Last Sunday night it started popping up on my Facebook feed…
If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
I almost didn’t speak up, again.
I worried about how it would make my family (and my husbands family) feel. Hurt, sad, embarrassed?
I worried about my coworkers and my friends seeing and worrying that I was talking about something they did. Sometimes I was, most of the time I wasn’t.
I started reliving the memories, rehashing them. Imagining what I could have done differently if I didn’t always freeze. I don’t want to presume, I don’t want to be impolite and make things awkward.
I started making excuses. Was this one just a misunderstanding? That one was so long ago. I didn’t scream. He was drunk. I flirted. He’s old, was it ok back then?
I justified, it wasn’t so bad. Others have been through so much more. I’ve moved on. The day-to-day instances a so small. They don’t hurt me any more. I don’t want the attention/pity/questions if I say “me too.”
I got angry that I was still thinking about all of this; frustrated that I couldn’t either just join or just let it go. Why should I have to deal with this all again and speak up?
Then I remembered, there was a reason my mentors were mostly women. It was a conscious choice I made, because I didn’t want to put myself into “that position.” I remembered that I chose not to pursue a position in an exciting lab at a top University because the PI had a reputation and I was scared. I remembered that when choosing my new job, on the con side (unfairly for him) of my pro/con list was that my boss would be a straight man.
Maybe it is my problem. Maybe my experiences do count. Maybe I am one of the women they talk about, who don’t speak out. Maybe this is my chance not to freeze.