Yes, me too.

My high school teacher gave me a detention and then invited me to lay down on his desk while he graded papers. When I didn’t do it, he lowered my grade in his class. He said I could have kept the grade if I had accepted the invitation.

I stayed after school one day for marching band practice. As I walked alone down the hall, past the weight room where the football team was lifting, one of them called after me, “Hey, there she is. Let’s rape her.” His teammates met his comment with uproarious laughter and cheering.

I was a waitress for six years in high school and college. Many, many men thought that ‘server’ meant ‘servant’ and took liberties that I was supposed to have been grateful for, since they offered me a bigger tip for my bigger breasts.

I have a few more. So yes, me too.

When I first saw the circulation of this “me too” movement, I didn’t post anything on Facebook to join the vocal movement because I don’t like to be one of many. I don’t like to be a voice in the noise. I don’t like to be part of GroupThink.

I have to admit, my first thought was casually dismissive. “Sure, me too. I mean, haven’t we all been exposed to some kind of harassment? Isn’t that how it goes?”

And then I saw the error in my thinking. Each #MeToo is a story on a spectrum of severity, all under an umbrella of unacceptable. Thinking it’s not worth mentioning is the beginning of thinking it’s okay. We can’t be a people who think this is okay.

Societal problems are the deepest and most dangerous when they’re no longer questioned. When people don’t talk about it anymore because it’s all been said.

So, what could I do?

I could continue the conversation with people under my influence: the two young men whom I drive to school, whom I kiss good night, who ask me questions while I put on eye makeup in the morning.

“Guys, there’s this thing happening on Facebook right now, and lots of the people are talking about a time when someone touched them without permission or said something about their bodies that made them feel uncomfortable. Can we talk again about what’s okay and what’s not okay, just so I know you know?”

They recite back to me the things I’ve been saying for years in the language that is theirs.

Don’t touch a girl without her permission.
Her body is hers. Always hers.
Never use an animal name to describe a girl. (Chick, fox, pig, dog, etc. All off limits.)
Always be respectful of other people’s space and boundaries.
No means no.

So we keep talking. And we’ll keep talking. You and me, us and them, all of us.

#metoo

 

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