As many of you may know, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women are taking to social media with the message of #MeToo to indicate that they also have been the victims of sexual abuse/harassment/assault. This is being done in the hopes that people will see the scope of the problem & realize that this is a very widespread problem that has hit nearly all women in some way.
Although I previously have spoken about my experience with domestic violence, I never really go into much detail, for a few reasons.
1. This is MY story & I will share what I want, with who I want, when I feel comfortable. While I 100% see the value in speaking out to shut down someone like Harvey Weinstein, that is not my situation. There is no legal action that could be brought upon my abuser any more, I am safe, I am happy, & I feel like my healing is better done through other methods, rather than sharing with the internet. Although, again, I support those that choose to speak out & search for healing & help in whatever ways they think best.
2. I’m not 100% convinced that randomly discussing private problems on public forums does anything except spread my business around & drudge up memories I’m trying to move past. If I volunteer for a charity, like I did with TAPS in July, & it seems relevant to mention WHY I’m invested in a charity like that, then yes, I will explain a little.
3. I want to live my life forward. I don’t want to spend creative energy on posts & videos about something that makes me sad. I want to talk to you guys about amazing books I’m reading, or fun make up looks, or new music I can’t stop listening to!
Why then, am I writing this now?
As I’ve watched nearly all of my female Facebook friends come forward with #MeToo posts, I’ve considered joining them, but have mixed emotions for the above reasons. I have enjoyed posts that say, “Survivors don’t owe you their story” or that men should be part of this narrative as well, but one status in particular struck a nerve. The person wrote, “Please don’t be afraid to speak up. You let that person win by remaining silent”
OH HELL NO.
OH HELLLLLLLLLL NO.
OH. HELL. NO!
This person meant well & has a good heart, but statements like these are why I tend to shy away from putting my personal beliefs on the internet. Even with the best intentions, you never know who you’ll offend/trigger. Triggering & offending people on the internet is a topic we can discuss another day. I’m not here to offer a solution. I’m not saying, “Oh because we never know who you’ll offend or trigger, we should all stay silent!” NOPE. Not here to say that at all. What I am here to do is respond to this person’s statement because it made me FEEL. SO. MUCH. that a simple FB status wasn’t going to cut it.
As mentioned above, Survivors don’t owe anyone their story. My story is just that – MINE. MY journey. MY healing process. MY life. MY CHOICE. Choosing to live my own way is something my abuser took away from me. Even after we broke up, I lived in fear of making my own decisions because I was never sure which one was going to cause him to reach out to me – something he continues to do periodically even now, even though we’ve been broken up for 4 years. Which selfie would get “Liked” almost immediately after posting it? Would a different one elicit a comment or, worse, a text? How do I prove that I DON’T WANT THIS?!!?
This was at a time in my recovery where I did not understand that I really have nothing to do with his interactions with me. I could’ve posted a picture of cheese & crackers & he would’ve reached out just to prove that he was still watching & could elicit a response from me, which meant attention for him. For those wondering why this individual was not blocked, trust me, that tactic was tried with negative results & now it’s merely an irritation, rather than a full on stressor like it used to be.
The bottom line is…
I have made the choice to be the heroine of my story – a tagline I’m sure you’re familiar with, if you’re familiar with this blog. Thank you to Nora Ephron for inspiring me with the quote, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim”. To the well meaning FB motivator urging “me” not to be afraid to speak up & saying that “I’m” letting my abuser win by remaining silent…I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but you don’t get to dictate who wins and loses in a game you aren’t even playing. My abuser will not win – no matter what. If I stay silent or shout my story from the rooftops of Orange County, that is my choice – something my abuser will never take from me again. Every day I live on my own terms, I WIN. Not him, never again. This is my game. I am the winner, I am the champion, I am victorious, a fighter, a heroine.
Edit: I want to make really clear, this is my response to that statement as I interpreted it regarding my current situation. I fully support & encourage speaking out about any form of abuse and support those on the very difficult road from victim to hero/heroine. If I had my life to live over, I would’ve spoken up, I would’ve taken legal action, but I didn’t, & it’s too late for me now. I will never know the victory of having my abuser formally punished, so I have to take my victories in other ways. Just wanted to make clear that I’m not trying to shame anyone into silence, this was a response geared with my current situation specifically in mind.