Let me begin by saying, if you know me or follow my blog, this is not a revelation, but – #MeToo. Regardless, there has been a lot of social media buzz surrounding the #MeToo phenomenon. I have been curiously watching responses to this movement. I didn’t immediately chime in because I wanted to focus on watching the responses and my social media presence screams – Me too! Sharing my story has allowed me to experience the power of “Me too” in the flesh, face-to-face. There is hope and solidarity in the discovery and admission “Me too.” A revelation that you are not alone. Even though sexual abuse and assault create feelings of isolation, you are not the only one. I have your back and united we are stronger together.

I recently spoke with a female college student following a speaking engagement where I shared my story. With hope in her eyes, she said – “I see you and I have hope that I can be ok too.” That is the power of “Me too” at it’s very best. Drawing victims out of their isolation, uncertainty and despair. Showing them there are not only survivors around them, but survivors who are even thriving. I even shared with her that as I came forward this past year I shocked most everyone who knew me. I repeatedly heard: “Are you kidding me?” “I never would have guessed!” “I had no idea!” I told her my goal was not to shock and I hadn’t kept it a secret because I was ashamed, I just didn’t see it as part of my identity. Honestly, I still don’t. It has made me a stronger woman and deepened my faith in ways I never knew possible, but I am not defined by it. Aside from speaking publicly about being a sexual assault survivor, it is the last thing I would share with someone to describe me.

However, I would like to elaborate upon my #MeToo. I can say #MeToo to rape and sexual assault, as I exhaustively cover on my blog and when I speak. However, I can say #MeToo to much more. I can say #MeToo to sexual harassment. I have experienced cat calls more times than I can count. I can say #MeToo to male educators sexually harassing me. I can say #MeToo to sexual harassment in my profession including uncomfortable conversations, inappropriate comments and questions about how I, a woman, ended up in a profession like architecture (implying it is a profession for men only).   I can say #MeToo to feeling sick to my stomach as I was uncomfortably groped by a grown man pretending to help me in the wave pool at a waterpark in Junior High. I haven’t been a fan of the wave pool since.

I can proclaim #MeToo to not one, but two experiences in my twenties of exhibitionism by middle-age men. The first involved a man sitting at a restaurant curbside table in front of my car. As I started my car I looked up to see he was exposing himself to me whilst simultaneously shielding it from the view of others with a newspaper. The second involved a man following me to my car at night and jumping out from behind bushes with his pants down. Luckily, I had noticed him as I walked to my car. I picked up the pace and was driving away in the safety of my car when he emerged from the bushes. All I had to do was turn off my headlights. Not exactly safe, but it ended the encounter abruptly.

Regardless both encounters were troubling and left me shaken. I will admit I avoided both locations for a time. I did not speak up the first time I experienced exhibitionism, but I did the second. I was encouraged when I returned to the store and spoke with the manager. He not only respectfully listened, but called security and asked me to recount the event to them along with a thorough description of the man. I had to smile, when I noticed later, a fence had been installed along that same line of bushes. I don’t readily share these encounters, but they are significant, and they leave scars too. Any form of sexual harassment, abuse or assault are inexcusable.

I have curiously watched the reactions on social media to the #MeToo movement. I love the solidarity and encouragement that has poured forth from survivors and supporters. I love that #MeToo transcends gender as both women and men are having the courage to identify with #MeToo. #MeToo does not just apply to women, men relate as well. I have loved reading people’s responses who can’t post #MeToo, yet are appalled and sympathetic to the outcries of friends and family, voicing their concern and support.

I am amazed at the brave posts taking responsibility and proclaiming – #ItWasMe. No doubt they will incur backlash, but good for them for recognizing they have contributed to the problem. I don’t condone their actions that led to their #ItWasMe posts, but hopefully now they can move forward and put an end to their inappropriate behavior, speech, and actions.   I was encouraged by one such post where a man embarrassingly admitted #ItWasMe, I am trying to do better and trying to raise my son to be a better man than me. I love the posts #IWill and #HowIWillChange followed by concrete actions people are taking to combat sexual harassment and assault. I am encouraged reading that people will no longer ignore sexist comments or inappropriate actions. That doing so excuses this behavior and makes these actions “acceptable.” I love hearing how people plan on advocating to spread awareness and prevent future victimizations. I am encouraged that people are committing to intervening on the behalf of others instead of just walking past.

I have watched the opinion articles and I am infuriated by those who claim this is just giving women a voice to rally together and cry “victim.” For those who take this stance, need I remind you men are posting #MeToo as well? This is not a movement limited to women. For those who respond in this manner – you are the problem. Even if you have not perpetrated such acts, you are contributing to a cultural climate that immediately attacks and shames victims. You are silencing the truth. You are preventing survivors from coming forward and telling their experiences for fear that no one will believe them, justice is unattainable, they will be blamed or publicly shame.

For those who are shocked by the number of people identifying with #MeToo, it is time to wake up to the facts. The numbers don’t shock me. I know that 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.1 I know that every 98 seconds, an American is sexually Assaulted.2 I know that 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.3 I know about 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.5 I know that according to The Association of American Universities (AAU), 2015 Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct 23.1% of undergraduate females & 5.4% of undergraduate males have “experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.”4 It is time you know these facts too!


  1. David Finkelhor, Anne Shattuck, Heather A. Turner, & Sherry L. Hamby, The Lifetime Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Assessed in Late Adolescence, 55 Journal of Adolescent Health 329, 329-333 (2014)
  2. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010-2014 (2015).
  3. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey (1998).
  4. The Association of American Universities (AAU), 2015 Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct.
  5. National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey (1998).

2 thoughts on “#MeToo

  1. My worst assailant was my first husband. Assaults were physical, verbal, sexual, and emotional. They led to a complete breakdown of my self-esteem and self-confidence. I was isolated and alone and cried most of the time. I finally broke my silence and talked with a pastor who believed me and encouraged me to get out of my current situation (divorce and move). I did, but that didn’t stop the stalking, verbal, and emotional abuse. The longer I was away from him, the more my self-worth returned. My former life now seems like a book I read or a movie I saw…a long time ago. I know it did make me stronger and make my faith in God stronger. I have experienced inappropriate touching, sexual comments, and some harassment, but they pale in comparison to the abuse I lived day in and day out in my first marriage. I have been in a healthy, loving marriage now for 31 years and feel that I am a well adjusted woman. I don’t think anyone would who knows me now, would recognize my former, withdrawn, self.

    1. I am so sorry for your experiences. I am so glad you had the courage to speak up and that the pastor in whom you confided proved to be an ally – believing you and encouraging you to get out. Recognizing abuse isn’t easy and it takes courage to get out and put an end to it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *