it was leaving the messages, but couldn’t prove anything. There were various reasons I didn't think the threat could be acted on, but it was still scary.

I can think of another incident during a summer when I was working as a camp counselor and was on duty with another counselor who thought it entertaining to fill the time of our hanging around in between patrols by masturbating in front of me.

Another summer camp incident was when I was about 11 and a couple of older girls (yes, girls) groped me and pulled off my bra. I reported what had happened and they were expelled from camp.

There are countless incidents of catcalls, guys leaving inappropriate photos around (hint: if you have to apologize for the nudie pictures on the ruler on your desk, maybe you should go out and spend a buck or two on an inoffensive ruler. Also, your apologies might be more plausible if you didn’t then throw in comments about "all those coeds always …"), men in certain countries who believe American women are all loose, …

None of these are huge things compared to a lot of the stories I have heard from other people (or, in some cases, witnessed.) But the point is that they’re common and it is bloody exhausting to deal with this crap. And I am also sure I have behaved inappropriately plenty of times myself, because I am a product of my culture.

So, yes, me too.

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