There is a form of collective PTSD that has emerged from the Twitter campaign started by actress Alyssa Milano, #Me Too.
Millions of women and many men have responded. It is not just about Hollywood’s casting couch culture.
My Facebook feed has blown up with the two word admission by friends, family, internet acquaintances.
It has stirred up a lot of unresolved pain, memories long buried but not forgotten.
It is not something we were comfortable talking about, not decades past, not today.
But if we are being honest, in some form, we have all experienced this.
Many are still not ready to admit it, few are willing to deal with the consequences.
For me, it happened in the most conservative of work environments, a community of professionals, an office of engineers and architects. Harassment led to rejection, loss of opportunity, work transfers. I moved on, but never forgot.
Milano’s campaign was not the first. Tarana Burke founded the “Me Too” movement in 2006 to help women and girls who had survived sexual violence. She’s working on a documentary, called “Me Too,” to be released in 2018.
“It made my heart swell to see women using this idea — one that we call ‘empowerment through empathy’,” she tweeted, “to not only show the world how widespread and pervasive sexual violence is, but also to let other survivors know they are not alone.”
For those who are caught up in a wave of responses today… empowerment, exhaustion, solidarity, trauma, Burke offers advice.
“If you are a survivor who is feeling activated by this, there are organizations across the country that are doing this. Small organizations, local organizations,” she said. ” If you’re compelled to do a thing, just do something,” she said.
I resonate with that phrase, “Collective PTSD”. Whether or not someone has been a victim or a perpetrator (even unknowingly and unintentionally) or a bystander or a witness, this toxic element in our culture damages all, and all our relationships. We cannot heal its wounds and change it unless we bring it into the light of day and, beyond reflexive outrage about the “newsworthy” cases, do the often uncomfortable and even painful work of examining its role in our lives and our role in it.
So well expressed, Bob, thank you.
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
Vanbytheriver asks a question.
It feels like solidarity. I prefer the powerful simplicity of #MeToo to the secret shame of sisterhood. It’s progress.
It is progress. Thanks, Joey.
I’m of 2 minds about this…but, then again, I tend to see multiple sides of every coin that is cast regarding social issues.
The abuse cycle has been studied in depth over decades – it’s perverse. It’s horrible to have men, women and children go through it…and it IS a problem whenever you have a mass of people gathered together.
It’s a problem because of the way humans are wired. It’s never going to go away unless there’s some genetic tampering with the human blueprint to do away with our competitive and controlling natures. Needless to say – our science ain’t there yet.
It’s also a problem when we sweep it under the rug. The 800 pound gorilla in the middle of the room may look cute with all the hats & coats & scarves on him…but he’s still THERE, and not a coatrack no matter how hard we try to disguise him as such…so in this, I agree that the #METOO campaign brings some awareness to a large social issue.
As the Salem witch trials proved out – there is a thing called suggestive hysteria, in where a crowd of otherwise ordinary people will begin to victimize themselves when something horrible happens…just to fit in with the real victims. This results in perfectly innocent people being destroyed. There’s a reason it’s still called a ‘witch hunt’ to this day.
For me? Sure, I’ve had issues in the past. I learned from them, and trust karma to adjust the cosmic balance in whatever way it sees fit.
That suggestive hysteria, has no doubt ruined innocent lives, Peg. I so appreciate your perspective. And yes, Karma does seem to make that adjustment in the end. It surely did for Weinstein. You have seen both sides of that coin, and I thank you for such an insightful comment.
This is exactly why I’m not jumping on the hashtag bandwagon, even though I’ve had my own traumas, and continue to deal with harassment. While I appreciate the solidarity, I think that the witch hunt aspect is disturbing. Scolding never changes minds. It only drives the problem underground where it festers. Like you, I trust karma. Thanks for posting this comment.
I think the #metoo campaign filled many of us with a beautiful and wretched solidarity. I felt very intuned with the women of the world as we all collectively remembered….what a tragedy
Tragic that this is what causes a solidarity for us, for sure. But I think it has helped so many come forward, even to themselves.
I was thinking about this last night, Van. #Metoo. It was pervasive when I was a young woman in the work environment, also a professional office. Sad to say, I got used to it, almost expected the more benign forms of harassment as if they were normal. What seems different now is not only the courage and public expression of how common and broad-reaching this experience is for women, but that a lot of men who were previously sleeping on this issue seem to have woken up. 😀
The first time, I was too young to understand what was going on there. Harassment seemed so routine, almost an expected rite of passage. When it happened later, I was a bit wiser, more seasoned, able to fight it. I’d hoped that we were all wiser, shocking to see how prevalent it still is, D.
I’m not surprised considering that our pres is one of them and millions of Americans seemed to think the behavior was no big deal. Ugh.
I know. Locker room talk. As if… The nightmare continues…
After some consideration, I also posted “me too” on Facebook. I did not elaborate. I am too private a person for that but, more so, the list of experiences I have endured would be too exhaustive to relate. I found myself prompted (probably triggered is the more accurate word) into reflecting on all of my experiences, almost like a chronological list, and I felt like there were connections between the events because I either became inured to certain behaviours or else I held my tongue because I had been taught by earlier experiences that nothing productive would come of reporting it. Reading the experiences of others as part of this viral campaign, I think that is a common experience: we have been conditioned to put up with too much. It has to end. Honestly, I would be amazed if there was a single woman who had not experienced some form of sexual harassment, assault, or violence. It must end. I must say that I was heartened by the fact that two men commented on my post with words of support. Men must engage in the conversation. I am not convinced that the whole hashtag thing will achieve much other than bolstering a sense of solidarity between women but if it gets people talking and if it gets men contemplating and reflecting then maybe it is the start of something.
Your line about there being no “single woman who has not experienced” was a series of words I almost used verbatim in this short piece, Laura. I agree that men need to be engaged. As a matter of fact, a man offered the first response here in this thread. I was happy to witness that. And the days of staying silent because no good results would come of it ? Maybe that is also coming to an end. Thanks for sharing, Laura.
I have not heard of this campaign yet (ok, I am barely on Facebook). I think it is a great idea for all victims to share their experiences and see that they are not alone. One way of working the trauma out. I also think it is courageous to participate and shows and generates a lot of strange. You are a strong woman, Van!
It started on Twitter, which I don’t use, but when it kept showing up on FB, I felt compelled to address it, especially on the supportive platform that is WordPress. Thanks, Erika.
It is a good thing and WP is perfect for it indeed! I am glad you shared it, Van!
I proudly signed today. One thing you’re followers may not know or understand is MEN get sexually assaulted. Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate against age either, men are sexually assaulted as children and adults.
Thanks you so mush for your post, signing is liberating, you realize who many people and realize how much work needs to be done.
Big hugs for letting me share my two cents.
Have an awesome day.
I saw this today, from Ellen DeGeneres… “This is not a male thing or a female thing. It is not a Hollywood thing or a political thing. This is a human thing. And it happens in the workplace, it happens in families, it happens all over the world, and we are all the same. We all want the same thing—we want respect and love and kindness.” Thanks, M.
That is so true. Respect, Kindness and open mind without judgement. I’m so glad you shared with me. 🙂
Reblogged this on Looking For The Light Blog and commented:
If you have a Twitter account please check out the #metoo campaign.
Liberating for me. M 🙂
Glad to hear it, M. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you to, the more people hear, the more they can take stock in their own feelings.
I agree that #MeToo is a powerful reminder that harassment, no matter when or where, is unacceptable. To me it seems like an off-shoot of #resist– only more global. On the one hand I’m sorry there’s even a need for this hashtag, but on the other hand am glad it exists– if only to prove that victims aren’t alone in this world.
If it opens up some old wounds, in the name of healing, it is such a worthwhile effort, Ally. Thanks.
I found this a most interesting post. I have had some issues in the past but I soon made my own personal and religious beliefs very clear and the problems went away.
You were fortunate, Robbie. So many were not. Expressing ethical, even religion-based objection might diminish the problem, but there are still often consequences. Thanks for chiming in.
America is a wonderful country with many blessings. These abuses which have recently surfaced result in a positive venting experience more so than a permanent changing policy of discrimination and/or abuse (physical or emotional.) People will organize and raise awareness only to have new crisis’s arise distracting the population at large. This is (in my opinion) our cyclical approach to “outrage.” Fundamentally, real change occurs when a household teaches and PRACTICES morals and ethics that strengthen character. People of sound character (in a great majority of cases) are less likely to participate in this racial, sexual and gender discrimination currently gaining media attention during this wave in time.
I so agree with the need for real change, and it has to start at a very individual level. Character matters. Thanks, Doc.
Goosebumps. Finally truth is coming to the surface in order that many many many people are freed from their own Darknesses. Great post, Van. Very well needed too I may add!
Let’s hope it leads to that freedom, Amy. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing.
I’m sorry you had to experience this type of disgusting experience. Let’s hope this is a watershed moment in time. Let’s hope….
I’m so with you on that hope. Thanks, George.
Exactly. Thank you for saying it.
Most welcome, just a personal contribution.
A really important post Van!
I’m just one small voice in the crowd, sadly. Thanks, Lynn
but your voice sure helps and stands out! xx
Beautiful post in recognition of empowering those who previously never used their voice and kept their pain to themselves. 🙂 #metoo
There is so much freedom in using that voice, no matter how it comes out, Deb. Thanks and hugs to you.
Thank you, 🙂
nice awareness post
Thanks so much.
It is great when people join in unity like this.. Thank you for sharing Van. It is important women or men, do not stay silent.. ❤
Sometimes, even a horrific current event has some benefit.
Sometimes as sad as it is, I feel this is the only way at times Humanity will come together. xx
Glad to have you visit. Most welcome.
Me too, Van… me too.
Thanks for this mindful post. It’s quite well done. Collective PTSD is an insightful term. Even through it all, wishing you a thriving Thursday. Hugs.
Thanks, Teagan. So sorry you can count yourself among the throngs that are coming forward. Not sure this will end anytime soon.
As others have mentioned… It was an expected part of life. Not something encouraged, wanted, tolerated, or anything positive, but expected nonetheless. Some of us have experienced greater extremes than others. That’s why it’s important to proclaim “Me too.”
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