There’s something I want to share in regards to the #METOO movement. Having strength to speak out about sexual assault is very difficult due to feelings of shame and fearing allegations will be disregarded, which would then multiply suffering for the victim. I have witnessed this first-hand.
When a young teen girl who boarded and spent days at the quarter horse farm where I had been sexually assaulted, found me years later, it was because she was trying to prosecute the scumbag responsible, and hoped I too could testify against him. I was so very sad that, because of my own history of abuse, and being in the midst of an abusive marriage at the time, I had not been strong enough to hold him accountable. If I had, this girl might not be dealing with this.
She had been raped by this man at the age of 15. I was there, and didn’t know. I had seen him sexually harrass many other young women who came to work there, prior to my assault. I never spoke out, because I had grown up keeping secrets. I also had no faith that I would ever be heard. When we gave our report to the Chesapeake Police Dept, not only were we not heard, but we were made to feel much worse through questioning that made us both feel as though we were responsible in some way. He offered us no hope of prosecuting this man. We left there defeated, believing our mutual show of strength in uniting to hold our perpetrator accountable, had been a wasted effort. I never saw or spoke to her again.
If the only institutions we have to turn to for justice in holding criminal behavior accountable, never even validate us as victims, how then, are we empowered to speak out? We are being emboldened by strength in numbers, through this movement, yet we are still heavily entrenched in a patriarchal society that is rife with misogyny.
I have been silent, a victim for too long. I want to use my voice to bring women like me out of the darkness, to shed their shame and insecurity; to take their power back. If I help just one woman or child from drowning in the quicksand of oppression, I will know I have fulfilled my purpose in this world.