In light of the horrid events surrounding sexual misconduct such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey,  Matt Lauer, and countless others, 2017 has blown up with “sudden shock” over high-ranking men abusing their power.

The social media campaign that sparked national attention back in October gave women an outlet to simply post, “#MeToo” on social media signifying that sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault can happen to anyone. There were two polarizing sides of the issue:

  1. People thinking that others were “overreacting” or falsifying actual encounters.
  2. People becoming enraged and appalled at the fact that sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault is as prevalent and normal as it is, and that it’s just now becoming a topic that women (in particular) are speaking out against.

I for one identify with the latter statement. All throughout history people (men in particular) have gotten away with non-consensual contact. It is not, and has never been, okay.

However, whenever I begin feeling passionate about an issue, I always try to see the other side of things. Obviously, my past has conditioned me to identify more with the defendant than the prosecutor. This is difficult to wrestle with especially because I can personally identify with the women of the #MeToo campaign:

  • I didn’t realize this until well after the relationship had ended, but my second boyfriend used manipulation, pressure, and controlling behaviors to mold me into the person he wanted me to be (not who I really was.) This is never okay, and I am saddened that I allowed myself to succumb to this type of manipulation.
  • At the beginning of December, a couple friends and I participated in the 12 Bars of Christmas bar crawl in Minneapolis. I had so much fun (this is our third year participating), until some freak literally grabbed, cupped, and squeezed my butt. I was overwhelmingly appalled. My slight buzz went to immediate stone-cold sobriety. How dare a stranger grab my ass like that!
    • My first thoughts were: “Am I dressed promiscuously? Is my butt larger than normal? Was I sticking it out in a way to invite anyone to cope a feel?”
      • A. No matter how scantly clad I was dressed (albeit I was wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and the long sleeve bar crawl shirt), this in no way gives anyone permission to touch me.
      • B. No, even though I do have a history of an eating disorder and unfortunately one of my first thoughts were about the size of my ass, does not merit anyone touching any part of me. Even if I had an ass like Nicki Minaj, that does not mean “I’m asking for it.”
      • C. No, even if I was sticking it out, I was not inviting anyone to touch me. I don’t care how drunk you are, this is never acceptable. Would my drunkenness justify grabbing other men’s penises? Absolutely not!
    • Unfortunately, this incident is not the first of it’s kind to happen to me. However, I think the bulk of my frustration was the fact that my new husband had to see what happened. I have never seen him as mad as he was when he was telling that creep off. My body is for me and him alone. No one else. How dare someone just assume that since a butt is there, it’s theirs for the taking?

As humans, we innately need to have a sense of belonging. Sometimes issues like the aforementioned #MeToo campaign can spark unity in communities (and even nations) by identifying with people having similar experiences. This in no way is acknowledging that the atrocities of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct is okay. However, it helps women to gain a platform and realize that they aren’t alone.

 

Now for someone that does not identify with the feminist movement, I have some rather liberal-leaning takeaways: You are not defined by how men see you. You are not an object to be sexualized. You are a living, breathing, human created in the image of God, and that’s where your identity should lie.

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