Brave Women: “Me, too” and “Suffering too terrible to name”

 

After the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual harassment and abuse, there was a deluge of women coming forward to share their experiences. This included movie stars who were bullied by him and also men who recognized that they should have done more.

In a broader sense, this week seemed to be a time when women from all ages, classes, races and backgrounds shared their experiences of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. All across social media, women posted “Me, too” to indicate that they too had suffered in this way.

It was like someone scratched the surface and a geyser of heartache and vulnerability erupted. The depth and vastness of this problem was staggering. Women bravely shared workplace violations and family abuse. It was very moving and kind of overwhelming.

I believe this sharing of experiences will make us all safer. I think once people realize that these aren’t isolated, freak incidents, then culture and policies will change. I hope that once men realize that their sister, pastor, wife, physician or niece have been through this, they will help effect change. As a mom to three amazing daughters, this is my hope and prayer.

Of course, not every woman has said, “Me, too.” There are a lot of different reasons for this. Some women simply haven’t had experiences that traumatized them. Some people are just really private and don’t want to share everything online. Some women don’t feel that the things they have been through would qualify as abuse and seem minimal in comparison. Those of us who have worked in traditionally “male” professions have no doubt been through upsetting things that have embarrassed and intimidated us. I put myself in this category.

There is a another group of women that haven’t said, “Me, too” for entirely different reasons. This group of women hurts my heart and worries me. I’m talking about the women who have been so violated and so traumatized that they cannot find the words to say, “Me, too.” I find the silence from these hurting and devastated women to be especially heartbreaking. I am reminded of the lyric from “It’s Quiet Uptown” in Hamilton:
“There are moments that the words don’t reach,
  There is suffering too terrible to name.”

Some grief and loss and sorrow is just too painful to say out loud.

This week, there were so many brave women coming forward and saying, “Me, too.” I’d like us to remember that there are also a lot of brave women who can’t say it; at least, not yet. Let’s not give up on them or pressure them or dismiss them. “Me, too” can last beyond this week. Take your time, sisters.

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