I’ve Been Sexually Assaulted But Here’s Why I Won’t Be Participating In #MeToo

The number of women who have been subject to sexual harassment and/or assault at some point during their lifetimes is disgusting—I’m one of them, but while many women have bravely chosen to share their stories as part of the #metoo movement on social media, I won’t be speaking up about my own experience. Here’s why.

  1. I was completely confused…and still am. Sometimes I wonder if I actually was assaulted. I know my experience made me uncomfortable but the feeling didn’t stick with me. It wasn’t something I replayed over and over again. Was I actually harassed? Since I’m not sure, I don’t feel right saying that I was when there are so many real, legitimate victims out there that were for sure assaulted. I don’t want to take away from anyone with a real story to tell when I’m so on the fence in regards to my own story. I hate that I doubt myself but I do.
  2. I was a lot younger when it happened. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to sexual harassment and assault, but it also makes me wonder if I skewed the experience. Was it just a misunderstanding between some kids? Did I take something out of context? Because of that, I almost feel that my situation wouldn’t exactly qualify for what #metoo stands for. My memories are a little fuzzy and I wonder if my youth in any way makes my incident less credible. It shouldn’t, I know.
  3. In this case, I value my privacy. I’m okay admitting to people close to me what happened if the time and situation feels right. I’m not exactly okay admitting it on social media where my employer, casual acquaintances, and strangers may see it. It’s not that I’m ashamed, it’s simply that this is something very personal and I don’t feel comfortable having some of these people know something so deep about me. I applaud women who are open about it and I’ll always support their choice, but I’d like my choice to remain private accepted as well.
  4. I’m not entirely ready to face it all. In “coming out,” I know it’ll bring up a lot of old feelings, some of which I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to process. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m in denial, but it doesn’t seem like something I want to handle as of yet. I told myself a long time ago that if the thought of it is persistent and begins creeping into other aspects of my life then I’ll do what I can to work through the situation by seeking professional help. Right now I don’t feel I am at that point, and that’s okay.
  5. I’m not a bandwagon kind of girl. I do support what #metoo stands for and I believe it’s done a tremendous amount of good bringing sexual assault to light. I think it needs to be a topic of conversation but I’m not ready to have it while everyone else is. I’m not saying that it’s strictly because I don’t want to be like everyone else, but I feel everyone has the right to choose when they talk about this kind of thing. There are many who have felt empowered by the movement and I think that’s amazing, but there are some, like me, that prefer to do it in their own time.
  6. I’m not a celebrity. I know this isn’t for famous people only and plenty of non-celebrities have spoken up and joined, but there is a part of me that feels because I’m a nobody, nobody really needs to know. I don’t want to come off like I think I’m anyone of stature and yeah, I’m worried some may take it that way. Again, I know this feeling may be part of the shame surrounding sexual assault and I’m trying to work through it, but I can’t lie about how I feel right now.
  7. I’m not prepared to deal with the backlash. As supportive as most people in my life would be, I know that I also know that there will be some backlash. It may be small, but it will be there and when I’m in a vulnerable enough place admitting this out loud, the last thing I want is something that scares me back into being quiet. I’ll speak up when I know I’m strong enough to handle it, but now is not the time.
  8. Sometimes I feel like it won’t solve anything. I realize this sounds like a complete downer, but it’s hard to be optimistic these days that a few voices, no matter how vocal, mean anything. I respect that some feel empowered to be a part of something important like this, but for me, I struggle. I don’t want to feel bad about feeling this way and I still support anyone that chooses to come forward, but the time is not right to tell my story. I will when I feel I need to and I’m going to stand by that.
jordan is a writer from salt lake city who enjoys a good steak, her dog, and conversations about how radiohead is awesome. she hopes to be a talking head on some VH1 pop-culture show someday and can curate a playlist for any occasion. when she grows up she wants to be an olsen twin.