All day today, I’ve been seeing the words, “me too,” all over Facebook and Twitter. I have never hated seeing those words so much before in my life.
I am disgusted and in total disbelief by just how many females I know that publicized those words today. These words—Me too—are part of an awareness campaign for those who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. For every time you are seeing those two little words on your screen, you are seeing people that have been sexually abused at some point in their life.
And do you want to hear something scary?
For as long as I have been aware that sexual predators were even a thing, I thought that I was safe because I’ve always been overweight. I thought my body was a safe zone. I would tell myself things like, “good boys don’t even want you, so why would someone evil want you?” and “it’s not like they could pick you up and start running.”
I hated my own body so much, especially in my mid-teenaged years, but I was comfortable, so I felt like I didn’t need to watch out for myself. I’d make sure my friends were the ones walking furthest away from the street whenever we would walk around our neighborhood. I thought I was okay, so I never thought that someone would be so repulsive in a sexual way towards me.
And then, I was proved wrong.
One of my best friends, Jeanette, lives a seven minute walk from my house to hers. I was walking from my house in broad daylight over to hers. I was right at the corner of her block when a man slowly rolled his car next to me. He asked me how I was doing, where I was going, and if I wanted a ride. He kept his eyes on me, and my entire body shuddered.
When I declined his offer, he stopped his car entirely. I walked faster, and turned it into a run. I was grateful that the guy never stepped foot out of his car, and that Jeanette’s house was only about a hundred meters away. I never ran so fast in my life, and I never felt so scared.
I was probably about sixteen when that happened. And I remember every last second of that little encounter. I was so terribly lucky that I was never even touched by that guy, because I don’t think I would have known what to do. I have only ever encountered anything truly scary in nightmares before—nothing was ever right in front of my face, actually happening to me.
And ever since then, I have always kept a close eye on my surroundings, whenever I go anywhere. I’ve become extremely wary about walking around my neighborhood by myself, especially at night, even though what happened to me was in the middle of the day.
If anyone has went through something similar—or worse—and needs someone to talk to about it, I’m here. We have to talk about these things in order to get past them, and we have to stick together. Whether you want to put it out there on Facebook or Twitter or just tell a parent or friend, do it. Start letting your words be your superpower. Someone has to say something at some point, because the truth will always come out. It might as well be you.
You should be the one to tell your own story.