October 23, 2017

#me too

I hadn’t planned to post anything about this but after reading all the posts from friends I realize it goes so far beyond what I’d imagined. And the question came up, “Does this count?”

My answer: if a man/woman makes you uncomfortable by his/her behavior, comment, message or any form of communication or action then yes, it counts. Check out “Tea and Consent” on Youtube.

I don’t recall my earliest exposure to this behavior but I think it happened in grade school; I’ve completely blocked it but it must have been before I was10. I just remember feeling creepy.

My high school yearbook described me as having “a cute face and a funny smile.” Not quite how I wished to be remembered–I’d have liked to be remembered for my writing skills, my sense of humor. I wondered if they’d describe a guy that way–no, he gets comments on his sports acumen, skills, intelligence. Not how he smiled or what he looked like.

The following year a good neighbor lost his wife to cancer and he told me he wished he were younger as he hugged me. Again that creepy feeling. I told my parents but they didn’t believe me so again I stifled it.

Working at the phone company brought me in contact (yes I meant to say that) with the touchy-feely boss. I reported him to his boss who said I’d be welcome to work for him. I don’t know how it turned out because my new husband wanted me to quit work and I did.

Even in my sixties, after going through cancer and double knee replacement, I still wasn’t immune apparently–the only difference was that I couldn’t run. While terribly upset but with a tad bit of humor, I realized that no woman is immune, no man is immune to this treatment, no matter what their age may be.

If some my friends feel free to post on facebook, I wonder how many others are still too ashamed, embarrassed, angry to speak up. I wonder how many of your friends feel the same way.

I want them to know that they did nothing wrong. They didn’t dress in the “wrong” way, comb their hair and put on makeup in an alluring fashion, walk in a way that would attract a predator. The predator is the one who did wrong. He or she was looking for anyone who came along, using criteria only he or she knew.

I learned to speak out. I wasn’t always believed but I continued to speak out and was believed more often than not. And we need to continue speaking out. Don’t let it stop with one post. Talk to your family, your friends, your employer, his or her employer. We’ve put up with this too long. Silence kept it going. Speaking may help bring about an end.

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One thought on “October 23, 2017

  1. Hannah

    Thank you, Susan. I spent over 25 years volunteering at the YW’s sexual assault programs. One part was giving a CAP( Child Assault Prevention) programs in schools . Not only did we emphasize telling until someone believed you, but after the program, children could come talk with us privately in the Hall . Every once in awhile we had a disclosure and could get that child some help. There were also teen programs, but I worked with elementary children.

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