This is Important: Me Too

This was originally posted on my previous blog on 5/30/2014 under the title “This is Important: #YesAllWomen” I have transferred it to my new blogand decided to share after seeing the flood of “Me too” posts covering my social media newsfeeds with the explanation: 

“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

I remember the #YesAllWomen movement well, and yet when I talk to the men in my life many of them still seem to have no idea about the magnitude of the situation. Whether the cry is “ME TOO” or #YesAllWomen, this a discussion that needs to happen. Awareness needs to increase. Change needs to happen. Acceptance, validation and down-playing cannot continue. This is not okay.

A few weeks back I had a friend post about #YesAllWomen, not knowing what it was, I searched the hashtag.   I found these tweets and realized how much #YesAllWomen hits home:

“#YesAllWomen because ‘I have a boyfriend’ is more effective than ‘I’m not interested’—men respect other men more than my right to say no”

“Because every single woman I know has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body. Every. Single. One.

“I shouldn’t have to hold my car keys in hand like a weapon & check over my shoulder every few seconds when I walk at night

“Girls grow up knowing that it’s safer to give a fake phone number than to turn a guy down.

“#yesallwomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say”

“In college, a police officer told us to scream FIRE if we were in danger of being assaulted otherwise people won’t get involved

“Because if I know I will be out til after dark, I start planning my route home hours, even days, beforehand #yesallwomen”

“Because men don’t have to text eachother that they got home safe. #YesAllWomen

I have been lucky enough to not be a victim of sexual abuse in my lifetime… but only because of promptings and fast defensive actions on my part. There have been too many close calls while walking alone late at night. #YesAllWomen needs to be trending because these things shouldn’t happen every day.  We shouldn’t have to be constantly on guard, and we shouldn’t have to just put up with the things guys say to us… we shouldn’t be taught to laugh off offensive remarks, or take crude comments as “flattering”.

I have walked around my car examining the inside for a hiding person while clutching my keys through my fingers too many times to count.

In college I drove the three blocks to rehearsal most nights not due to laziness, but out of fear.

I have changed my hair from a ponytail into a bun when I walked home because I’ve been told ponytails are easier to be grabbed by

It’s become instinct to cross the street when someone else is walking towards me or behind me after dark.

I have been told that I am crazy for going to Walmart at midnight by myself because it’s unsafe for a girl to be in a parking lot that late alone.

#YesAllWomen is important because I shouldn’t have to do those things.  #YesAllWomen is important because people are finally standing up and saying that it’s not okay.

#YesAllWomen is important not just because of the “big things”, but also because of the close calls, the harrassment, and all of the little things that we are sick of being scared of or putting up with.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because when I dress modestly, it should be because I want to, not as a form of self preservation.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because it’s spreading the word that “No.” doesn’t mean “Yes”.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because I have felt like my life was in danger multiple times simply because I turned down a guy I wasn’t interested in.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because men shouldn’t expect to be applauded for their honesty when in crude terms they tell me they want to sleep with me a few moments after meeting me.

#YesAllWomen is important because when a guy makes a joke about rape and I refuse to laugh, I’m the one who gets the hostile looks.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because when I stood up for myself and said that I wouldn’t tolerate being treated like a sex object, I was told that I was overreacting because “guys will be guys”.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because there were times I should have called the police but did not because I didn’t want to overreact – and because the things that happened seemed insignificant due to how common they are.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because I have held crying rape victims in my arms.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because I have been sexually harrassed online and in person, by both people I knew and complete strangers.
#YesAllWomen is important to me because on multiple occasions I have had to literally run for my life from men who had been hiding behind bushes late at night on my walk home.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because sometimes it wasn’t a guy who had been hiding in the bushes… it was the popular guy I saw at school and church every week who “would never do something like that, you must have misunderstood”.
#YesAllWomen is important to me because I have sat shaking and crying on a bathroom floor because of what *almost* happened to me.

#YesAllWomen is important to me because I am one of the lucky ones.

#YesAllWomen is important because I am the rule, not the exception.

#YesAllWomen is important because these things happen every day.

#YesAllWomen is important because this should not be normal. 

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