women

when is the “right” time to report sexual assault? the short answer: any time

Like nearly everyone else in America, I want to talk about what’s happening with the #MeToo movement.

Let’s get something straight to start: life for women is abundantly different than it is for men. We have developed habits that are truly engrained in us, so much so that we don’t even think about it when we do these things in hopes of protecting ourselves. These behaviors are practically nonexistent among men.

Every day holds potential threats for women. Every. Single. Day. And by denying that, you empower the men who think they’re above the law or above ethical and moral behavior.

While a movement has started – or for the sake of argument, resurged – in the last year or two, it does not diminish the fact that we still have a long way to go.

We must believe women when they speak up and we must respect them when they tell their stories “late.” Why? Because the threat of being shrugged off as a misunderstanding, a joke, or an inconvenient time for the perpetrator is no longer an excuse.

We cannot allow these excuses to be more important than listening to these stories. The reality is that there is no “right” time to report sexual assault.

I don’t consider myself to be a victim, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some uncomfortable stories.

I will be honest and say that, as a woman who has never been a victim of what I would consider sexual assault, there have been times in my life where I was uncomfortable.

When I was no older than 4 or 5, an older boy who was a friend of the family was reading a book to me on our sofa. When I said I wanted to go take a nap with my mom, he said I could just stay and lay on the couch with him and we could take a nap together. My father was in the next room, likely watching football and napping in his recliner.

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#imwithher: this isn’t defeat

Something horrible happened today. (Or, if you’re on the opposite side of the world from where I currently am, maybe it happened last night.)

As an American, I am utterly shocked at what we, as a collective group, did. We elected a terrifying, sexist, xenophobic, lying, tax-cheating man into our most highly regarded office. I wasn’t prepared for the blow of disappointment that swept over me this afternoon. I confess I took a (rather unhelpful) nap to escape it.

I don’t know what this decision will truly mean for our country; I don’t know that any of us truly know. As much as the election results were today, now it’s simply a waiting game, isn’t it? Where will this road lead us?

It’s too soon to tell.

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