“I was shocked”,
he said.
“And then I was shocked
that I was shocked.
I realized what a privileged life
I lead as a man.
Two woman telling me about
their rapes
still shocks me.”

“I hope you remain shocked,”
I told him.
“I hope we all remain shocked, every single time,
that a human being could be capable of such evil.
I hope we refuse to become jaded by the common-ness,
I hope we never brush over the pain
simply because we’ve heard the story before.”

Same story,
different characters.
Isn’t that how it always seems to go?

I am shocked at everyone who is shocked over the news of Harvey Weinstein.
I am shocked at everyone who is shocked at the magnitude of “me too”s in our newsfeeds.
I am shocked that this will make another round in the news, and then be forgotten.
Just like after Donald Trump’s comments.
Just like after Brock Turner’s trial.
Just like every time we care, for a second, about women and their rights and their safety.
(We stop, eventually.)

Me, too.
Women everywhere came together to make a point –
but its a point we’ve been trying to make for years.
Why weren’t our individual stories enough?
Why wasn’t our pain enough?
Why weren’t we enough, on our own?
Why do we have to be your mother or your daughter or your sister for you to finally see?
Why do we have to be in relation to you, to be worthy of respect?
Why, time and time again, does this somehow become about you?

Why did a white woman have to say it,
for us to collectively listen?
Why did a white woman have to get blocked on Twitter,
for us to collectively outcry?
Why do we, time and time again, refuse to listen to our sisters of color?
Why do we pretend fighting for women is good enough,
when fighting solely for white women is just as bad.
Why does the color of our skin have anything to do with the validity of our pain?

It’s just a joke.
I hear that all the time.
Yes, a silly little joke and rape are very different.
But your silly little joke, which no one stood up to, no one resisted, no one pushed back against the underlying message – that joke reinforced the idea that men are the stronger, more important, more needy sex.
(Isn’t it funny how we want to pretend “woman are so needy” in word, yet have no problem believing men are so needy in action?)
It reinforced sexism, at its core.
It reinforced society’s whispers that
men can do whatever they want
and
men can’t control themselves
and
what a man wants is more important than what a woman needs
and
well, she probably wanted it.

Can you imagine?
A society that actually believes a woman asks to be raped?
Through the clothes she wears and body language she speaks and how much she had to drink that night and where she was walking and who she was talking to – she was asking for it .
Can you imagine asking to be raped?

Its almost as bizarre an idea as doubting victim’s stories – because we can.
Because we do.
Because it’s easier.
Well maybe you were too drunk
Well maybe you misunderstood what he said.
Well maybe you didn’t say “no” forcibly enough.
Well maybe, just maybe, this is all on you.
Next time a friend is a victim of a crime (burglary, vandalism, hit-and-run car accident) – be sure to ask them the same demeaning, illogical questions. Be sure to second guess their answers. Be sure to, before assuming they are being honest, take time to wonder if they’re making it all up for attention.
Rape is falsely reported at the same rate as every. other. crime. after all.

The problem is, this is on all of us.
Every sexist joke.
Every guy who acts predatory – and we let him.
Every offhand comment.
Every catcall.
Every grab.
Every time a woman has to be ashamed for reporting, for complaining, for somehow being the cause of it, for standing up and saying ME. Me, too. Shame for something we never asked for, never did – shame that the man certainly isn’t feeling.
Every time we focus on a woman was raped and not a man raped.
Every time we try to pass off the blame, shake our heads at society, feel sorry for the latest victim – but not sorry enough to actually change anything.
We are part of the problem.
We are the problem.

I fully realize men are victims of rape and sexual assault, as well, and hope to not minimize any of that pain. Women DO rape; men ARE raped.
Women as the victims are, statistically, more common and also what I, personally, know – so that is the place these words came from. #Metoo applies to any victim of sexual harassment and assault, not just women.

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