TRIGGER WARNING FOR THOSE DEALING WITH SEXUAL ABUSE:
I had been in support of the #Metoo movement from the beginning – I thought this would change everything. I had memories of bosses making moves on me and if I didn’t respond I would be ostracized the next day. I have memories of being grabbed in public places even when fully clothed. Most importantly, I was best friends with two girls who had been raped. I felt like there was an epidemic, that I was one of the lucky ones who narrowly escaped some tricky situations that could have ended in rape. I am not being overdramatic. I have had the same concerns for my daughter who is of the age I became aware of the rapes of my friends, but felt “a little safer” in the location we live in. I felt that there hadn’t been enough done for victims that I knew or enough to even protect me in previous jobs. #METOO was supposed to change that.
Then the Brett Kavanaugh hearing happened. Now, I’m not going to go into sides – but the words “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” was the slogan. I suddenly became sick. Other memories of guilt came to mind.
I was at a summer camp where our dorm of 10 year old girls were split into two cabins. Kate* (*name has been changed for protection) from the other cabin told us right before sundown that she had overheard a Wendy* (*name changed for protection) scream out “Daddy no, don’t touch me” in the middle of the night. The scary part? This girl who supposedly yelled this out had her father working at the camp WITH US. I have never seen anything spread like wildfire among a young group of girls. Suddenly rumors and accusations of pedaephilia became very well known within 45 minutes of the first whisper. Girls became hysterical, crying about how scared they were. I believed it 100%, why would anyone make this up? Girls in the dorm started questioning Wendy about her relationship about her father, a memory that still makes me sick. She denied everything and stood in shock as she witnessed the girls talking about her father in this way.
Wendy could have been me, because my father, was not only working at the camp too, but he was the camp director. My father called me into his office. In the other room was Wendy’s Father. My dad had rightfully detained him (as he had to protect possible victims) while my dad privately questioned me about what I had heard. I was scared to tell my father, I had never heard of pedaephilia at the time, nor did I understand that a father could do that to their daughter. After assuring me that I could tell him anything, I explained the situation to my dad.
I was upset that this was something I personally had to deal with – all I had heard was a rumor – a disgusting one, and I was not involved with witnessing anything. As officials had to get involved and people were questioned, there was no foul play found, and even the man accused forgave the girl who made up the rumor. I did not realize all of this had gone on, until I was in a group of girls with Kate hours later and she was laughing about being questioned. Surprised I asked “Wait, that wasn’t true?” She found that question the funniest question in the world and laughed a lot while I stood watching her in shock, and finally she answered “No, of course it wasn’t. I persisted “But, why would you make that up? I believe you!” She just shrugged her shoulders and said “I’m bored, it was fun to stir you all up”. I remember just staring at her and watching her keep talking to the other girls like nothing happened. My heart was heavy thinking “what if she had done that to me or my father?” I knew this had affected Wendy – she never spoke to us girls again or came to a summer camp. I ran into her and her father a couple of times over the years after that and even though her dad would smile and say hello and EVEN THOUGH I knew what Kate had said was false – I couldn’t look at Wendy’s father in the eye. I was scared to go near him, even knowing the truth, and I felt horrible for Wendy – as she didn’t even want to be friends with many girls after that.
A few years later, Wendy’s father died from cancer. We were 14-years-old and I remember thinking how hard it must be to lose a parent at my age. I never saw Wendy again but I knew I couldn’t ever give her condolences after what she and her father had been put through. That memory haunted me for years and as I had not seen Wendy in so long I had put that memory behind me – until the slogan “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” appeared recently.
The thing is people lie. MEN AND WOMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS. ALL PEOPLE LIE. And it’s more common than you think. Look up the national registry of exonerated convictions – just for RAPE. Proved false by DNA.
The reason as a woman that I cannot stand by “EVERY WOMAN MUST BE BELIEVED” is because I have a father, a husband, a son, wonderful brothers and nephews. They deserve to be believed too if a woman ever thinks it’s okay to accuse them for any reason other than the truth.
THIS IS WHERE THE #METOO MOVEMENT HAS LOST ME. They have lost their momentum and all the progress that they were making to help REAL VICTIMS. They have done the opposite of helping female victims by using that slogan, and that hurts for all those that were hoping for some sort of change.