COLUMN: #metoo, minus me

Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor Follow her at @Roxlobster

Roxanne Timan, Managing Editor

Follow her at @Roxlobster

The recent Harvey Weinstein situation has released a flood of “#metoo” statuses and tweets all over social media giving hope in a disturbing situation. It is shocking how many people sexual assault and harassment affect, yet almost everything I have seen so far has been going after men as the abusers.

I honestly get it because yes, me too. I have heard people say “nice honkers,” “smile, beautiful,” and listened to horror stories of friends trying to escape creepy encounters with men. 

One of the more notable additions to the “me too” issue is Terry Crews, who himself was assaulted. But even his experience was with another man. This is not a man’s issue; this is everyone’s issue. We are all capable of sexual violence no matter our gender, just as we are all able to prevent it.

It’s the general stereotype; men are “creepy” and “vile” when they make sexual advances, and women are “straightforward” and “sexy” when they do it.  However, I think that the moral of this story is not that men are the problem, but it seems like that at times.

“Me too” scares me as a sexual assault victim in the LGBTQ community. The purpose is impactful, but it creates this isolation in myself that I cannot explain in a simple Facebook status or tweet. This campaign seems to be steered towards empowering women, so I feel like an enemy if I voice my story.

    Two years ago, I was sexually assaulted by another woman who I thought I trusted. I remember crying, asking for her to stop, trying to push her off of me. I was left shaken, unsure of what to do, and with a bright red bite mark on my cheek that lingered for weeks. 

How do you recover from a situation where you felt powerless, when it was someone from your own community, your own sisterhood? You are supposed to “raise” other women up, but what about those who choose to violate and take advantage of others?

I thought about writing this column and searched for advice from my peers as it seemed like such a small occurrence that maybe it was not worth complaining about. It did not take long for me to find statistics that proved this isn’t a “once in a blue moon” situation.

 According to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault report of 2005, 1 in 3 lesbians have been sexually assaulted by another woman and 1 in 4 have experienced violence within a lesbian relationship.  

I didn’t know anything about these statistics. Two years after being sexually assaulted by another woman, I find some kind of reassurance in these numbers. The situation of terror happens too often and goes unnoticed, especially when women are already predisposed to being quiet about their experiences. 

It’s tough to put a finger on a solution to a movement that is doing a lot of good things. I applaud those willing to speak up, but recognize not everyone will.

 Many people of all genders refuse to speak up because of the fear that they will not be believed or won’t be taken seriously. Sexual harassment and assault are not only defined as a stereotypical old geezer taking advantage of a starlet. All our experiences need to be listened to and given the reassurance that yes, I’m here, and it happened to #metoo.