So you’re saying, “me too,” and I’m not surprised. Pretty much every woman I know can say the same, whether or not they’re willing to admit what they experienced was harassment or assault.
After centuries of women powerlessly tolerating this behavior, finally there’s traction building in the US justice system. We might be heading towards a society where the carelessness and ignorance of abusers time is up.
Saying “me too,” means someone threatened your body. Maybe you weren’t touched (or maybe you were)…but your body’s safety was threatened.
This means, in that moment and probably right now, you thought long and hard about what kind of message your body was sending.
We see bodies questioned and put on trial every time a sexual harassment accusation headline pops up.
“what was she wearing?” “was she drunk?” “was she flirting?”
Well, honestly, most times it happens to me when I’m just walking down the street or trying to do my job.
But because everyone asks those questions, interrogating the intention of our bodies, we start to follow suit.
“Should I cover more of my legs?”
“Are my boobs too big?”
“Is my body just asking to be looked at and talked about?”
When these thoughts come into your head, it’s you trying to protect yourself.
You’re trying to take control of a situation where you felt powerless. It’s an attempt to avoid this happening in the future. It’s normal and it’s okay to feel this way.
So you tell yourself if you dress differently, you won’t get cat called, harassed, or be the target of assault. But the truth of the matter is that this didn’t happen because of the way your body looks. No amount of control over your appearance is going to prevent it from happening again.
This doesn’t JUST happen to beautiful women.
It’s not JUST girls in short skirts.
No, harassment isn’t reserved for women who are flaunting their body.
I’m not here offering solutions to sexual assault or harassment. I have some ideas, but that’s not what this is about. This is about your body and the things you’re thinking about your body as a result of what happened. Maybe you blame your body, or you resent your body.
It’s not your body’s fault someone decided to objectify your body and separate it from your humanity.
So please tell your body, “it wasn’t you.” Don’t carry the burden of blame disguised as control. The control once lied with the abuser, but I believe their time is up.
Control now lies with the truth. I believe the more women who stand up and say, “me too,” the more likely our justice system will recognize truth when they hear it.
Rebekah Buege is a body confidence coach helping strong women process critical thoughts and heal insecurities.
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