When I say #metoo, you say what?
With so many survivors stepping forward today, how do you react when someone you know says “#metoo”?
My name is Kat Duesterhaus, and I am a survivor of sexual violence. You may have seen my last post, “Gang Rape and Slut Shaming,” in which I shared #metoo… sexually assaulted at age 14.
I realized that some of my friends might feel uncertain about what an appropriate reaction to news of this kind may be. I think a lot of people may be uncomfortable because they ARE empathetic. So some people choose to not respond at all, rather than give an inappropriate or insensitive response.
If you hear someone has experienced sexual violence, it’s super simple: START BY BELIEVING, and make sure they know where to go for help (?? RAINN)
Please understand not every survivor will feel these reactions are appropriate, so defer to the above statement above all else. It’s taken me a ton of work to get to this point. That being said… for me personally, the following Facebook reactions are all perfectly acceptable:
A ?? or a ❤️ to show that above all you support me standing up as a survivor. (I know that doesn’t mean you like or love that I was raped).
An ? reaction if sexual violence makes you extremely angry. Or if reading my story really upset you.
The ? reaction if you are pained by my words. Or if you just want to express your empathy for the pain I felt.
Feel free to click the ? reaction. Because maybe you think I’m crazy to believe we can change the statistics of sexual violence. Maybe it seems like an impossible task to you. And that’s perfectly okay.
And there are many other reactions, all of which are going to be also, ok, for me. Even negative reactions, that is perfectly okay for #metoo. (??see what I did there ?). But that is because of where I’m at in my healing.
I’m willing to endure any negative public responses. Because I already have endured them privately for so long… and I believe if people can see this happens with their own eyes then they will be motivated to do something to change it.
Next, if you see me in person and you want to say something about my #metoo story please do. It is okay with me to bring this up in person. To be supportive I might suggest something like “Kat, just wanted you to know that I support you speaking about sexual violence. How was your weekend.” Or whatever.
But you don’t have to say anything at all, if you don’t feel comfortable. I will not think anyone is a bad person for not bringing up that I am survivor of sexual violence.
But most importantly, and I’m going to repeat myself here. If you hear someone has experienced sexual violence START BY BELIEVING. Then make sure they know where to go for help.
1-800-656-HOPE is the number to RAINN’s 24/7 call center for victims of sexual violence.
Got it? Okay. See you around ?? #metoo #nowwhat #webelieve