Raising my daughters in the era of #metoo

I wasn’t shocked when the Harvy Weinstein scandal first opened up. Men in Hollywood and every other hood, abuse their previliges and power. They look at women as dissmisive and easy to use. I figured this was a normal kind of thing to go on in the media. Whatever. I’m thirty-one and I live in Michigan, this didn’t affect me at all.

 

Until it did.

 

I remember first hearing about the #metoo movement on the news. I sat down to watch and started to realize this was bigger than me. Bigger than you. So many brave, strong women moved out of their comfort zone and spoke up. They spoke up about verbal, emotional, and sexual assault. Suddenly, the Weinstein started to mean something to me.

I saw my friends facebook and twitter write their own #metoo story and I felt shameful for ever dismissing this epidemic. It reaches women here and there and everywhere. I can’t count the amount of #metoos I saw before I realized this might have happened to #metoo.

I had an experience during my freshman year of college. When I thought about it, it made me feel disgusting. I just pushed it back until I basically stopped thinking about it. I went to a party, I drank some alcohol, and a kind  gentlemen offered to walk me back to my dorm. I had been puking from the party and I was touched that someone cared enough to make sure I made it back ok. He didn’t just walk me back to my dorm, he entered my dorm, uninvited, and tucked me in. Looking back, he did all of those nice things so it would be easier to take advantage of me. He forced his lips onto my lips, and I remember thinking, ” This is not what I want, I’m trapped. I’m trapped.”

He kept pushing and pushing, and eventually I just ran out into the bathroom and violently puked. Puking probably saved me from an extreme sexual trauma, but luckily my body took over. It didn’t go very far, but it still made me feel dirty. I also felt guilty, because I had been drinking at a party. I should have been smarter. We always blame ourselves.

Although my story is very small compared to the stories of rape and abuse, I posted #metoo on facebook.

 

I lay awake at night wondering if my daughters will someday post #metoo. I’m terrified that at some point in their life, they will be hurt or abused. It churns in my stomach, it clenches my fists.

Raising children is the single, most difficult task for many of us. I want to raise them to be strong, smart and kind. I would blame myself if they found themselves in a similar situation. It would break my heart.

I’m doing my best to talk to them about their bodies and their minds. I tell them no one, not even mommy or daddy, is allowed to touch them if they don’t want anyone to. I tell them that they are strong before I tell them their beautiful. I them to value their strength above their beauty. I am trying to arm them with enough self-worth to make it in this sad, scary world that we live in.

But, I can’t protect them forever. They will have to make their own way someday. All I can do is repeat over and over again how much value they are in this world, and that no man or woman can take that away from them.

 

#metoo unites us all in recognizing a problem that stretches over women, chidren and even men. No change has ever happened over night, but we have to keep pushing and educating our children. We have to.

 

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