â€śMe too.â€ť I posted those words on Facebook recently, along with what seems like every woman I know. A post went viral asking each woman to write the words â€śMe tooâ€ť if sheâ€™d been sexually assaulted or harassed.
A man exposed himself to me once. Ten years ago. He was in a car, and I was on foot. He called me over and asked me directions to the freeway. I disappointed him by actually giving him directions and not noticing that he was exposing himself until he pointed it out. Then, I walked away.
I called the cops, and they warned me that it was a small step from flashing a woman to actually assaulting her. I was lucky nothing happened to me.
A friend of mine had an even scarier experience. A man grabbed her on the street and then flashed her. When she yelled for help, bystanders mistook her cries for a woman having a spat with a boyfriend, and they ignored her.
Under the #MeToo tag, the stories kept rolling in. Before long a question arose: Has any woman not been sexually assaulted or harassed?
I know several people whoâ€™ve been raped. In fact, Iâ€™m not sure I know any woman whoâ€™s never faced sexual assault or harassment.
I doubt thereâ€™s a woman alive whoâ€™s never been catcalled, but sexual harassment goes far beyond an unwelcome comment or greeting. For example, right now I know a woman whoâ€™s facing sexual harassment from a superior at work that could potentially ruin her career, and another one who already lost a job due to harassment. Sometimes men who catcall women follow them, and make them fear for their safety.
Sexual violence isnâ€™t something that happens rarely. Most of it isnâ€™t the heinous acts that appear on the news - itâ€™s the everyday acts that donâ€™t. If you want to see the faces of rapists, look around you. Just look around. Men who do this look like anyone. One of the men who assaulted me is now a pediatric neurologist at a prestigious hospital.
Odds are you canâ€™t find a woman who wonâ€™t say â€śme too.â€ť
How many men that you know perpetrated these crimes?
We canâ€™t stop sexual violence until we understand how very mundane it is. Men act shocked and horrified to hear of womenâ€™s sexual assaults, but remain ignorant that the perpetrators.