Heartbreaking #MeToo Stories of Sexual Misconduct Beg the Question: Was it Me?
If you've spent any time on social media in the last few days, you've no doubt seen the latest trend. Women of all demographics, from all over the country, have been posting #MeToo. Some of them have added an explanation. Some have encouraged others. Some have just written the hashtag. Any way it's written, the message is clear. Women from all walks of life have experienced sexual assault or harassment in some form.
Now, I'm not here to mansplain their message to you. I'm not here to be some men's rights advocate and point out that it's not all guys. I'm just here to say how this one guy has seen this message and reacted. Upon seeing hundreds of my friends, family, and coworkers be brave enough to tell about their #MeToo experiences, I'm just left asking myself, “Was it me?”
I like to think of myself as one of the 'good guys.' I'd never physically force myself on someone. I'd never assault a woman. But, the more I see these heartbreaking posts the more I'm questioning my own past. What, through my eyes never seemed wrong, could be completely different from another point of view. Was it me?
Have I ever been involved in 'locker room talk' with a group of guys? Have I said things about a woman or listened to others say things that I wouldn't want her to ever hear me say? Has that justified this type of thinking and perpetuated the type of culture that makes it seem ok? Was it me?
Have I ever pushed a girl to go further than she may have wanted to? Did she ever not say, 'no,' but really didn't want to say, 'yes?' Have I ever gotten more handsy than she was ok with? If I did, and she said no, how far past being comfortable was it before that point? I'm a big dude. I am 6'2” tall and 240 pounds. Was there ever a time she said, 'yes' because she felt intimidated? Was it me?
It's easy to think that I've always been the good guy. I've always stopped when she didn't want to. I've never touched a girl without permission. These things are all how I see them, though. Was it the same way through her eyes? Was it me?
To any other men reading this, I ask you to think back on your own past. Can you say without a doubt that you never crossed a line? Can you say you've never said or done things that were just 'boys being boys?' Are you completely ok with all of your past actions?:
While looking through your Facebook feed and seeing these #MeToo posts, take a moment and realize the things women have had to deal with their whole lives. Think about the way things may look through someone else's eyes. It's easy to see a victim and view it as your mother or your sister and say how you never would, but do you view all women in that light at all times?
If society is going to change, it has to come from us making ourselves uncomfortable. It has to come from realizing that even the 'good guys' are only seeing things from one side. It has to come not just from having women brave enough to say, “me, too.” The next time you see one of these posts, are you willing to ask yourself, 'Was it me?' Are you honestly ready to hear the answer?