Since all of the tumult and outcry over Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent fall-out, I’ve wondered and pondered on how – or if – I should approach the subject. I’ve never been one to jump on a band-wagon. I’ve never seen an episode of The Walking Dead. It was years and years later that I sat through E.T. I’ve never even read Fifty Shades of Grey or a Twilight book. Not so much because I’m a rebellious soul; I just never wanted to be considered a conformist.
It’s been thirty years, after all. For me. And then I started reflecting.
It was forty years ago. And thirty years.
And twenty years.
And fifteen years.
It never really stopped, did it? And I let it go on, didn’t I? Why did I allow it to go on? What was wrong with me that I didn’t say something? Why didn’t someone want to get involved to stop it?
What was wrong with me?
I have daughters of my own now. Young adults, ladies, beautiful inside and out. What do I want them to know?
Yes, something was wrong with me. But not from the victim standpoint. Not that caused men to take advantage. These men were predators and opportunists and trollers that smelled weakness and moved in for an easy kill.
The weakness? That’s on my parents. The easy kill? That’s on me.
I do not want my daughters to feel they have no recourse but to take it and stay quiet.
What was I thinking?
When my husband and I began discussing having a family, there were bumps in the road, so to speak. One of them was that I wanted my children to grow up strong, assertive, self-respecting, respectful, and unafraid to challenge authority. I wanted them to be like my husband; to not grow up under the circumstances that I did. I wanted them to be strong.
I didn’t want them to be like me.
I’m happy to say they are all of the above and it is mostly thanks to my husband doing exactly as a father should and teaching them acceptable, appropriate behavior and how real men (all people) should treat them.
However, I’m also happy to say that I can have some part of that, too. – Now.-
How it’s not easy for me yet, but I finally can at least stand up for what is right, and point out what it wrong, and not worry that I will regret it the next day.
Because there are consequences. Not the ones I was threatened with if I spoke up.
But because there are worse things than losing a job. Or having to choose between which gets paid for the month, rent or groceries. Or not feeling anyone, close to you or otherwise, really believes you.
Because every time you think you’ve moved on, that it’s behind you, you’re on better, different, respectable path, it comes back to mind. It never leaves you. You don’t forget.
There is the humiliation and degradation.
There is the wondering, what would’ve happened if I had …?
There is: what if my daughters are put in this position? What do I have to tell them?
There is the shame and regret.
A lot of regret. Regret that is not your fault, and yet, it’s there. It’s hateful and hatefilled. It ruins many a night.
That’s why I’m writing it out. It may take three or four weeks. But then it will be there. And whether it makes me feel better or not, doesn’t matter anymore. Does it? Maybe a little. But probably not as much as it would’ve years ago.
What’s mattering is maybe someone else will not keep quiet, because of my story.
Maybe my daughters can feel stronger because of it.