I'm Right Here (#metoo)

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I was just going to leave it at an instagram post, you know add the hashtag, be part of the movement, try to somewhat stand in solidarity as a cheerleader in this virtual world for all these brave women sharing the darkest and hardest moments of their lives.

The first poem I ever wrote (before my high school heartbreak poem) was about a girl in Richmond CA. A girl I never knew but kept hearing stories of on Bay Area local news, a girl who had been gang raped in 2009 with twenty-something bystanders all witnessing it at some point. A girl that I prayed for while local pastors gathered trying to figure out how to show up for her and her family in the aftermath.

Shortly after this, I was invited to my first spoken word workshop where I was told to write a poem and then perform it on stage. I wrote to the girl, the girl who was left damaged, bruised and close to death all while people watched. (I am sorry for that visual and if this is a trigger for anyone and for that I totally understand if you can’t continue the rest of this post) but in that poem, I wrote to her and told her I wish I could have been there, I wish I could have held her hand, picked her up, whispered truths back into her ringing ears, listen to her screams, weather audible or not still screams. I felt for this girl so deeply, wished that I could pull her in away from their touch, from their hands, from the watching eyes.

Her case was brought back up in 2013 and as I did my research I realized that this month marks 8 years since that happened and sadly the stories have yet to change, in fact they’ve just become more accepted or pushed under the rug.

Now in 2017, current day, there is a hashtag thread sweeping the internet.

If you trace back to the beginning of this thread, the hashtag supposedly began when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a call to other victims in order to "give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." But some research we find that actually TEN YEARS AGO the “me too” campaign began by Tarana Burke (http://www.metoo.support) and we are now only in another necessary aftermath where a need for the conversation has risen after several cases against an apparently big shot movie man started to surface.

I found myself on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook reading thread and threads of “me too” statements. Now the conversation isn’t just for famous celebrity women who have provoked awareness and conversation about sexual abuse and harassment, well known women who have been not only exposed to this but also burned from these moments as well. Now the story is so much bigger,  it’s not about status anymore---it's about everyone.

The past few days I have read countless heartbreaking stories from frustrated, hurt and brave women sharing their stories, refusing to let silence or in denial win.

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I say all this to say,

I don’t know very many women who could say that they haven’t experience harassment, abuse, exploitation etc to some extent. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve driven on the freeway and been followed for long distances while a guy tries to get me to pull over or roll down my window. Or the random men who have commented on my curves in a dress, while walking to grab coffee. Or the men who have asked to take a photo of me because I was “just so beautiful” and that’s just the conversational harassment. Not even to mention the countless, thousands of women who have been physically abused or harassed.

And somehow? (Get this...*insert eye roll*)

THIS is the part I just can’t seem to figure out, is that somehow... it’s always our fault?

We are STILL being told that no matter what the action, the opposers intentions were most likely considered “just” or “fair” but OUR muteness, our skirts, our legs, our eye contact “made them do it.”

If a boy is mean to you, it’s because he likes you.

Your shirt was low, so they looked.

Your dress was short, so they touched.

You were breathing AND walking so they tried to holla.

You have curves so WHOOPS you're instantly a walking target.

For some magical insane reason...it always comes down to being our faults.

We are somehow internally the victim and yet externally the cause AND problem?! W R O N G.

Because when it's all said and done, the verdict declare, at the end of the day...WE are the ones who walk away with the damage and the guilt or don't walk away at all, left striped of dignity and awareness of our worth.

Society paints this picture that all the cards point back to us, tag you’re it.

Where this stems from? Well lots of things, a misogynistic world where women had to FIGHT for their right to vote and from a faith based world and Purity Culture. Purity Culture laid a lot of this groundwork especially 90s purity culture to be exact (Lord help us all). Purity culture taught us that it was up to US to keep our brothers in Christ hormones at bay and their hands to themselves.  Purity culture taught us to keep our legs closed and mouths shut, and IF something happens well then it was probably our fault, our taunting, our doing. Purity culture said nothing about men being held accountable too.

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This ME TOO thread exists because women are no longer taking blame anymore.

Because women are no longer biting their tongues and not apologizing for it. #metoo creates awareness, it makes women remember that they are not alone and hopefully it also makes the world very aware that this is not okay. This is not a "woman" issue, this is an EVERYONE issue, men and women included.

This is not just a fun thread or hype to be aware of---this is women's lives and well beings at stake all because “boys will be boys.” This is so ingrained in our society that it is considered a norm, this was never supposed to be a norm-THIS CAN’T be a norm. This WON'T be a norm.

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I haven’t been able to write a lot on the blogging front lately but there are some posts I just cannot pass by, like this one. Only so much can be ignored and I really hope and pray that this is not one of those things. I want to have a daughter who isn't confused why "no" is not a valid response for her space and safety, I want to raise a daughter in a world that doesn't condone if there ever is a moment she is hurt, I want a daughter to be raised in a world where she does not have to smile or appease a man just because he wants to be entertained and I hope she never has to have a season of "me too" threads on her social media channels. 

My first poem was to a girl who experienced hell and I wished I could do everything in my power to be there for her, for someone to say not only “me too” but “i’m right here”

So that’s my declaration:

I’m right here.

I’m right here.

I’m right here.

Scream if you must, cry when you need, run for a little bit but know this---I’m right here.

To the brave brave ladies sharing their stories and standing in solidarity with their sisters.

To the #metoo angels and warriors fighting their own battles and wrestling through triggers.

You are not alone.

You are no victim. You are no walking wound. You are not weak. You are not less. You are not disposable. You are kryptonite— making people aware of their own weakness not for the sake of crippling them but helping them become their best. You are holy mountain blazing and untouchable. You precious woman dancing, you woman rising, their lies are not your truths. Know this: they can try to take a lot from you but they cannot take your heart and soul PLEASE do not let them take your heart and soul. Keep rising victorious ones.

Keep rising. Keep rising.

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Thank you to my brave friends who let me share their bold and beautiful posts/ words. 

More info about the 2013 Richmond case:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/richmond-high-gang-rape-victim_n_3389573.html

More info about the #metoo thread:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-me-too-campaign-was-created-by-a-black-woman-10-years-ago_us_59e61a7fe4b02a215b336fee?mnm