#metoo :: time to let it out
Sadly, me too.
Emphatically, ME TOO.
Enough is enough already!
We say NO MORE....We’re putting our foot down.
To these dear friends coming out with #metoo I say, I hear you. I believe you. I love you, dear one. I’m proud of you for rising strong and uniting. Know that you’re not alone. It takes guts to come out of the shadows and proclaim in the light what was so cleverly hidden in denial, shame, fear, and even embarrassment. We see your courage and bravery. We sense your grief. We will not forget and we will no longer tolerate this hideous behavior.
Some questions weigh on my heart:
What will we do about these inexcusable acts going on behind closed doors?
Where do we go from here?
How do we repair the damage done?
How do we protect ourselves?
Why is this vile behavior so widespread yet so hush, hush?
Why are victims treated like liars, slanderers or even whores?
What gives us the right to judge someone’s story and life experience?
To give them a label?
What right do we have?
We should be running to their aid. Helping them heal, listening closely and without condemnation.
Dredging up my own horrific memories as I read each person’s story....feeling their pain....I inquire: how many times have I unwittingly found myself in a ‘situation’? Slowly, multiple instances come to mind where I was physically violated.
The undeniable truth is that I lived with shame for too long over this first experience ... its time the story be told. For starters, I was only, oh 15 or 16. Naive and curious. He was the captain of the wrestling team and I was the new-in-town cheerleader.....in my imagination it was a perfect pairing. He asked me out one night before a big wrestling match. I was very attracted to the guy so I breathed a giddy yes. It was most likely my first date ever.
I remember very little of that night for some reason, I just remember staring blankly into the blue blinking light in the window while he took my body without permission....drugged, I’m sure, although at the time it didn’t register. (Boy was he boiling mad when I bled all over his parent’s white living room carpet.....served him right) Nevertheless, I had to stumble shakily home (3 houses down) in a pool of tears, physical pain, and blood. Confused as hell as to why I couldn’t, or didn’t, fight him off I was embarrassed to tell anyone. He told me the next day that I helped him “make weight” in his division. He didn’t stop with the rape...he also spread the word around that he took my virginity. I was aghast! The nerve!!!! I never came clean with the truth.
I’m beyond embarrassed to say, I had a sense of relief after finding out years later there were more women he violated....I know, that’s not cool! How callous of me! How insensitive. But I finally was able to realize it wasn’t my fault. I moved on from the pain but that one moment scarred me in more ways than one.
I wish I could say that was my only experience.
However, a year later, still in high school, I spent the night at a friends house...it was a giant house (with wings) in the middle of hundreds of acres outside of tiny town, TX. To my shock, my friend’s wasted dad came in the middle of night and tried with all he could to get inside me. I fought him off ... for hours ... until he finally passed out at day break. No one heard my screaming because the house was too big! He never did get what he wanted, by some miracle of God. But what happened next was the real tragedy. I told my dad, who after speaking to the man, actually took the guys’ side ... simply because he was an alcoholic and ‘had no control over what he did when he was drunk’. Really, dad!!?!!! Hogwash! I felt betrayed, violated, confused, and ashamed. I never talked about it again.
In fact I beat myself up for a long time thinking somehow I was to blame. Sound familiar?
You think that was the end of that? Think again. Miami was a breeding ground for inappropriateness, to put it lightly.
I remember this one season of life. I was spending a load of time with a friend who happened to work for a millionaire restaurant owner on his 100’ private yacht. Since I was there so often I got to know the owner a little here and there. On deck under the blaring sun one afternoon he tossed out a casual invitation, ‘fly to Santa Barbara with me in the morning to watch a polo match and we’ll attend a ball in the evening’. I looked at him skeptically and asked where the attached strings of obligation were that must be hiding themselves in the fine print. He assured me it was strictly platonic and there was no agenda, he just wanted a friend to go with and he enjoyed my company.
I made the call, as an adult, to go along with the adventure. I was an adventure junky!
By the way, this is the first time I’ve told any of this to ANYONE.
I remember when we got there we drove around in his hot bright red fancy convertible.... Porsche? He had it shipped in just for this event!! (....the ridiculous things rich people choose to spend their money on is beyond me.). Totally unrelated but note worthy: I was privileged enough to have had a professional polo lesson with one of the greatest trainers in the world on a $250,000 ‘polo pony’.
Meanwhile, back in my own private hotel suite ... he had it all staged with yellow roses, fancy spa kinda goodies ...as well as some yummy treats and a gorgeous, classic Hermès scarf, which I loved and still have...thank you, sir. .
Didn’t he assure me this was platonic?
My mind was racing.
Does he treat ALL his friends like this?
Had I given him the wrong idea?
Was I stupid enough to believe this could be just a friend thing?
What have I gotten myself into?
I trusted him....I thought.
Well, to tell the truth, I felt like a princess all night...the people I met that night....quite memorable and of course he was a total gentleman... it wasn’t until after a few drinks and on the drive home, he made me very uncomfortable .... He came on way too strong, trying to make out with me, and when I turned him down he was shocked. How dare I come all this way and not give into his .... charm? Ugh!!!! Who are these men??? Thinking they can get anything they want with a little money. I told him I couldn’t be bought and I’ll tell you what....he booked me on the first flight outta there the next morning.
Something similar happened a few months later....
During a 6 month period of unemployment, I was living in downtown Ft Lauderdale working odds and end jobs to make ends meet... by Gods grace. During defensive driving I met the wife of a private jet pilot. She and I hit it off and she wanted me to meet the boss man. According to her he was a super nice, uber wealthy, divorced gentleman in a class of his own.
Well this guy was a slick one. He wined and dined me. Sent me a pair of fancy $500 sunglasses to my doorstep...sent loads of flowers. Then one night he invited me to dinner.... I thought nothing of it until the car parked next to HIS JET and we flew to Key West ..... dinner and a show. I mean, really! I honestly thought he was great and nothing but kind.
We dated a short while when he asked me to go away with him. He had a house in some state far away, on some lake I don’t recall. He wanted me to come stay the month and see if we could get to know each other better “without the pressures of real life.” Although, we had never even kissed at this point. (I was going through a good girl stage at the time).
Initially I refused, I needed to stay and find work.
Asked how much it took for me to pay all my bills for one month.
When I told him he handed me a wad of cash and asked me to clear my schedule. I thought, how fun, I’m always up for an adventure. I had already made it clear I wasn’t for sale and I wasn’t going to be sleeping with him. He was totally good with that. I felt comfortable climbing into his world for a test run.
When we arrived in his jet I was swept off my feet. I had the whole west wing to myself including a pool table and TV room....I was in heaven!!!. He was the perfect gentleman. We would take walks, feed the ducks in the lake, listen to music, see live shows, cook (ok he did the cooking, let’s be real).
Well, low and behold, we’re there for all of 3 days and he gets wasted while we were out with his friends. I don’t remember how I got him home much less in his bed but I do know as I helped him into his bed he pulled me on top of him and tried making out with me. (We still hadn’t even officially kissed so that as a major turnoff to smell his nasty bourbon breath for our first kiss?!? ). Quite aggressively he persisted. Judging by the way he touched me he clearly wanted something I was NOT about to give.
[I think I’m picking the wrong friends.]
I was disgusted with his crude behavior, nonetheless I had every intention of coming to breakfast with forgiveness and grace...he was drunk, no big deal...shake it off.
Well that morning was rough. His pride was bruised. He told me I needed to leave immediately and I was no longer welcomed because I wouldn’t sleep with him. He didn’t want to endure all month like this. Shock me...first commercial flight outta there. I packed up and moved on without a word of confrontation.
Am I really here....AGAIN?!?!
I never told anyone because I didn’t wanna catch the backlash. After all, it was my decision to go. I was the adult who took money from a guy to hang out with him....how could I not be the one to blame? What was I expecting? I get it! I’ve already rehearsed it all in my head.
Many other times, professional sports players, businessmen, everyday dudes, and a ridiculous number of Italians during my life on cruise ships took it upon themselves to conclude that because they’re rich, hot, have power or status they get what they want. And trying to take it without an invitation. As if they’re doing YOU a favor.
Some women fall for that. The money, the dashing looks, the power and confidence.
I didn’t play that game.
In fact, I remember clocking out a guy in a bar for grabbing me in places he most certainly was not welcome! Knocked him clean out! This mama don’t mess around.
The statistics are staggering.
The madness must stop.
But will it?
I’m grateful, in a strange way, for this sudden #metoo movement I’ve seen splayed across my Facebook feed. It’s pushed me to share my own story. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m simply glad to see light being shed on the topic and victims feeling open to share their experiences with their heads held high. There’s an odd sense of oneness with strangers who share your pain within the movement.
To all you #metoo’ers, know that it’s ok to speak out. You shall be heard.
One last point I’d like to make:
Healing happens when we first forgive. Holding bitterness or even rage only hurts the holder....it doesn’t touch the bringer of your hurt.....your attacker. Just a thought.