#metoo: Confessions of the ‘unharmed’
Updated: Jan 14
Those who know me may be surprised to read the title of this post. For all intents my life has been one of health and safety when it comes to this matter. I was raised in a conservative home, home schooled through graduation and did not get my first job until I was seventeen.
Now I am in no way saying that a person cannot become a victim of sexual crime in such circumstances. In fact, many times it is out of religious, conservative circles that these stories are unearthed to all of our abhorrence.
My point is that I have never been one of those stories. I’ve never felt I was in situations to have one of those stories. But then again, do any of us?
When the #metoo movement launched into mainstream awareness, I felt a strange mixture of thankfulness that I did not have a tragic story to add to those of so many people I know, and helplessness against the fact that because of that, I could not relate to those same people in such a big way.
You see I felt left out. It is a silly part of our human nature that expresses our need for community by lowering ourselves into misery to relate to someone else.
However, I was wrong. I can relate. Maybe not to the physical pain or level of trauma that many people have experienced. But I can relate to feeling frantic, unsafe, having my human dignity smeared by a comment.
Sexual crimes are so much more personal. There are many layers to wade through in healing because it is not just a part of our physiology, it is connected to our spirit and our souls. One aspect injured affects the others.
I have fallen victim to the residual affects of a ‘man’s world’. I have worked in a position that opened me up to attention and comments I did not appreciate. And when I mentioned my discomfort at these comments, I have been told by other men that it was “harmless”.
I have felt that I had to leverage my looks and charm to prove my aptitude. And maybe sometimes I played the naive, innocent because that’s what people seem to expect from me. I started wearing heels because, though it was unspoken, I soon discovered that in many peoples’ minds a woman that looks like a girl and is hardly over five feet tall surely doesn’t know what she’s doing.
I’ve used my skills at hiding my emotions and carrying a neutral expression to get through encounters that left me feeling unsafe and at times a bit dirty, because in the past men could say things to women that SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED! And yet if a woman insinuated the same things, she would be corrected immediately.
I haven’t had the confidence and truly the strength to stand up for myself. But I want to.
I want to walk freely in this world without wondering if I should be prepared for the guy across the counter to say something demeaning. I want to know that my “womanliness” won’t be the measure of my worth or whether I’m capable. I’m tired of the way our culture has measured value. I’m done with the past ‘man’s world’.
I’m ready for a family world, a world that values the heart inside over what’s skin deep, a world that can be honest with our struggles and build each other up, a world that sees each other as important aspects of our lives, not something to take advantage of.
I’m thankful for the #metoo movement because it gave me the opportunity to admit to myself that I have felt unsafe and I have been sinned against. And it’s not my fault.