Just yesterday, on my social media accounts, I started seeing a bunch of women I know commenting with just the words, "Me Too". I didn't know what it was about at first, then I saw the full copy and paste post.


If all the women who have been sexually harassed and/or assaulted wrote "Me too." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste.

That stopped me dead in my tracks. As a person who talks on the radio, sometimes I don't want to get into too many controversial topics because it seems like everywhere you look there's some new scandal or issue.  Like all you're doing is making people angrier and angrier and nothing comes of it. But this one got to me and quickly.

I think part of it was what I thought was reality and what is reality are two different things. I thought that my experiences put me in the minority of people. I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Literally hundreds of women just on my feed were posting this. It made me open my eyes a little and look at myself and my experiences and realize that it wasn't just me, and more importantly, it wasn't my fault. 

There have been several instances in my life where I have been sexually harassed, and, unfortunately, several instances where I was in appropriately touched against my will by a male. I think that's part of the definition of sexual assault. I won't get into the worst of them, because I'd like a little privacy in that regard. But seeing so many women sharing their stories made me realize that to open the discussion and maybe make it a little more real, I should share one of mine.

This one is pretty tame compared to some others I could tell you, but.  Yeah.

This instance happened to me when I was about 15 years old. I was at a church function. It wasn't an official church service, it was an after party type of thing. You'd get together for lunch, chat, etc. I was standing in my church clothes (dressed up, per Grandmother's request) making small talk with a boy a couple of years older, who was in my Sunday School class.

We were having a normal, innocuous conversation, small talk, really. My Grandmother was standing about a foot or two away, there were people all around. This boy, who I will not name, went from small talking with me to shoving both his hands up my shirt and trying to get his hands under my bra in about two seconds.

I panicked. I froze. I didn't know what to do. The whole thing was maybe five seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I felt nauseous. I felt betrayed. I was angry. I thought he was my friend. I was so confused.

My grandmother stopped him, and lightly chided him.

We didn't leave the lunch. Nobody said anything to him.  In fact, she pulled me aside and told me, "You shouldn't let him do that."  I tried to explain that I wasn't LETTING him do anything, and that he just grabbed me out of nowhere. I told her I didn't like him like that, and even if I did, I wouldn't want him to grab me out of nowhere, in public, at a church function, with literally dozens of people around.  I asked her why he wasn't in trouble, why did he think he could do that, why, why, why.

She told me to "Stop Sassing."  The preacher, standing next to her, said, "Boys will be boys. You need to let it go."

I wanted to cry. It was so embarrassing. I felt so small. So vulnerable. So very unsafe. Like it could happen again and again, that any man could do it, and nothing would be stopped. It was like it just didn't mean anything.

Nobody else said anything, even though other people saw it happen. There were no consequences for him at all. I didn't understand then and I don't understand now why he did that, and why it was somehow okay for him to just touch me however and wherever he wanted.  Why was my body, my safety, my privacy, so unimportant? Why was a teenage boy's impulse considered normal, and my reaction to it was not? Why were these people who said they loved God and all of his creations equally treating me like something throwaway?

To be honest, it made me feel insignificant. It made me feel boys would always just do whatever they wanted, and it didn't matter whether girls liked it or not. Now, as an adult, I understand that this was deeply wrong. But it took me a very, very long time to realize that. It wasn't until well in my twenties that I came to that conclusion. I thought for the longest time that somehow, it was my fault.  Every incidence that's happened since then has changed me, and not for the better. I carried that like a dark weight for years.

But I don't have a solution. I wish the conversation would shift a bit, so that we could speak to our young boys and men and let them know that they can and should control this behavior. So many times I hear about authorities telling women to arm themselves, to defend themselves against attack, like men are helpless animals that can't possibly be asked to control themselves. I know that's not true. We need to talk to our boys, we need to raise them right, and let them know that this is NOT acceptable. It's not "political correctness" or being a "feminazi" or a "special snowflake". It's never your right to just grab someone just because you want to.  Please, if you see something, tell them. Tell them it isn't okay. Don't just brush it off as "boys being boys". It's disrespectful.

And when it happens to you, it's... the worst feeling.  Writing this post was hard. I don't like thinking back to that Sunday afternoon or any of the other times this kind of thing happened - and especially not the worst times. But we have to talk about it. We need to.

Please, let's try to do something positive with this. I hope you'll have a conversation with the men in your life. I hope that if something like this has happened to you, you'll talk about it. Men, ask the women in your life. Women, tell them. Most of them probably have no idea what you've dealt with, because you're just like me, you were taught that it was just boys being boys.

If you feel comfortable, comment and share your story with me.

Seriously yours,

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