#MeToo

CW: Sexual Assault

I never thought I was going to be bothered again by what happened to me a few years ago. In fact, I never thought I would need to talk about it, but with the #metoo movement going strong and the Kavanaugh hearing, I need some catharsis. In fact, it’s not those two things alone that have made my assault start to bother me again–it’s the comments people have made regarding assault in general.

I’ll admit I am neutral on the Kavanaugh hearing, but what I am not neutral on is that a movement does not need to be made over the minuscule amount of false allegations that occur. In fact (statistics included), even a man is more likely to be assaulted than accused. I do know two men who have been falsely accused of things that they never did, and I believe them 100%, but I still stand by what I say because victims like me have been silenced time and time again. Look at Brock Turner. There was no justice.

False allegations should end in jail time, but #himtoo is a disgusting mockery of the #metoo movement, and I think that’s what scrapes me raw and divulges buried memories I thought I had come to terms with.

No. I did come to terms with them, but because people are horrible and don’t think about how victims of assault must feel when they make their disgusting comments, it’s upsetting. The #himtoo movement is the worst of all, and it’s even more terrible there are women who have decided to jump on this movement. I don’t care if Kavanaugh is in the right. I care that that hashtag has all sorts of nasty implications for victims.

No. You do not need to worry about your sons being falsely accused. You need to worry about them being assaulted. Especially your daughters.

Stop it. It’s sick and it’s absolutely cruel to the even greater number of victims of sexual assault.

The justice system does need to do something about false allegations. Lives are certainly ruined over them, but, again, they are a minuscule portion, and proponents of #himtoo want to ignore how victims are afraid to come forward, want to mock real victims of sexual assault to begin with, and take that mocking one step further when, especially men, write how careful they have to be around women anymore. How they have to have a consent form with them. A body camera. Make sure to not put themselves in compromising places where they may be accused of assault.

We’re not asking that. Consent is not a hard thing to grasp. If she does not want you touching her, don’t!

I’ll tell you exactly what I’d do if a guy grabbed my rear in public: Slap him, kick him in the shin, or stomp on his toe. I’ve done these things before. But I know not all women have it in them to do this. In fact, I didn’t have it in me the last time a man put his hands on me because I was on the clock. Which is absurd. I was just doing my job, training a client, when an older man decided to rub my back and put his hands in my hair, making me freeze and feel ungodly uncomfortable. In any other place, I would have turned around and smacked him, but I wasn’t sure if I was even allowed to retaliate in that way to a member.

I don’t care if he didn’t mean anything behind it. I did not want to be touched at all in the middle of doing my job.

I told the lead trainer about this, but unfortunately the man left, so I had no way of being able to identify him. Now there are some older men who like to pat me on the shoulder or the back, but I know them, have chatted with them, and I know what their intentions are because they probably see me as a granddaughter sort of person. I know other women would not be comfortable with that, and they have every right to voice that, and what you don’t have a right to do is call that woman a prude.

There are people out there, men and women, who do not want to be touched by anyone save for loved ones for a variety of reasons, and it’s sick to me there are people out there, men and women, who think those people need to get over it because it wasn’t ill-intentioned. We all learned in elementary school, and hopefully from our parents, that no one has a right to put their hands on you. You do not have a right to put your hands on anyone!

So it’s not hard to not put your hands on a woman or a person in general. If she’s drunk, don’t touch her! If you do, help her get home, put her to bed, be with her until she sobers.

Overall, I care that there are women out there who think much of us in the #metoo movement are being bothered by a little grope, and they’re mocking us and telling us to not be babies. No. It’s the consecutive gropes by too many men. That builds up. It isn’t just the one butt grab in a bar. It’s the multiple ones that have occurred over the years. Real assaults. Rapes. Even one grope rankles my ability to feel safe.

So what if one little grope doesn’t upset you. You do not represent the vast majority of people out there, many who would feel disrespected. I didn’t like when that old man put his hands on me; he was not respecting me nor my boundaries and did not take my job as a personal trainer seriously, as I was blatantly with a client.

I did call the cops against my assailant though. I pressed charges. But I pulled them because I was blamed. My assailant was a man I saw as an older brother because I frankly don’t have much of a relationship with my current one. I adored my boss, so of course I wanted to get to know her boyfriend well. I guess he didn’t see me that way. He saw me as a plaything he could mess with behind his girlfriend’s back.

My boss was the one who blamed me. She said she chewed out her boyfriend and he was crying, but that wasn’t enough.

He did a few things to me (a lot of groping all over), most minor in comparison to the assault that led me to calling the cops. I never said anything about them because I found out from my boss her boyfriend was beating her. And I was even warned not to say anything by another person because not only could she end up hurt, but I might have as well. So I was living with an undercurrent of fear–and I had to deal with him a lot. I made it known I didn’t appreciate it–but I suppose I wasn’t firm enough because I was afraid to be.

Unfortunately, she is still with him to this very day.

But when I did call the cops and my boss eventually found out, that’s when things fell apart. Her boyfriend and I texted. To me it was completely friendly, exchanging silly jokes. Apparently those jokes weren’t jokes to him, so she saw that as evidence that I was enabling him to keep going. She even told me that on the day I was assaulted, I was bent over a certain way, just inviting him to do what he did to me. But I was trying to gather things together for an event and simply wasn’t thinking about how I was posturing myself because it was a skort, so I wasn’t worried about anyone seeing anything unseemly.

What really gets me about the whole thing is that he assaulted me at our place of work. He knew I had a fiancé (now my husband). He has a girlfriend for goodness’ sake! After it happened, I was a little shocked, but I played it off as no big deal. However, the next day (or it might have been the same day), I was at an event and opened up to my co-worker about it. She pointed out the seriousness of it and told me I needed to go to the cops. And of course that’s when it hit me that I needed to because the next step was rape.

It was traumatizing because of all the little things he did that culminated to that one grand moment. I felt stupid and naive and why didn’t I stop it and why did I let him grope me or touch me there or say that to me? I won’t go into details, but I can remember nervously saying, ‘Are you trying to rape me?’ And he replied, ‘You know you like it.’ I’ll emphasize again it wasn’t rape, but I’m positive that would have been the next thing.

Of course what ultimately landed me on suicide watch was being blamed. I was already in a bipolar depressive episode, so imagine being accused by someone I held in such high regard.

Oh, and he was stalking me, and I didn’t realize he was doing that until I found out he’d been at the mall for no reason other than to see me.

So when I see people making comments about what we as women need to do to avoid assault, trivializing any kind of inappropriate touching, wanting to scrutinize victims of assault and put precedence on the minute amount of false allegations instead of encouraging victims to come forward, mocking us for wanting to be victims, telling us to just carry guns, and then having the audacity to wonder why we didn’t immediately come forward, I can’t help but to get nasty with those people.

It’s the internet, I get it, but those are real people making real comments speaking thoughts they truly believe. And I can’t help but to hate those people. I can’t help but to hate every person who chooses not to be sympathetic toward victims of assault, who chooses to say we’re being whiny by even labelling ourselves as victims. I don’t consider myself a survivor. My life wasn’t in any danger during that moment, but I am still a victim because I never received any justice.

I don’t walk around with a chip on my shoulder. I don’t wear a cape of victimhood; however, I casually acknowledge I am still a victim without making a big scene about it. I’m not living in victimhood, but that doesn’t make me any less of one. After all, victims don’t need to be a certain way to be one, and people seem to think victims are bitter people who won’t move on. People thought that about Ford just because she was laughing in a few pictures. What do we need to do? Live our lives in misery for us to be believed?

You could argue my justice is in the life I’m continuing to lead, all the good choices I’m making, all the good in my life, but real justice would have been making him face the consequences of what he did to me and his girlfriend.

She lied it was an allergic reaction to a bee sting, then admitted later it was from her boyfriend. Apparently he was a drunk.

I don’t know what kind of person he is now. I really don’t care. But I know I’ll never seek justice for it because of the way accusers are treated.

Twenty years from now I will be thinking about it. Thirty years. Forty. To my grave. It won’t be on my mind every single day. It’s only things that trigger me that bring it to the surface. I believe I’ve recovered from my PTSD. I only get angry about it now.

It is important to have a fair trial, but what would I have gained by accusing my boss’ boyfriend of assault? What would have been my motive? It should be rather telling that I pulled it. And most of us don’t report it or retract our statements because of the very real victim blaming that exists, the way courts tear victims apart just so the lawyer can win a case for the assailant. And it’s even harder when there’s little evidence, save for your story and others who would have been able to testify how abusive he was, not just to his girlfriend, but even to her friends. I suppose other evidence would have been my suicide watch and my later development of an eating disorder because I wanted to disappear and didn’t want men looking at me that way anymore. I also had a difficult time being intimate with my husband and had a few panic attacks and crying spells and nightmares and flashbacks.

That was stupid to believe men would turn away from me. Even at less than 100 lbs. men still catcalled me simply for being female.

There is no justice for many of us who have been victims. So you must understand why we’re so angry, why the #metoo movement was started. And it’s not just for women. Men are victims as well. And they don’t get the justice they so rightfully deserve, whether their assailant was a man or a woman.

So #himtoo can die in a supernova, and all the people supporting it can be consumed by it. I haven’t a kind thought for people who don’t want to try and be at least somewhat sympathetic over why a person may still hold a grudge.

I don’t care if Kavanaugh was truly innocent because his life wasn’t actually ruined by the accusation since he was still appointed to the Supreme Court. But if his life had been ruined and he was truly innocent, I still don’t think a #himtoo movement deserves to exist because it has too many unsavory implications for real victims of sexual assault. Women are capable of being accused as well. Ford would certainly deserve to go to jail for it, there’s no doubt about it, but these false accusations are dealt with more easily since the accusation is already there and the accused has time to defend themselves. Yet, again, for victims of assault, many of us never come forward for the very reason we are afraid of not being believed.

What really. needs to be the focus is encouraging victims of assault to come forward and receive their well-deserved justice. People argue false accusations make it more difficult for real victims to come forward. That’s not true at all. What makes it difficult for them to come forward has nothing to do with a person falsely accusing someone and everything to do with the fear they will not be believed. Ford, after all, was torn apart, and it’s commonly known she received death threats. That’s what we’re afraid of. That’s why we won’t come forward.

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