I have stories that would make the devil cry. I have the kind of stories that are unique in varying degrees, and it spans throughout my entire lifetime. My husband is the only person that knows about my past, specifically my childhood, and those secrets will go with him to the grave. And it’s going to stay that way.
Many brave souls came forward this week sharing their stories of sexual assault under the hashtag, metoo. They didn’t have to relive those traumatic moments of being held against their will, but they did under the peer pressure of the internet. Then there are those, like myself, who chose to remain silent, not because they don’t care, but perhaps it’s our way of saying “look internet……it’s none of your fucking business.”
Nonetheless, some trolls grew highly suspicious of the silent types, and resorted to assumptions. Ah, the internet. It can be a horrid place full of useless novelties and gimmicks, yet it wants to know all of your business. A hashtag of “me too” sounds like an ingredient of a giant internet scam in the making. Anyway, this reminds me of a story:
A pack of trolls peeked out of their window and loudly asks, “Raise your hand if you’ve been sexually assaulted in any way?” The trolls looked out far into the open spaces of women who frantically raised their hands in the air. They spotted a few who didn’t. Finally, one troll focused on a thin, middle-aged woman. “Look at her,” one troll said. “She must be a witch.”
The trolls stammered onto the fields of women and walked directly to one woman who didn’t raise her hand.
“What is wrong with you?” the troll asks in calamitous fashion.
“Nothing is wrong with me,” the woman replies matter of factly, “I don’t know you. And I don’t have a story to tell. Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you. It’s none of your business.”
The troll huffs and puffs in disbelief. How dare this woman defy his utmost deformities. The troll turns around, lost in thought. Finally, he stops to stare her down. “You must be punished. You are not like us. And you certainly don’t want to help us.”
The troll grabs the thin woman and drags her across the field. He finds a dead tree and ties the woman to its trunk. The troll walks back to be among his followers and chants, “Kill! Crush! Destroy! Kill! Crush! Destroy! Kill! Crush! Destroy!” The troll chants with an everlasting loop of desperation until all of his followers participate in the chant. The thin woman meanwhile, sheds a tear for the troll’s followers, as she knows raising your hand alone won’t erase the ghastly anecdotes of yesteryear, nor will it do anything in the future.
You’ve got to ACT.
That story is exactly how I feel whenever I encounter a harsh criticism of non-participation. No horrible story is greater than the other, because every struggle is different. My exertions are not the same as your exertions. There are just different types of struggles. That is why it is ultimately silly to chastise those who choose secrecy. Just because it’s the internet doesn’t mean you have to bow down to the trolls. I trust that these victims will reach out to the right people who will once again show them the light that is peace.
Whether you elect to speak up or not, there is support out there. I’m not convinced that a hashtag is enough to fight against sexual violence. You’ve got to ACT.
And to all those who have chosen to remain silent, I raise my glass in honor of you.