I believe you

The number of women sharing their #metoo stories is both #inspiring and #triggering. I don’t use the word trigger lightly, I mean it.

As a survivor of sexual assault I can honestly say all the honesty is affecting me. Reminding me of all the times I was touched and harassed, there are more incidents I spoke about that I don’t want to right here right now, but I want to say to you, I believe you.

I believe you.
I believe you.

Someone I hardly know said those words to me yesterday and the impact was profound.

If you want to talk or not talk about the things that happened to you, it’s okay. I believe you.

If you want to sit quietly beside me to be near someone who understands, I’m here.

I believe you.

I was raped when I was 15 and kept it a secret for 13 years.

I recently spoke about incidents on set, and I told them from a safe distance of 20 years and states between me and the girl I was then. But strangers are reaching out and questioning me, wanting me to be more public, make a wonderful noise to help others. But the way in which they ask feels wrong. I don’t trust their motives.

I don’t want this kind of attention. I find it safer and more comfortable behind the scenes, at my keyboard, in the routine of my life far removed from those terrible incidents.

But with all these stories, I’m remembering how it feels to be a victim just barely surviving harassment. The weight of the anxiety I lived with then, the state of mind that was my normal—high anxiety, feeling worthless and belittled. These feelings of shame have cracked open and I don’t want to remember the details they hold.

Like the time I left yoga class and got into the elevator on the way to my car and the man in there was listening to music and he came close to me and was offering for me to listen. I backed away and then he came closer and he touched my ass. He was going to do more.

This perpetrator didn’t know I gained my power back. I was no longer the victim of my life: the adult child of an alcoholic, the woman who got out of an emotionally abusive marriage, the girl who still wanted to prove to the film and television industry she could take what they dished out. I was fierce and I screamed at him. I made a loud raging noise and scared him and when the elevator door opened, we only had one floor to go, I ran to my car. I called the yoga studio and told them a pervert was hanging out in the elevator.

They didn’t do anything— they didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t their property.

I called my husband. He raged with me. Asked if I was okay, if the guy followed me. He made me feel safer. I was shaking, I can remember shaking and being annoyed that this guy ruined my chill from yoga. I wondered what made me a target over and over. Why me?

There are so many stories being shared now, so many who think they did something wrong, that’s shame talking. Shame is devilishly clever and lies. I know that, but even in knowing that it can eat away at confidence and self-worth.

I know this.

I remember the feeling of my body filling with acid slowly rotting my organs as I tried to maintain my outside. Pretend I was okay when I was not.

I believe you.

So for those who reach out and are well-meaning in telling me to do more, I believe you’re trying to be supportive, but really you feel like another bully, pushing me.

People who witnessed some of what happened to me are afraid. 20 years after the fact, they are afraid to speak up because they will lose their jobs, and perhaps they have their own shame I never thought about. Shame of not doing more when they could have.

I see you.

I believe you.

I hope #metoo will help people see one another. I hope we see our humanity and are kinder. I hope we weed out this behavior— murder it so our children won’t ever know the creepy feeling of being touched or spoken to in a way they don’t deserve.

I believe you.

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One thought on “I believe you

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  1. Thank you so much for your Gumption! I need to talk to privately if that’s at all possible? My name is Maggie Suma you can look me up or email me. Please do it’s important!

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