Written by Anonymous
It breaks my heart to see this new hashtag taking over the internet. It’s like every woman has taken her bandage off to expose an open wound. It’s impossible to ignore, yet I know that for her, ignoring it was never an option. Women carry the pain of these wounds with them throughout their lives. Some start to heal a bit, if they are left alone. Others are cut open again and again until, eventually, they cease to heal and the bandage does no good.
I, too, have a wound. And I wish I could stand with my fellow women and declare #MeToo for the world to see. I wish people knew that even I, a covered woman, a Muslim woman, a sheltered woman, have a wound as well. But I can’t.
Shame is a strange feeling; it’s nearly impossible to shake off once it sets in. I don’t know why it crept up now, of all times. Is it because I think there’s something I could have done to protect myself? I wasn’t acting provocatively when that stranger honked at me as I walked by. I wasn’t wearing anything sexy when that boy touched me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. I was merely minding my own business when the man in the car next to mine made me fear that I was about to be followed home.
So why am I feeling ashamed to say #MeToo? What have I done wrong? What do I have to hide?
Why should I be the one to cower in shame when they should be the ones who feel that way? But I wonder, will they ever feel shame for their actions? Will there ever be a day when they feel genuine guilt? Or at least boldly called out for what they do? Even a simple, “Hey man, that’s not right. Leave her alone,” would suffice. Maybe he still wouldn’t feel guilty then, either. But at least he would know that his behavior is not going unnoticed. Maybe he would fear that someone who looks like him would be on my side.
But I’m still waiting for that day. I’m sure it’s happening somewhere, but it has yet to happen in my life. And that’s why the shame has fallen on me, instead. I carry it around like a weight on my back. It makes it impossible for me to speak up. Maybe no one will hear me. Maybe no one will believe me. Maybe they’ll think it’s my fault. Maybe they’ll think I’m just trying to seek attention. Or maybe they’ll think it’s no big deal.
I am proud of the women who have been able to speak up. I want to say, I believe you. What was done to you, however big or small, was terrible. And I’m sorry that I can’t join you in this fight. This weight is making it difficult for me to stand up for myself. Thank you for standing up for me.
For now, I can only say it here, as a nameless, faceless being – just as I was every time it happened to me: #MeToo.
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