I’m probably going to regret posting this but it is something I’ve been turning around in my head for a while now, and I need to let it out.
You did not see me use the “#metoo” hashtag on Twitter until now, and here’s why:
At the age of seventeen, I was followed, threatened, beaten and raped by a man, late at night, not far from where I lived. Imagine every cliché you have in mind, about being violated by one ugly, sick piece of shit, and that’s pretty much what it was. After it was done, he forced me to spend the rest of the night with him until dawn, pretending we were “together.” This was my first sexual experience ever, and I vividly remember avoiding his mouth when he tried to kiss me, because I had never been kissed, and the idea that he’d be the first was the only thing I could think about. Somehow, this single detail superseded the rest of this horror. It took me eight years to kiss someone else for the first time after that.
I went home at dawn, did not speak to my parents, took a shower, and later went to a family planning center on my own, to get checked. The nurse who saw me that morning was the only person I had ever spoken to about this, until I recently told my husband. Because I was too ashamed, because the idea of sitting in front of friends, family or strangers and telling this again, in its every putrid detail, was just unbearable. I wasn’t strong enough for that.
Now here’s why I didn’t use those #metoo or #balancetonporc hashtags until now: because they’re hashtags. Nothing more. Sorry to play the party pooper here: Twitter is a huge, unchecked, informal, public space, where people toss tweets about cooking, politics, skin problems, travel tips, and, oh, rape too.
It’s too late for me to go to the police. What is done is done. But for many of you, it’s not too late. If you used #metoo to write about your boss sexually harassing, you: go to HR or lawyer up. If you used it to write about the way your brother/cousin/father sexually assaulted, you: go to the police. If that guy you just met at a party commented on your tits before even saying hi: point it out loud, let him know he’s a dick. Don’t just write about it on Twitter. No matter how powerful you’ve been told the #metoo tsunami is, Twitter is ultimately nothing more than a web platform. It has no judicial power, no legitimate authority. It is not, and should not be judge and jury. It is not a fair trial to those who stand accused, and it can never bring justice to their victims.
Whatever relief, sense of solace, of support you might experience from using that hashtag, don’t stop there: take the next step in real life. A billion tweets won’t change the world, if they’re not followed by a billion sexual harassment cases.
I hear many women contend that #metoo created a safe space for them to express their anger and hurt anonymously, in a world where their voice wouldn’t otherwise be heard—or if it was, speaking out would yield dire consequences.
Problem is, nothing will change if #metoo rests on little more than anonymous tweets or old stories like mine, that happened too long ago for anyone to do anything about it.
I didn’t want to use the #metoo hashtag, because, really, I thought there was no point: my rapist walked free a long time ago, and no amount of social media rage is going to fix that.
Ironically, I guess telling you this story now is tantamount to tossing yet another #metoo into the roaring waters of the Internet…
Even so, I sincerely hope that, whoever you are, wherever you are, if you find yourself being harassed, assaulted, raped, or even just disrespected, you will find it in yourself to be braver than I was, and let your voice be heard out there, in the real world, not just on Twitter (or anywhere else on the Internet…).
This was originally shared on my Facebook page, here: https://www.facebook.com/camillamonkofficial/posts/1429338137176356