It is my intent to remain loyal to my purpose in writing this blog. My intent is to be living out on the skinny branches, which is not always comfortable, often downright scary. It means risking writing about what I care about, even if it may be controversial to others.
In support of my fellow humans today, I wish to share the words of my friend, Olivia Petzy. Olivia is an actress, a writer, host, an improvisor…and she’s one of the biggest-hearted, sharpest and funniest people I know. There are a zillion reasons why I would want to share her with you. But today, it is about something serious.
Olivia shared this on Facebook in response to all of the postings of the “Me Too” movement. The “Me Too” movement, in case you are not on Facebook, is a movement that was started by Alyssa Milano to give people a sense of how many people are affected and have been affected by sexual harassment and assault. It seems to have originally read like this:
“Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.'”
It caught on, and women began to copy and paste and post.
I wanted to share what Olivia wrote because it goes deeper and asks questions that we need to be asking. I wish to share it because I think that unless questions like these and others are asked and discussed, nothing will really ever change.
It is uncomfortable to ask these questions. But change is uncomfortable by its very nature.
I stand in solidarity with every woman and person writing “me too.” I hear you and I believe you and it was not your fault and you did not deserve it. I have also failed you in many ways by not speaking up for you or reaching out to you. I am sorry, fellow suffering human beings. I am aware and I am doing the work.
I need to ask: Why must we out ourselves and relive trauma and pain to help you understand? Why must we cut small pieces of our hearts out and toss them to you as a sacrifice in the hopes that you’ll jump on it and tear into it and somehow taste our fear and our grief and our anger? Why must we come out in droves in the hopes of reaching some (apparently) impossibly high number that will spur you to believe us once and for all and take action? Why must we give of ourselves over and over and over?
Are you seriously saying you didn’t know? We’ve told you. We’ve told you with our words and our body language and our actions and our fading away into the background and our quietness and in a million other ways detectable to those giving a damn and paying attention.
Why aren’t YOU writing “Me, too”? As in “I, too, have been complicit in the pain, suffering and abuse of women and non-binary people through either my own despicable words/actions which I deeply regret, recognize and am actively working to change or through my cowardly inaction as I am a beneficiary of our patriarchal society and have not spoken up even when I knew something was wrong or through a combination of the two.”
Must we do EVERYTHING for you?
Oh, and of course, because you already knew it, because I’m a woman, because I live in the world, because I go out in public, because I’m a woman, because I exist: me fucking too.
I am grateful to Olivia for voicing these things, and grateful to you for reading them here.
My heart is hurting because it still seems such an epic task to bring real, lasting attention to this real problem in our society, and yet I know to anyone who is a “Me too,” this is a huge thing that alters one’s life forever in a myriad of ways.
That that disconnect still thrives in our society terrifies me. It seems insane to me that this has to be spelled out again and again.
Will this ever be understood on the scale in which it exists for the “victims?” What will it take?
P.S. On Facebook, some men also began to post their “Me too’s,” so some amended the language to include men.
Today, a dear friend (who is transitioning) altered it to read: “If all the HUMAN BEINGS OF ANY GENDER who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Please copy/paste.”
I love that. I changed my copied/pasted post to read like his. Because of course, I posted “Me too” too.
Some women may feel that including other genders takes away something. I think it is both a male/female problem and also a person-to-person problem, so I say let’s get it all out there and see how prevalent both are.