**WARNING: this post contains content about sexual harassment and strong language that may be upsetting for some readers. Please use caution while reading. I'm holding space for love and light for you.**
This isn't an easy blog post to write.
If I'm being totally transparent, I'm experiencing a lot of resistance as I type this out.
After this weekend though, this blog post wasn't an option.
It's mandatory. I have to talk about this.
I tried to think of the best way to start. Do I list the memories that I have of being sexually harassed? Do I tell you guys about the time that I was minutes away from being sexually assaulted?
I could list a hundred memories. So could almost every single girl you know. So no, I'm not going to list every single memory.
I am however going to tell you all about one person.
I repressed the memories of this person deep. He was so fucked up. Everything he said... everything he did... fucked up.
I was 15 years old at my first "real" job (meaning one that didn't include family).
I worked for a family owned business.
Small town + small business = safe, right?
This safe, small town, family owned business ended up being the setting for some of the most intense and consistent sexual harassment I'd ever experience.
It would start with unwelcome comments regarding my appearance.
It turned into being cornered in the walk in freezer with unwanted advances.
I can feel his words when I asked him to stop...
No one can hear you scream in here.
I felt helpless. I felt scared.
Luckily someone walked in. I was saved from that moment.
....things only got worse.
Every time I would walk into work he would say something along the lines of "don't look at me. you are so fucking ugly you can't look at me." "you are so gross, no one will ever want you" "I will make your life a living hell till you quit."
Feel free to put all of this on repeat loop for a year.
A fucking year.
The only thing that made it stop was when he finally quit.
Fast forward 10 years....
Why am I talking about this now?
It was my sister's birthday this weekend. She ended up working at this same business and had her own terrible experiences with this person.
He ended up being at the bar.
I felt myself leave my body. I didn't feel safe.
I couldn't be in the same area as him for longer than 10 minutes. I wanted to cry. It felt hard to breathe.
I felt so unsafe.
I couldn't stay to celebrate because I couldn't be around this fucking asshole who tore me down and brought me so much pain.
My intuition was screaming at me. Why was he there? He shouldn't be there. If he's there I can't be there.
What happened after I left is not my story to tell, but it did push me to write this blog.
I know I am not this only girl this person has hurt.
So for all of you,
me fucking too.
I know you feel silenced. I know the power behind last names and small towns. I know you feel alone. I'm so sorry you feel alone. I'm so sorry for every time one of us has spoken up we've been told "that's just who he is, deal with it." I know he should be the one apologizing, but he won't. We know he won't.
I hear you. I feel you. I'm angry for me and I'm angry for you.
I don't need to be told how to stay safe from rape. Trust me- I know. Every woman knows. We think about it almost daily. I don't need your fucking lectures on what to wear or how much to drink.
The victims/survivors/thrivers are not the ones who need the lectures.
Please, I beg you, if you have friends like the guy I described above, tell them what an asshole they are being. Call them out for being dangerous. Tell them that the way they treat people is WRONG. Stop condoning jokes about rape. Stop encouraging your friend to get her "drunk enough." Fucking stop having no regard for human life.
This is why I am choosing now to talk about it. This is why for me, at this point, I can't just stay quiet. I can't continue to watch the soul's of people that I love be trampled on by sexual harassment and assault.
For all of you ready for there to be real change,
Me fucking too.