Why Haven’t You Unfriended Them? #MeToo
|Photo by mahyar tehrani on Unsplash|
I have written this and rewritten this. I just don’t like telling this story. It makes me feel dirty, stupid, and worthless. Let’s not forget ashamed, because I’m rooting for all those women who stand up for themselves – all while I’m sitting back and being a coward.
We are in the days of #MeToo. I’ve written about this before. I have my stories, as do most women I know. Mine aren’t as bad as some, though I’ve learned that every woman’s story of sexual harassment or assault is valid, no matter the extent.
I’ve dealt with these situations since high school and a boy on my bus made comments about my breasts often. Then later in high school another boy actually grabbed my breast one night at work. I did nothing. I laughed it off, changed the subject, and never mentioned it again.
Decades later, I still handle those situations the same. All those people who say that women who wait years to say something shouldn’t be taken seriously – they don’t know what they’re talking about. I understand those women. It’s hard to say something. There are just so many what-ifs! What if I’m blowing this out of proportion? What if I really did bring it on myself without realizing it? What if no one believes me? What if everyone thinks I’m a slut?
Then there’s the worst what-if: What if the person I’m accusing hates me for it?
That’s ridiculous, right? They hurt you, why should you care what they think? Well, because sometimes that person is someone you care about, regardless of their actions. If you’ve never been a victim, you can’t understand that, and I can’t explain it to you. All I can say is, the brain and the heart don’t always communicate well.
So recently, when one of my partners asked why I hadn’t unfriended or blocked someone who propositioned me in an incredibly inappropriate way, I was forced to think about why I hadn’t.
Truth be told, I remained friends (or stayed in relationships with) all of the people who have sexually harassed or assaulted me, until we grew apart or broke up for other reasons. When I was younger, I think it was the whole that’s just how boys are thing. Sure, it made me uncomfortable, but everything made me uncomfortable, so I didn’t think I had a right to be upset.
As I grew older, I went through a phase where I used sex to feel loved. So when these things happened, I convinced myself it just meant they liked me. I should be flattered, right? That’s what Low Self-Esteem told me, anyway.
Then as an adult, when it was people I was in relationships with forcing me to have sex even though I didn’t want to, my excuse was that I just wanted to keep them happy.
Since then I’ve learned that the actions of these people were definitely wrong. And yet, when an old college friend kept texting me saying the dirty things he wanted to do to me, even though the feeling was not reciprocated, I said nothing. I changed the subject, I laughed it off, sometimes I played along because hey, at least someone is attracted to me, I should be flattered. On some level I liked the attention. But I also knew it made me uncomfortable.
Then last week when someone I’ve gone out with before asked to hook up and I said no… and then he kept pushing, and I kept giving reasons why I wouldn’t… and then he offered to pay me… I actually had to say the words “I’m not a hooker.”
That’s the one that made me question my self-worth. That’s when my partner asked why I haven’t unfriended or blocked the guy, and suggested I write a blog post about it. I don’t have a good answer. I still like the guy. If he ever wanted to just hang out, I’d be up for it. What does that say about me? That I’m weak? That I’m a pushover? That I’m just too nice, or too forgiving?
I really don’t know.