[NB: First posted on FB, in response to the “me too” posts that started showing up on ~Oct 14-15. People were saying “me too” to indicate that they have experienced sexual assault or harassment.]
The “me too” posts were the first thing I saw when I tried to just “say hi to the internet” for a few minutes last night. I ended up reading so many, many friends’ posts, and had trouble getting to sleep.
First: Yes, of course, me too. I experienced intimate partner violence, in its myriad forms, over many years during the 1990s. There’ve been many other incidents in addition over the decades; none of the perpetrators have been strangers to me.
But listen: Assault and abuse and harassment don’t only happen to women. Our culture is pervaded by trauma. I am more likely to know of the sexualized trauma my female/femme and queer/trans friends have experienced, because we sometimes open up to each other about these experiences. But very nearly every man I’ve been extremely close to has *also* experienced trauma, sometimes acute incidents but very often ongoing, complex trauma, with its helpings of dissociation and shame and confusion.
To be clear: I *really am saying* that #alltraumamatters — I’m saying that because I don’t think our society can make the necessary breakthroughs on trauma-informed care until we acknowledge how incredibly pervasive the problem is. Hurt people hurt people. Transgenerational trauma has got to stop.
Dear friends: I hear you saying “me too” and I am so sorry. Thank you for calling attention to your pain instead of hiding it. Thank you for offering your pain as an attempt to educate. Thank you for being vulnerable in public. I believe that by sharing our vulnerable hearts with each other we can start to build a better, more creative, more loving society.
*song lyric from “I’ll Wear It Proudly” by Elvis Costello. https://genius.com/Elvis-costello-ill-wear-it-proudly-lyrics