I don't consider myself a poet, but I was inspired by #MeToo campaign that I've seen on social media. When I shared the post that you've probably seen friends sharing without adding a personal story, a couple of my friends commented with their own stories. Then I saw quite a few of my friends sharing their stories of harassment and assault. Many of them sounded familiar. Some of them brought me to tears. The sad truth is that almost every woman I know has a story.
So, I put a few of my stories into this piece. I am a lot luckier than many women. Mine are stories of harassment and minor assaults. These are things that too many women have come to accept as part of being women. We're always on our guard. We frequently bite our tongues and ignore rude and lewd comments because we don't want to appear weak or overly sensitive. We try not to let it bother us, but it all feeds into a culture of silence. All of us have experiences like these, so why bother talking about them?
That's exactly what the #MeToo campaign is trying to point out. If we believe that we are alone in dealing with these things, then we won't speak up. If we just accept harassment and even minor assaults, that culture will only continue. And those who harass or commit those minor assaults may even escalate their behavior, because no one has called them out. No one has shown them where the line is. I don't know about you all, but I don't want my daughter to have to face some of the treatment that I grew up with.
The #MeToo campaign was started about 10 years ago by activist Tarana Burke and amplified this past weekend by Alyssa Milano. Here is an interview with Burke and Democracy Now! that explains the movement and a discussion about why it's so important.
And here's my take.