This weekend, thousands upon thousands of people took to social media under the hashtag #MeToo to share their stories of sexual assault and harassment. I was blown away by their bravery, honesty and openness and was so inspired by the connections and moments of support coming from these discussions.
Not everyone is safe and supported in a way that allows them to speak up, and seeing so many stories honor those people and their experiences has been a powerful and heartbreaking reminder that these attacks and assaults aren’t limited to high-profile Hollywood stories. They happen every day in everyday places and situations, including here in our community.
When I told a former boss of mine that his co-worker touched me inappropriately during a work trip, he said, “You’re not going to make this a big thing right? Because if you do, you’re going to ruin his marriage.” I told a female co-worker what happened and she told me she’d experienced the same thing — and so had several of the women that had worked there before.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret not speaking up and treating myself — and my body — with the respect that I deserve.
I realize how fortunate I was to be able to leave that job, find a new one and get help in the form of therapy. So many people who are assaulted or harassed can’t leave safely or without fear of retribution and the loss of their ability to keep a roof over their head or food on the table. So while this story (and the stories of those with similar experiences) haunts me, as I read through the #MeToo threads, my heart is deeply present with those who haven’t been able to escape or find a way to safety and support.
I’m sharing a part of my story in hopes of adding one more voice to the strong chorus of people who are speaking up. I hope those voices will get more people to take these stories seriously, to trust the people telling them and to take action to support those who are victims of assault and harassment. No matter where you are right now, please know you are not alone. You will always have a safe space here at DS. We support you. —Grace