The Mess Behind My #MeToo

Any single thing that seems to be empowering or educational or whatever – someone’s got to do a think-piece that explains otherwise.


If you were asleep yesterday, #MeToo was trending as women all over the world were brave enough to say ‘Yep, sexual assault. This is a thing that has happened to me.’

And now cometh the ‘Why #MeToo is problematic‘s. So here’s my two pennies’ worth.

I am usually pretty matter-of-fact about my own experiences of sexual assault but yesterday I had to steel myself to post #MeToo because I didn’t want to seem like I was somehow using it for attention or give the people I know an undesired impression of me.

How sick. I didn’t put it on Facebook because I don’t want those people judging me, guessing at who it was, discussing me, disbelieving me. Although I felt OK with posting it on Twitter, I did so in a way I hoped came across as unhysterical.

Why? Why shouldn’t I be hysterical about it? It’s something people must surely be expected to be hysterical about?

But I didn’t want to change people’s idea of me with something someone else did, that I couldn’t control. I didn’t want my brand tarnished by someone else’s behaviour.

Yes, ick.

After I’d posted my #MeToo, I filled in a survey about sexual assault that a lady I follow tweeted – she wants to write about women’s experiences. And my down-to-earth, matter-of-fact self went all to shit.

An experience I’d previously been fairly OK about suddenly had me #triggered. (Turns out that meme, that JOKE is a real thing.) I felt shaky and panicked and sick. A 10-years-old hurt I’d mentally put to bed came back and bit me in the ass.

Most of how I felt came from putting it into words – something I realised I’d never done, despite being a writer and oversharer in all the time since – and launching it into the public. I had to face up to how I’d deal with people I know being aware of it. I had to choose whether I gave identifying details. Then I had to wrestle with why I DIDN’T give identifying details, why I chose to protect someone who should have protected me from his selfishness and didn’t.

That’s a whole lot of shit for a Monday morning. Women (hey, anyone who experiences it) walk a tightrope when it comes to talking about sexual assault; both saying something and not saying something come with a whole lot of baggage. Posting this will be difficult because if I don’t, I’ll feel hypocritical and weak. If I do, I’ll make people sad and uncomfortable – selfish honesty.

What a mess.

So, y’know. When we DO manage to be honest, maybe don’t go and piss all over it with your think-pieces.


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