When I was 14 years old I had a male co worker in his twenties ask me if he could watch me eat my banana. That afternoon I made myself vomit for the very first time.
When I was 17 a man followed me home from the beach and chased me down my street to my house. Goodness knows what he might have done if I wasn’t a fast runner and he caught me.
When I was 18 the owner of the butcher shop next door to where I worked, constantly rubbed himself up against me and asked if I’d like to try some of his ‘meat’ or his ‘sausage.’ This happened on so many occasions I lost count. He never gave up.
That same year I was walking to the bus station and a man grabbed me by the breast. I screamed and he ran away. The next day, the police I reported it to, told me that from my description, it was likely he was ‘the Karrinyup rapist’ they were looking for.
I’ve had countless men grab me by body parts in clubs or put their unwanted hands up my skirt or dress. One even tried to force his finger inside me.
I’ve had a client grab my by the breast at an event and then laugh in my face when I told him not to touch me as if it was the funniest thing in the world.
I’ve had guys force themselves inside me on a couple of occasions. Once I was conscious, once I was not. Yes, I went to their homes but no, I did not want things to transpire the way they did. Consent would have been appreciated.
I could go on but I won’t.
Like most, if not all females I know, the #metoo movement really got me thinking and reminded me of the countless times I’ve been a victim of sexual harassment and assault. I use the word ‘victim’ loosely though. Yes, I was abused, assaulted and harassed but if I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. This might sound like a controversial thing to say but it’s the truth. Sure, I would have preferred not to have had some of the memories and experiences I had, but I did and as I said before, so have pretty much all the women I know and the one thing that stands out to me is how women have drawn strength from and risen in spite of those experiences. Most women I know haven’t allowed themselves to have a ‘victim’ mindset.
Women are speaking up and out all over the world. It’s is about time the spotlight shone on this issue, so dare I say it, thank you Harvey for being the abominable human that you are and inspiring this movement. You know I always say there is a positive to everything and the positive to this is clear as daylight to me. Women are standing together and supporting one another and the power in unity is an unstoppable force of nature. Together we rise. Bravery inspires bravery and the ripple effect hasn’t gone unnoticed. Here’s hoping women enduring unwanted attention now and in the future will not fear speaking out.
I’ve seen men show bravery too. They’ve taken notice and looked inward. I’ve seen it and I have read it. One particular man I know recounted something he was responsible for in his younger days and his public ownership of it was nothing short of raw honesty. Good things come from owning your story, so to that man, I commend you. If more people did what you have done when they’ve taken a step in the wrong direction, the world would be a much better place.
I think society has a lot to answer for. The objectification of women in the past and present is rife. It’s no wonder so many of our boys grow up thinking it’s normal to continue objectifying women in the real world. It’s learned behaviour! Perhaps those in decision making positions will now think before using women in such ways in the future and perhaps women will think about allowing themselves to be used as such. We can only hope.
By no means do I mean to play down the impact so many of the events have had on women. That is the last thing I’d want to do. I know some things endured can only be described as horrific and have an ongoing impact on their lives, if they even survived. May those women receive the care and help they need to move through those experiences into a place of acceptance and strength. I also know that for many who did survive unspeakable acts, the impact was too much to bear and countless women are no longer with us because of that. May all those beautiful souls rest in peace.
What I AM saying however is for most of us, although we went through what we did, we have come out of it stronger, more aware individuals. We also really appreciate it when we are treated with respect by men, whether they be our partners, our family members, people we work with or complete strangers. When you’ve been on the receiving end of disrespect, you appreciate it when you have an experience as it it SHOULD be. So thank you to all the wonderful men out there who love, honour, respect and protect the women in their lives. You rock.
And for those men who have been victims of abhorrent behaviour from women (or men), this particular movement does not disqualify what you have suffered either. Your plight is equally worthy of attention.
So #metoo but it doesn’t define me. It all made me stronger and I am grateful for knowing what a good man looks like. I am one of the ‘lucky’ ones.
Until next time…
Love & Light Always,