It is both horrifying and validating to see the #metoo hash tag everywhere.
Sexual harassment and assault are attacks on the body. It fractures so much of our well being. Its message is clear, loud, and impossible to ignore:
“You have no voice. By means of your gender, this is what you get, what you deserve, all you are. Your humanity has no worth.”
These experiences, sometimes seemingly micro-moments on a subway, awaken our past traumas and losses. These experiences, again and again dismissed as indiscretions and ‘boys will be boys,’ violate our right to inhabit our own bodies. These experiences, often dramatic and torturous, smash our vision for hope, trust, and meaningful intimacy. They fracture our connection to our authentic self, spinning us into periods of blankness – devoid of our inherent creativity, our powerful life force, our worth.
My #metoo include two particular events both involving men who were in undeniable positions of authority and power. Their positions evoked status, respect, even dignity, and yet their groping fingers and unrelenting unwillingness to hear my physical and verbal protests were about marginalizing my humanity in favor of some insatiable and unattainable desire for more position, more power, more unnamed need.
We can wallow in it. We can be stuck in it. We can discharge it unto others in a desperate effort to rid ourselves of it.
Or, we find help. Love. Acceptance. Compassion. We enter a contract where our self worth is non-negotiable. We acknowledge. We speak. We thrive when we move toward #metoo moments. We remind ourselves – in absolute spite of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault - it is not normal, and not our fate, and not a decree on our value. We resist the message of sexual harassment and assault, and we persist in living in our bodies and staying in our hearts.
Help can be gentle and tender; it can be fierce and brash, and it is yours to claim if you choose and consent to what at one point was denied you.