The first time (I can think of) was in high school. I was maybe a sophomore and a male classmate of mine (and someone I called a friend) grabbed my boobs out of nowhere and laughed. I smacked his hand and he of course acted like it was a joke. It wasn't the last time it happened. Flash forward to me being 18 and I'm out at a club for the first time and as I'm walking towards the bathroom a man grabs me by the hips and tries to stick his hand down my skirt. And later that year the same thing happens again in a foreign country. A few months ago I was in Toronto and a man followed me out of a parking garage as I was walking to an interview I was running late for. After politely declining his offers for date multiple times he continues to follow me and pleads for a hug and then proceeds to grab my butt.
But it's not just those more blatant times, it's the times I've made out with men who made me feel guilty or coerced me into it, the countless times I've been cat called, the times I've been "accidentally" groped in a crowd at a show, it's the constant need to remind people that you have a face and eyes. But what's worst about seeing the multitude of people posting that they too are victims, is that while reading others stories I found myself feeling lucky that I wasn't raped. I'm going to repeat that so that can sink in. I felt LUCKY, almost grateful even, that I wasn't one of the many victims of one of the most terrible crimes I can think of. That's fucked up beyond words people! We shouldn't be living in a world where we feel fortunate that 'hey, at least I've never been raped.' We shouldn't have to tell women and girls that it wasn't their fault no matter what the circumstances were. We shouldn't be ignoring the fact that more people than not posted 'me too' on their profiles. We shouldn't be ignoring that men can be victims too. Something has got to change and the first step is acknowledging and talking about it. I'm proud of everyone who was comfortable sharing their stories and glad to stand with you in this. For those who aren't, continue on your journey to healing, you're worth living a happy and healthy life. I hope this movement helps open people's eyes and inspires a change to stop excusing predatory behaviors.