Over the past several years, women have been coming forward with their stories of sexual assault and harassment by public figures who have abused their power, wealth, and fame. Recently, a campaign called “Me Too” has been taking over social media, with the goal to help us all understand how often these events occur, especially in the lives of women.
A 15-year old girl finally caught the eye of a guy she liked. She didn’t know what to expect, but suddenly they were “together”. He never told anyone about her. He hid her. He didn’t show her off to his family or friends. One day, he spent time with her with her family. They went boating, and on the way back to her house, he pulled his car over. He told her he loved her, molested her, and drove her home. She didn’t say a word. She felt powerless. She didn’t know what had happened. He dropped her off, called her on his way home, and broke up with her.
It happens with anyone.
It happens without you understanding.
It happens whether you’re “promiscuous” or “innocent”.
A 7-year old girl is playing hide-and-go-seek with her brother and her brother’s friend. Her brother’s friend, let’s call him “John”, tells the girl to hide with him as her brother counts. John brings her into a room where they’re alone. She hears her mother vacuuming upstairs. She hears her brother counting down. John forces his hands inside of her and counts down as her brother counts down. He tells her not to tell anyone. She didn’t understand what had happened, so she didn’t.
Later that same year, the girl was playing with her brother and John again. John tells the brother that they should play “wedding”. The girl is forced to be the bride, and when the brother isn’t looking, he forces his hands inside of her again. The girl ran out of the room, and she didn’t tell anyone until she was 18 years old.
It happens where you think you’re safe.
It happens when you’re around family.
It happens at any age.
A 20-year old girl is working. She loves her job and her coworkers, but a man in his 50s had been hitting on her all summer. He wasn’t a coworker, but a contractor. One day, she had the chance to do an activity with her coworkers that she had not been able to do before, which included being in a harness. Her other coworkers strapped themselves into their harnesses. The contractor was running the activity and strapped her in and made very inappropriate jokes. He had not strapped in a customer for months. Later, he was overheard bragging about what happened with his 30-something son.
It happens where you feel happy.
It happens with people much older than you.
It happens where people don’t take action.
While walking though a small town on a busy morning, a 19-year old girl listened to her music while sheltering herself from the rain. She was wearing sweatpants and a rain jacket with her hood covering her head. She was walking to class, like she had dozens of times. She recognized peoples’ faces, smiled by those she passed, and suddenly found herself alone on a dirt road for about 200 feet. She didn’t think anything of it. The town was busy, but this was the route she took every day—it was a less populated part of her walk each morning.
Suddenly, a white pick-up truck pulled over and a man got out of the truck. She only noticed out of the corner of her eye. The man started yelling at her, but she couldn’t hear what he was saying over her music. When she turned around, the man had unzipped his pants. She started running. He ran after her until she turned onto the next crowded street. The man wasn’t caught. She was told that it had never happened in this town.
It happens suddenly.
It happens anywhere.
It happens no matter what you wear.
A 19-year old girl walked to a coffee shop in a busy part of town. The previous night was rough for her, so she decided to wear her favorite dress to cheer herself up. Only a couple hundred feet away from the coffee shop, two men approached her. One lifted up her skirt as the other took pictures of her. She ran straight into the coffee shop.
It happens in public.
It happens when you feel confident.
It happens when you least expect it.
The truth about all of these stories is that they not only follow a theme of sexual harassment and assault but they also all happened to one person. Me. And these aren’t even all of the stories I have.
These things SHOULD NOT HAPPEN. I fight for this because I want to live in a world where my generation and the generations to come never have to experience these things. To all the people who have experienced these things, please remember that your worth is in Christ alone. These people do not decide your value. They do not decide what you deserve. They do not decide that you are at fault.
Share your story, whether it’s with a trusted friend or a group of people. Know that you are not alone.