Thanks to Two Reading Teachers for providing space to share our slices.
If you haven’t been on social media in the last couple of days, you may have missed this:
If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted or raped wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
It was freshman year of college. I arrived at Lewis and Clark College for freshman orientation. The tall, lanky senior seemed friendly enough. I knew nobody. My roommate was from Seattle. I was a SoCal girl dressed in bell bottoms.
The senior showed an interest in me, a seventeen-year-old naive teenager away from home, away from parents, away from best friends, and a boyfriend. My spidy-sense wisdom wasn’t developed. What would it hurt to go out to see the Fantasia movie off campus? It seemed harmless. This was the first month of college.
It wasn’t. He offered me acid. I said no. He dropped it anyway. He may have provided alcohol but honestly, I don’t remember. We watched the movie. Afterward, instead of going back to the dorm where I lived, he took me to his house (he was a senior after all and lived off campus). No cell phones in 1970 and our dorm had a curfew.
I begged to be taken back to campus. No. I was made to stay all night in a bed with someone I didn’t really know, with someone who was four years older than me. I didn’t sleep all night. I said no to staying at his house. He refused to bring me back to school.
The next morning, he dropped me off at the dorm as my next door dormmate was on her way to church. I could barely look her in the eye. As part of the dorm community, we were expected to call a peer meeting for our floor if we violated the dorm rules. Since I missed curfew, I had to call a meeting.
I made a joke about being out all night but I was ashamed. I made light of the situation but I was terrified. I gave myself the label, “wild Californian” but I was embarrassed. And for years, I believed that because “at least he didn’t rape me”, it was okay. But I was harassed.
It wasn’t okay that he didn’t bring me back to the dorm. It wasn’t okay that he made me stay in his bedroom. For years, I have thought that it was “just the 70’s” and that’s the way things happened. And for years, I lived with “at least he didn’t rape me.” But I was harassed. But I know now that’s not true.
I hope that by women and men saying, “Me, too” the cycle of sexual harassment will be broken.