Last night, a multitude of people wrote two words on their Facebook Timelines: Me Too.
For many, these words were intended with at least two purposes:
1) to signify how widespread sexual harassment and sexual assault are in our culture (folks shared that these have happened to them; it’s not hard to see how large the numbers of people are who have been affected)
2) to signal to people that they’re not alone if they’ve experienced these.
While numerous people wrote Me Too on their Timelines, others chose not to do so. There are a number of reasons why people might make such a choice. It’s important to say this:
No one needs to share such words or the experiences behind them in order for those experiences to be real and believable. And no one has to share such words or the experiences behind them for one’s personhood or bravery to be affirmed. If you found yourself grappling with these last night, please know that you are indeed brave, and your personhood is indeed affirmed. Self-disclosure is always a choice.
Today, we are becoming more aware of the impacts of last night’s words. As we do that, we should be mindful of this:
Because self-disclosure, even if only two words, happened in massive numbers last night, many people are remembering some of the worst abuses of power they have ever experienced in their lives. In addition to recalling such moments mentally, our bodies remember too. Old emotions of misplaced shame and guilt can be ignited. These were often internalized in the moment of abuse, though folks were not at all at fault.
This is a good day to be gentle with ourselves and others.
Many people won’t want to be asked about their posts or these challenges (please keep that in mind) but we should be aware that many people will be suffering inwardly today.
My best thoughts are with any who are struggling through painful memories and physical feelings today. If you could use a person to talk to about any of this, please reach out.