Women everywhere are stepping forward and saying they have been a victim of sexual harassment and/or assault.
I wasn’t going to make a public post on this topic because my experiences are still too raw in some ways to open them up for public discussion. But now I’m starting to see some pushback that’s making my blood boil.
Right now, in the comments on a Scary Mommy post on Facebook, women are actually debating who is more scarred or damaged: women who have been assaulted or women who have only experienced harassment. That’s beyond fucked up, and it misses the entire point of the #metoo movement. We’re speaking up to raise awareness of the fact that EVERY woman has faced some form of sexual harassment or assault. It’s showing that we do, in fact, live in a rape culture.
I also happened to read a blog post by the daughter of a well known conservative theologian (who shall remain nameless because her nonsense doesn’t need any kind of publicity) which was written in response to the #metoo movement.
In this post she acknowledges how heartbreaking it is to see so many women speak up about their experiences. But then denies the existence of rape culture.
What is the actual cause of these issues?
According to her, it is the result of being a sexually liberal society. If people just learned to keep it in their pants, we wouldn’t have rape or harassment.
I will not share my stories, but suffice to say: I know what it’s like to be assaulted and harassed. I know what it’s like to have men feel entitled to do or say what they like to your body simply because you have boobs and a vagina. My experiences cannot be blamed on some sexual liberal/rebellious phase on my end. I was always the picture of sexual purity. I dressed modestly. I grew up in a Christian bubble. I only dated other men who shared my values: guess what? It still happened to me. And not just once.
Sexual assault can be traced literally right back to the Bible and ancient societies. Rape culture is not something that sprang up with the sexual revolution of the 60s. It’s been a problem for centuries. And only now are we able to start talking about it and address it.
Sexual assault/harassment can happen to anyone. I’ve heard that stats on this are 1 in 6 women will have experienced some form of assault in their lives (based on reported assaults – we know most assaults go unreported so that number may actually be much higher). You’d be hardpressed to find a woman who has not experienced harassment.
The perverse thing is: the more you dive into religious circles, the stats are not any more comforting. Statistics show that it is married religious men who are most likely to offend.
This is real.
We can no longer hide our heads in the sand and cry “purity culture will save us!”
Because it can’t and it won’t. If anything, it grooms people for waiting predators.
To all of the women out there, whether or not you’ve publicly spoken by typing the words, “me too” or ever even told anyone your experiences: my heart goes out to you. It’s not your fault no matter what the voice in your head or the people around you may say. No one ever signs up for abuse.