Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours
By Kat Duesterhaus
What’s life like after telling thousands of people your #metoo story of sexual violence?
Last week, I published the very graphic and true #metoo story about being raped by 5 men when I was 14 years old. Here’s my Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours after I clicked “Publish.”
Life After #MeToo – That Night
?Thought: “?!!…. I just did that.?!!”
? Immediate panic.
? Reassured myself I was doing the right thing.
? Put my phone down so I wouldn’t be obsessively monitoring reactions/comments.
? Picked my phone up an hour later, and saw a friend commented asking if I had looked up my rapists on social media.
? Thought for the first time, about what it would be like to see my rapists on social media.
? Worked my way under the futon where my kitty who is dying has hunkered down, and cried — because despite how much I have healed it wasn’t an effortless thing to share such intimate details about my history… and because I am losing my feline friend.
? Shortly after laying down for the night, my entire body spasmed in a single violent shudder of remembrance. It was a physical flashback of being assaulted.
Life After #MeToo: The First 24 Hours
?? Woke up.
??/? Felt encouraged reading comments, and at the same time felt emotionally drained.
??♀️ Ran some errands.
? Wondered how people would know what was appropriate for reacting to my #metoo sharing.
????? Pondered that some more, while I ate some pizza.
??♀️ Dyed my hair rainbow colors, just for kicks.
? Received messages of encouragement and support from friends and fellow survivors.
?✍? Wrote the draft for “I say #metoo, you say what?”
???? Ate the rest of the pizza.
Life After Sharing My #MeToo Story: The First 48 Hours
??♀️??♂️ Went to lunch with a friend.
??♀️ Discussed with him why the #metoo movement didn’t indicate a recent spike in the number of victims, but finally revealed the true number of victims of sexual violence which were always there, but have historically been swept under the rug.
? But now, people everywhere are coming out of the “#metoo closet” of oppression through sexual violence …and our collective shout is “We’re here, #metoo, now let’s change it!”
?? Published “I say #metoo, you say what?”
? After, I attended a client’s event, working for the first time since publicly sharing my #metoo survivor of sexual violence story.
?? While I was out, a couple more people bravely shared with me their story of survivorship. I felt grateful they opened up to me and we connected deeply.
? Got the chills when I read this comment from a friend: “Thank you I have actually spoken to a few women who have been moved by what you said. They decided to reveal the abuses that they have faced so they can deal with them.”
??? Went to meet another friend, who is a current victim of domestic violence. Made sure she knows where to go for help 24/7… sexual violence comes in several forms, and domestic violence is one of them.
Life After #MeToo: The First 72 Hours
? Woke up after 12 hours of sleep.
??? First I thought about my friend, and chose to stay positive that she will be able to escape her abuser.
? Noticed I had received three missed calls without a voice mail, from an unfamiliar number.
? Received a message from Sarah with the Willow Project. She had read my story and wanted to know if I would come and speak to the young women in their program.
?? Then I sent the following reply to Sarah: “It would be my honor.”
??♀️ Next I called back the number that had called me three times. A man answered. I said “Hi, I’ve missed a few phone calls from this number.” He asked me what company I was with, and I replied “My name is Kat Duesterhaus and I’m the owner of Social Butterfly Agency.” He said he was trying to call the Geek Squad, so I told him he had the wrong number and then hung up.
??♀️ Blocked his number when he called a 4th time.
??♀️?? Realized I may be additionally targeted now that I am publicly speaking out against sexual violence. Reminded myself to always be aware, and trust my intuition/instincts.
????? Met TreasureCoast.com Editor Cyndi Lenz over more pizza, pineapple this time. Clearly, I love pizza.
??♀️ Booked my first workshop for young women for February 12, 2018, with the young women in the Willow Project program.
? Made some coffee and wrote this article.
Aside from the flashback, it’s pretty much been life as usual…
Thanks for reading! ~??
Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours by Kat Duesterhaus, TreasureCoast.com reporter
Note: The Willow Project is a Project LIFT’s program for at-risk teen girls who have been victims of traumatic circumstances. Their 14-week program provides the young ladies with mental health counseling, mentoring, professional and vocational skill development, health and wellness workshops, and community service projects.