What #metoo tells us about ourselves…
Social media has been inundated with #metoo over the last few days. Many women (and some men) who are expressing, often for the first time, how they have experienced unwanted touch and unwanted words in the most cherished parts of who they are. I have sat with tears dripping down my face reading through these.
But what shocks me is that so many people reading these statements have then expressed shock at the magnitude of this reality. I think to myself, surely we know this as truth, that nearly every female in our society has experienced this kind of evil against them in some way. Hence the whole point of this hashtag. To show the magnitude.
That we are shocked at the over-arching presence of #metoo is perhaps one of the great evils about all of this. The denial of reality. Rape culture under the guise of #boyswillbeboys. A media/advertising industry that teaches us to think of each other as objects. All the ways our society perpetuates such evil.
That precious girls and women and boys and men have gone through this is one thing (and definitely the most awful thing), but that we as a society perpetuate such abuse is another level of evil altogether.
And that we have a society where so many of these victims have never been able to share this before and their first place of sharing is now on social media. Oh how this saddens me too.
I have been part of two identity formation courses over a number of years where one of the first things we ask people to do is to be in a small group and to share the entirety of their story with this group. They have an afternoon to do so. It is a group they then journey the rest of the year with. What has always saddened me about this is that 90% of these students have never had a space at any point in their life where they were able to do this. To share the highs and lows and dreams and fractures of who they are. To share their #metoo. To share their story.
So stemming out of #metoo my hope and prayer is that we would stop the denial of how prevalent this is within our society. That we would own it. That we would challenge that which perpetuates it.
That we would then create spaces in our lives and friendships where we can say face-to-face what our ME TOO has been. Where stories may be told and held in all their glory and pain. A world where women would feel safe. Where men would be honest.
I am so deeply sorry to every woman and man who has written #metoo in their social media world the last few days. I am sorry that you had to go through it in the first place. I am sorry that our society has denied and perpetuated it. I am sorry for my place within it. I am sorry that there has not been safe space for you to share what has really happened to you. I am sorry.
Photos of Marija Herceg.