To My Younger Self
JANET COLM on December 11, 2017 at 9:10 am
You were right to be mad when that creepy man from across the street felt under your shirt.
You were right to be even madder when your mom told you, “Well what do you expect, leaning over like that in front of him?”
You were right to be scared when that other creepy man exposed himself to you in the alley behind your house.
When Seventeen Magazine suggested: “If a man whistles at you, take it as a compliment and hold your head up a little higher,” you were right to think they were ridiculous and unhelpful.
You were right to stop seeing your “boyfriend” when he left you in the shower crying after he forced you to have sex even though you told him you didn’t want to.
When that guy in the street cat-called you, you were right to turn on him and chase him down the street.
And you were definitely right to stop when you suddenly realized what you were doing.
You were right to organize against rape; to march to take back the night; to learn to change your own tires so you wouldn’t need help by the side of the road; to quit hitch hiking; to go camping by yourself; to always lock your house door; to look behind you on the way to the restroom in the mall; to cross the street to avoid the drunk on the sidewalk; to go for a run at sunset even though you were nervous.
One day, when you are my age, women across the world will come together and declare #metoo. Senators will step down after accusations of harassment and inappropriate contact. One day radio hosts and television anchors will lose their jobs because they acted improperly. One day a brave group of women, representing all of us,will grace the cover of Time Magazine for igniting a movement that shows no signs of being extinguished.
And #metoo will not only be the declaration of a sisterhood of all of us who’ve been assaulted in ways little and small. It will also be a declaration of the sisterhood of all of us who’ve survived. All of us who’ve taken these lessons and held our heads up – not because they are complements, but because we are stronger than we will ever know.
#metoo. We are not victims. We are not even survivors because that means we were victims. No – we are winning!
(This article originally ran on http://www.womenadvancenc.org/2017/12/11/to-my-younger-self/)